How long does it take you to write a blog post or article? For many business owners, the answer is an hour or more. Yet an experienced writer can write three quality blog posts in the same amount of time. It’s not because they’re better writers. Rather, it’s because they have embraced writing systems and practices that support productivity.
As you read through the following ideas, know that not all of them will work for you. However, if you’re able to embrace just a few of them, you’ll cut your writing time down significantly.
#1 Work in Batches
Joe is a business owner and writes all his own content. On a productive day, Joe can write four or five blog posts in an hour. The trick that works for him is to focus on writing his content in batches.
For example, he might spend an hour writing reviews. Later, when he sits back down to his writing desk he might focus on writing a handful of tips articles.
There are many reasons why this system works. One of the primary reasons is that the batch approach doesn’t require Joe to shift focus. In his case, each article in a batch has the same basic format. He can approach them almost as if he’s writing from a template.
Batching content by format isn’t the only approach you can take. You can batch by topic or subject matter as well. For example, someone in a coaching niche might focus on writing motivation content for the first hour. When they return to their computer they might shift gears and focus on writing a few how to stay confident articles.
#2 Set a Time Limit and Goal
Another common practice is to set a time limit for your writing session. Give yourself an hour to write and set a goal. For example, if you’re writing a report, then maybe you want to have three pages completed by the end of your hour.
Once the hour is up, get up and take a break. Nothing slows down the writing process faster than forcing yourself to sit at your desk and write until you’re bleary eyed and exhausted.
If an hour seems like too long, set a timer for twenty or thirty minutes. Experiment and find a length and goal that works for you.
#3 Outline First
You can make writing a speedier process by outlining the content first. You don’t have to get too detailed with your outline, unless you want to. What’s most important is to identify the key points you want to make in your piece. That generally includes your subtitles and bullet points.
An outline helps you stay focused on what you want to say. You may likely find that you don’t pause to determine what you want to say next because it’s already outlined. You can flow from one point to the next without stopping.
If you tend to write similarly formatted content, consider creating templates. For example, a review article or blog post will likely have a recognizable structure. You can visit the reviews you’ve already written and published and use them to create a template for future reviews.
The same is true for how to articles, tips articles, and lists and so on. A template approach means you simply have to fill in the blanks and can really speed up the writing process.
#5 Eliminate Distractions
It’s tempting to sit down in front of the television at night and work on tomorrow’s blog post. However, it’ll take you five times longer to write that blog post than if you wrote it without distractions.
You see, contrary to what many people have been taught, multitasking really isn’t possible. Each time you pull your eyes away from the television to write, you have to shift focus. It may take an entire hour to write an article if you’re distracted. Sit down in a quiet place and it may take you a mere ten to fifteen minutes.
Distractions aren’t always on television. Consider the following and ask yourself if they’re distractions for you:
- Social media
- Family members
You may find that the longer you sit at the desk trying to write, the easier it is to be distracted. The next tip may be a perfect solution for you.
#6 Write When You Can Focus
Are you a night owl? A morning person? Chances are there is a time of day that you feel more focused and productive. And there’s a time of day when all you want to do is take a nap.
The ideal time to write is when you feel focused. That might be first thing in the morning if that’s when you’re most alert. Get to know your personal productivity patterns and schedule writing time when you’re more likely to be successful.
#7 Be Opportunistic
Are you having a creative day? Are you feeling inspired or motivated to write? Seize those moments and capitalize on them. Those are the days when content will flow freely and you’ll be able to write quickly.
Even if you don’t “need” to write, allow yourself the opportunity to get ahead on your content. Or create something extra. Additionally, if you find you have free time during your week, and you’re feeling productive, use it to create content. Be opportunistic.
#8 Write Now, Edit Later
Do you find yourself rewriting the same sentence several times because you’re trying to make it grammatically correct? Do you use spellcheck more often than the “enter” key on your keyboard? If this sounds like you then you may benefit from trying this tactic.
Write your entire piece of content without editing anything. Let all those red lines under misspelled words sit there without being corrected. Don’t run to your thesaurus or your Chicago Manual of Style. Just write.
Once the content is completed, then go ahead and start the editing process. Use your spellcheck. Fix awkward sentences and format the content the way you want to.
The reason this approach works is simple. Each time you halt the writing process and edit, you’re stopping the thought flow. When it’s time to return to the writing process and putting words on paper, you have to shift gears again. It may not seem like the shift in focus is significant, however it does slow you down.
Give it a try. You may be surprised by how quickly you are able to write content when you don’t stop to edit. In fact, you may need to experiment with several of these tactics to find the strategies that work best for you. For example, you may find that outlining your content actually slows down your writing process because you feel too restricted. Conversely, you may also find that working in batches cuts your writing time in half.
Because content often needs to help establish credibility and authority, it’s important to take a look at the content research process. This is where many people lose precious time.