Do you find it takes ages to write your blog posts? If you’re writing slow, it can make you wonder how anyone makes a living at this.
I write a lot of blog posts. At one point in my freelance career, I was writing 70 posts a month, between my own blog and various freelance clients.
I’m a real perfectionist, too — I don’t submit typos and need everything to flow beautifully and be powerfully insightful and all that, every time.
Needless to say, I had to figure out how to crank these wonderful blog posts out quick if I wanted time to eat, sleep, or wash my hair.
At first, it was taking way too long to write all these posts. I’d polish and polish my draft, and then come back the next day to give it one more round of tweaking.
This made for a lot of long, late nights.
Then I hit on a technique that cut the writing time way down. It works well with any type of writing, too, not just blog posts.
All it requires is a little bit of planning — you can’t use this if you wait until an hour before your deadline to start writing.
Here’s how it works:
Outline with inspiration
When you have the idea for a post or article, quickly write down a few notes about the points you want to cover. Don’t worry about the order or whether you’re spelling it right or anything. Capture your inspiration and get your idea down. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it!)
Just create your quickie outline. Now, hang onto it for the day you’re going to write this post.
Jot a draft
Next, it’s time to write a first draft. Where I was running into trouble — and think I’m not alone here — was trying to turn this into a final draft in one sitting.
Instead, I learned to write a rough first draft on this first writing day. Once through and that is all.
Try not to take breaks. Just let it flow out, ideally in one quick session. I take maybe an hour at most for this, usually less.
If your post includes interviews or online research, take one quick scan through your notes to make sure quotes are accurate and names are spelled right.
Trying to buff this into the final draft right away wastes a ton of time.
First off, you’re too close to it because you just created it. This tends to lead to a lot of second-guessing and excessive rewriting, changing a word or phrase and then changing it back, or moving a paragraph and then putting it back… that sort of thing.
Also, our attention tends to wane after an hour or so focused on a single project, so you mentally tire and it gets harder and harder to make the post what you want.
Which leads to the insecurity that causes me to polish it yet again the next day.
So I stopped trying to instantly turn my first draft into the final.
Instead, I leave it alone for at least one day.
Polish and publish
Now, it’s time to finalize your piece. Make sure every paragraph starts strong and leads logically from the previous one. See if all the points are in the ideal order.
Check that the headline has relevant key words for getting the piece found by readers using search engines to look for information.
Scrutinize the lead sentence and paragraph to make sure they’re compelling and make readers want to read the rest of the post. Fill out tags, titles, excerpts and other SEO helpers.
Coming back the second day, your mind is fresh and it’s easy to see the trouble spots.
Once you get used to doing a second-day polish, set a timer to limit how long you will spend polishing it up. Usually a half-hour will do it for me.
Now, your post is ready to turn in.
Avoid filer’s remorse
Once your post is published on your blog or turned in to the client, let it go. We could all re-read these published posts and find something to change in them. Especially on your own blog, resist the urge to tinker further.
Instead, move on to sketch out the outline of the next post, and you’ll be on your way to write your next quick post.
How do you get your writing done fast? Leave a comment and give us your best tip!