How to get a big speech down on paper in a little time
Is it possible to write a 20-minute speech in 30 minutes? In 10 minutes? Michael Long thinks it’s possible, and he’s created a plan to get the job done.
Long, a director of the White House Writers Group, told the crowd at Ragan’s Speechwriters Conference that they should learn to “write so that, as you go, you could stop at any time, you could even fall over dead, and they could roll something out of your typewriter or snatch something from the printer, and say, ‘Hey, we can work with this!’” First, Long says, you need to get the big elements of the speech on paper. Second, get them in order, and third, get them in a layout that your speaker can use. You need a topic and no more than three ideas to be developed, says Long. He argues that “some writers will tell you that the speech comes out of the writing, and can take days. But there’s no time for that. You’ve got to get those three of four tent stakes in the ground immediately.” According to Long, there are five steps in emergency or crisis speechwriting: