A Six-Step Plan for Faster, Easier Writing
The faster you can write, the greater the results you’ll see as a blogger.
Let’s say you have six hours a week, and in those six hours, you normally manage to write three posts – averaging two hours per post.
You publish two of them on your blog and use one as a guest post.
That’s not bad, but what if you could double your output and write six posts instead of three?
You might choose to publish slightly more on your blog (e.g. three posts not two), and you’d also be able to produce three guest posts every week.
So how can you double your writing speed? Just follow this step by step plan.
Step #1: Come Up With Lots of Ideas at Once
One of the biggest time-wasters for many bloggers is struggling to come up with an idea. You might find yourself sitting staring at the screen, doodling on a bit of paper, or starting off a post only to decide the idea wasn’t great after all.
When you have a good idea, though, it’s often really easy to race through your post – it almost seems to write itself.
There’s a really simple solution here, and it’s to come up with your ideas ahead of time. Set aside 30 minutes to come up with at least ten ideas, preferably more. You’ll find that once you start jotting down your ideas, they come faster and faster.
Step #2: Give One Day a Theme
If you’re posting more than once a week, choose a special theme for a particular day. E.g. some bloggers have Friday as a “roundup” day where they write about great posts from within their industry.
You might have noticed that we’ve recently started a “Bad SEO Practices” series on Mondays. This makes it easier for me to plan content – and though you might think it’d make it harder to come up with ideas, the truth is that when you give yourself constraints (like a specific topic to stick to), you’ll find that you’re more creative.
Your themes could be temporary and run for a few weeks, or they could be permanent and run consistently throughout the lifespan of your blog.
Step #3: Find the Right Time and Place to Write
Writing is a high-energy activity, and one that it’s very easy to procrastinate over. It really helps to find out when in the day you’re at your best. For me, it’s generally mornings – you might be a night owl or an afternoon person, though.
As well as finding the right time, experiment with using different places to write. Perhaps you normally sit on the sofa to blog on your laptop – but you’re often distracted by the TV, or by family members wanting to chat to you. Maybe getting out to a coffee shop, or writing in a bedroom with the door shut, could make all the difference.
Step #4: Stay Focused When You’re Writing
One tempting but dangerous mistake is to get distracted while writing a blog post. I completely understand why this happens (it happens to me too!) – you might get stuck, or feel tired, and it’s all too easy to flick open a browser and check Facebook or see what’s new on BuzzFeed.
Alternatively, you might have Skype and your inbox open as you write your post, so you’re distracted with messages from friends that you want to reply to quickly.
This can dramatically slow down your writing. Not just because you’re spending time doing something else – but also because every time you switch your focus away from your writing, you make it hard to get back into the flow.
Most people can’t focus for long periods of time, so try writing in short bursts of 20 – 45 minutes. (You might like to use the Pomodoro technique.) You’ll probably surprise yourself with how much more productive you can be.
Step #5: Don’t Edit and Write at the Same Time
As much as you can, avoid trying to edit while you’re writing. Sure, you might need to backspace once in a while to fix a typo – but if you find yourself deleting and reworking whole sentences, you’re slowing down your writing a lot.
Also, it’s tough to see the big picture when you’re still adding in all the details: once your post is finished, you’ll have a much better sense of whether that sentence should stay or go. If you can, try to edit a day after drafting your post – you’ll come to it fresh, you’ll be more likely to spot mistakes, and you may well find that the post as a whole is better than you initially thought.
Step #6: Create a Personal Pre-Publication Checklist
There are often a bunch of little tasks to do when you’re getting your post ready for publication, and if you find yourself struggling to remember these (or going back after publishing it to fix them), it can bog you down.
The easiest solution here is to create a personal checklist that includes anything you need to do once your post is written and edited. For instance, these are a few things you might include:
- Add a “more” link so only the first few paragraphs show on the front page.
- Put subheadings into the correct format.
- Add bold text to pull out key points.
- Include at least one link to a relevant post in the archives.
- Check that there’s a call to action at the end.
You don’t have to master all these six steps at once – even if you can manage just two or three of them, you should see a clear improvement in your writing speed. If one of these worked especially well for you, or if you have a different step to add, just drop a comment below.
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4 Responses to “A Six-Step Plan for Faster, Easier Writing”
I find an editorial calendar helps me with this a lot as a blogger. I used to keep fairly general ones, just noting planned themes for a month. But that became too easy to stray from. Now I keep a detailed calendar for each month, outlining specific article ideas. And I’m working on mixing up content lengths more.
When I set up June’s calendar, I actually did go with the option of weekly themed posts. For example, yesterday I kicked off a Quick Tip Tuesday series where I can post shorter content that tackles highly specific questions or problems. I do a roundup on the weekends most weeks. And I’m kicking off a Resource Wednesdays theme today where I release a new resource for writers or promote a third party resource I love. My hope is that the more detailed plan and themed days will not only help me get more done, but that it will also give readers a better idea of what’s to come.
Good tips. 🙂
Very elaborated post.
I like how you presented the list or we can call as steps to increase our productivity. The main thing bloggers forget is that they should make a time table. They should make a schedule before forehand and follow according to it.
Google trends is also a great way to look what trends are going on in the world and write a post about it.
Google alerts is also a great way to know what trends are going on.
Thanks for the post.
Great post – I sometimes find turning the monitor off when I’m typing actually speeds me up as I’m not looking for things to edit. That way I can write sections THEN edit them.
I like Step #2: Give One Day a Theme and i will try it. Thank you for your tips
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