NaCoWriMi: National Content Writing Minutes

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Many freelancers tried their hands at writing a novel in this year’s NaNoWriMo event. Every November, writers from all quarters participate in National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to get 50,000 words down on a single story. No stopping to write in back story, no editing, and no excuses. Congrats to anyone who made it to the big 50k, and kudos to everyone who attempted the challenge.

Now that the fiction frenzy is over, though, it’s time to get back to paying the bills. Writers for hire can make the most of the last content push of this year by participating in NaCoWriMi (nay-coh-rye-me).

What is NaCoWriMi?

National Content Writing Minutes is designed to help you shake off motivational issues and improve efficiency when writing content. NaCoWriMi is governed by the same rules as NaNoWriMo, but on a smaller scale and without the fiction–unless your client ordered fiction. The rules of NaCoWriMi are:

  • Write steadily for a certain number of minutes.
  • Always start with the piece of work that is due first.
  • Get words down.
  • Edit later.

How Long is a NaCoWriMi Session?

Each NaCoWriMi session should be long enough to give you a sense of accomplishment and short enough to reduce burn out. Many content writers make goals such as “I’ll write for eight hours today.” With NaCoWriMi, you might get eight hours of work done, but you do it in bursts of 20 to 40 minutes with small breaks in between.

Getting Copy Down

One major difference between NaCoWriMi and many writers’ natural work flow is that you don’t edit while writing. It’s okay to backspace a few times to correct a spelling or punctuation choice, but don’t fret entire sentences or rewrite an introduction three times. Write to the required number of words, and then go back to read, proof, and edit work.

Order of Work

Though the NaCoWriMi method is about fast writing, it also means you have to manage time wisely. Don’t leave client work until the last minute, or you might run out of time to edit properly. Many freelancers tend to do the fun work first, often leaving one piece languishing until the last minute. Tackling work in the order that it’s due removes the problem of last-minute submission mistakes and creates better diversity in your work flow.

Some Tips for Advanced NaCoWriMiers

Many proponents of the NaNoWriMo process denounce planning–if you have to plan, you’re supposed to do it before November starts. NaCoWriMi is different–taking a few minutes to plan articles and content pieces actually reduces writing and rewriting time. Read the client’s instructions, come up with an article idea, and come up with a few subheadings. Place those in a document and then fill in the content as needed.

NaCoWriMi is about building content-writing endurance. As with running, endurance comes before speed. Once you can write without stopping for the number of minutes you chose, create a secondary goal for number of words. My current goal is 600 words in 30 minutes–including the brief planning and some research time. If my client wants a 600-word article, NaCoWriMi lets me write it in 30 minutes, take a short break, and edit the piece in 10 to 15 minutes. The exception to this rule is an article that requires in-depth research, which can add another half hour, but also generally pays more.

I invite you to participate in NaCoWriMi with me. What will your first minute goal be?

Sarah S is a prolific content and fiction writer. If she could stay off Facebook and avoid the distractions of life for an entire day, she might accidentally finish her novel.


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