As a matter of fact, there is a lot we, as writers, can learn from the environmental awareness movement. If you don't believe me, just substitute the word TIME for the word ENVIRONMENT and you’ll be surprised what becomes applicable.
When we think about sustainable writing, we need to have a recycling mindset. We should never waste anything. Say you’re doing research for an article titled, Remodel Your Kitchen. If you pay attention, you’ll find material to write several dozen articles. How about one called New Trends in Lighting Your Kitchen or Using Kitchen Cabinets in the Bathroom. Once you know where to look, the possibilities are endless.
This works with more than just research, you can repurpose articles—change them by 50 percent—and sell them as a new article to another source. Or, don’t change them at all and sell the reprint rights.
Here are some ways to apply this attitude to your writing.
- Research - When you research a topic or person for an article or book, keep all your notes. I keep all mine in a single computer file. Within that file it’s important to have a document that lists all the websites you’ve visited to get your information. I’ve gotten in the habit of copying and pasting the web address into this document the first time I determine the importance of the webpage I visit. I also keep a transcript and/or notes from any interviews I conduct on the subject.
- Rough Drafts - Many times when I’m writing an article it will start off way over the word count I need. I keep a copy of that first draft in my file before I start cutting it and revising it. Often I’ve come back to it and pulled parts out for a new article.
- Related Subjects - I've also learned to make a list of possible related subjects while I'm working on an article. Frequently, when I’m writing an article, ideas for other articles will come to mind. When that happens I’ve learned to immediately make a note of my thought. If I wait, the idea disappears.
So don't forget to join the conversation!