Prewriting is a priceless tool every journalist should have under their belt. It’s value is underestimated even for somewhat fast writers like myself.

I don’t prewrite very often, but I take it very seriously each time. You have to. It’s not something you can mess around with. It’ll make you or break you on deadline. Prewriting also helps for referendums, budgets and municipal elections. The list goes on, but I think you get the idea.

I used it on Tuesday, before the polls closed, to get a jump on my two races. The stories came out fine, but they would have been terrible had I not at least gotten some background down for all four of my candidates. I would have had to rush them, while trying to get out before midnight.

Ackert earns second term in 8th

Osten ‘honored’ by win in 19th

I had a good idea of who was going to win each race, so I wrote them as such.

Prewriting isn’t hard. It’s actually pretty easy. All you have to do is fill in the blanks after you talk to your sources. That may sound bit difficult, but you have to make sure your sources know that you are calling them. They need to have their phones and have them on. They should be expecting a call from you.

Consider prewriting the first stage of the writing process for that story. You are throwing ideas into the story knowing that you still have to be flexible, especially if you have a specific deadline and story length to adhere to. It helps you to get the ideas on your computer and even gives you time to be a bit creative as you wait, not so patiently, for results and phone calls.

This form of writing also gives you the time to ensure that you aren’t keeping anything out. Important information and background are crucial in these types of stories and can make or break the end result. The more time you prepare, the more time you will have to get everything into the story that you need.

Prewriting sounds like a pain, but it’s really a journalists best friend. It takes a bit to get used to, but, once understood, its “powers” are endless. It’ll make you a better writer, while relieving stress.



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