Whether I'm writing as a personal creative exercise or writing a proposal for work, I try to always start with two steps: (1) figure out who cares about what I'm writing and (2) write by hand.
Now that I think of it, it's kind of like writing a letter to a friend. I want whoever is going to read my writing to feel like their attention is being cared for, so I try to think from their perspective.
How much time do I want them to spend with it? How do I want them to feel when they finish?
Then, writing by hand makes me more selective about my word choice and a better self-editor.
After scrawling on whatever scraps I can find and spending time away from it – maybe 1 hour or 1 day – I'm ready to type it up and send it off.
Adrian J. Hopkins is a content strategist for T Brand Studio, the New York Time's native advertising unit. His work has appeared on The Muse, Newsweek, and TIME. Say hi to him on Twitter.