Just Like Johnny Cash

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The world is running at a fast pace, and people are pulled in many different directions. As a result, it’s difficult for many people to get things done. If you aren’t multitasking during every second of your work day, you may feel like you are constantly behind. As a freelance writer, you may be reluctant to accept assignments with a higher word count than you are used to taking. Word counts above 1,000 can seem overwhelming. However, these assignments can be more enjoyable than the quick and easy pieces of 400 words or less, if you approach them from the right angle. Johnny Cash sang a song about acquiring a car “one piece at a time.” You can write larger assignments the same way, one piece at a time.

What Model?

In the song, Johnny Cash was looking for a particular type of car. He’d always wanted a Cadillac that was long and black. Once he determined what he wanted, he set out with the help of a friend to make it happen. The same goes for article and newsletter writers; take the subject matter given to you by the client and figure out what angle you want to attack it from if the client didn’t specifically state this information. This will help you determine the focus and scope of your writing.

Break It Down

After you’ve figured out what you are writing about, you need to cut it into smaller pieces similar to the car parts that Johnny’s buddy snuck out in his mobile home. Break your topic down into sections and come up with an outline for the assignments. Many clients like a writer than can break facts or features into subheads. This makes the content easier to read on the web. Come up with at least three subheads; more depending upon the length of the piece and the subject matter.

Write It Up

Now it’s time to write the piece. Listen to the Man in Black and take it one piece at a time. Write the content for one subheading, then take a break and come back and write another. Repeat until you’ve finished all of the subheads. If you are short a few subheads, this process can also help jog your brain and help you think of other information that should be included in the piece. Breaking the work into smaller chunks like this will make it more manageable and easier to come up with engaging content.

Polish It

A shiny new car is always prettier after she’s polished up; then you can show her off to those who matter. The same goes for writing assignments. Use spell check and grammar check to make sure you’ve gotten rid of most of the mistakes. Run it through Copyscape to ensure you didn’t inadvertently duplicate content. Then put it down and leave it alone. Go do something else, then come back and read over the piece to catch errors that the other checks might have missed. Once this is done, submit to the client and relax.

Maggie O is an active duty member of the United States Air Force, who attempts to keep a freelance writing career afloat in her free time. When she’s not writing or serving her country, she spends her time with her family, her dogs, and her growing empire of Mazda vehicles.


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