Bloggers know that more articles equals more traffic, but sometimes we get bogged down with blank screens and blinking cursors. This post shares 15 practical tips on how to write posts more quickly. All of these might not work for you — just use the ones that help and leave the rest.
- Think before you write. Once you’ve chosen a topic, do some research and take notes. Take a lot of notes. Then, let the notes simmer a bit before you actually sit down to write. Take a walk. Do laundry. Give the dog a bath. Do anything but write for at least 30 minutes after your note-taking frenzy.
- Write without thinking. This is the “just write it” method. Get down all your thoughts. Make a list of items you know need to be included in your post. Write a stream of consciousness about your topic.
- Try a different writing method. If you’re stuck, do something different. Are you a keyboard composer? Sit down with a notepad and pencil for a while. Do you normally write out your posts long-hand? Pull up the desk chair and open a new document. Try composing on the computer for a change.
- Dictate. Once you’ve done all your research and note-taking, turn on a recording device and pretend you’re explaining your topic to a friend. (This is what blog posts are really doing, right?) Then transcribe your recording, edit as needed, and viola!, you’re done.
- Start in the middle. Beginnings are harder to write than the body of a piece, so skip it initially. Write out your points and even your conclusion, then go back and write the introduction. The second paragraph is usually the easiest to write as it normally tells the reader the purpose of the post.
- Make an outline. Once you’ve made your list of things you know need to go into your article, arrange them in a logical order. Go back through your notes and begin fleshing out your outline items.
- Prepare your environment. What helps you write? Music? Coffee? Do you have a “writer’s routine”? At one point in my writing life, I almost couldn’t construct a sentence without sunflower seeds. I’ve worked past that, but many writers have specific things they need to either do, drink, eat, or use in order to write. A favorite pen. A certain chair. A soundtrack. Prepare your perfect writer’s setting before you settle down to write.
- Plow past barriers. As you’re writing your post, you may blank out on a specific point. Keep writing anyway. Stick a note in the area that needs filled in (IN ALL CAPS) and come back to it when you’re finished or as an idea for that spot comes to you.
- Write first, edit later. This is the hardest part for many writers, including me. I’ve found, though, that doing my research and note-taking first, then letting that information “gel” for a few minutes, really helps me turn off that inner editor. My brain starts itching to get the post written. Make your motto: “Don’t get it right, get it written.”
- Use a timer. I don’t do this often, but I’ve done it a few times. Try a timer while you’re making your list of must-tell items or during your stream of consciousness exercise.
- Make a list of self-imposed “rules.” For example, tell yourself, “No chocolate until I’ve written three articles.” Fill in the blanks with your own goals and rewards.
- Pretend it’s a test. Imagine you’re sitting in a school desk, pencil poised above page, waiting for the teacher to check her stopwatch and say, “Begin.” Then write like there’s no tomorrow.
- Set a deadline. I do a lot of newspaper and magazine work, so deadlines are part of my writing life, but if your the only person you have to answer to (other than your blog’s audience, of course), try setting a deadline if you’re prone to procrastinating. Get an accountability partner — a friend, critique group member, or even someone in your family, and pretend they’re your editor.
- Reward benchmarks. This is helpful for large projects, such as eBooks or free reports. Once you’ve finished a chapter or section, give yourself a special treat of your choosing.
- Keep it simple. The best writing is simple, direct, and concise.
What tricks or tips do you use to write faster? Share your ideas in the comments section.
Until next time,