One thing you can be sure of when it comes to having any presence online: you need lots of content over time.
Now some of that content can be audio or video or graphical images. Most of it though, will be text. That means words. And plenty of them. Website copy, sales copy, eBooks, Reports, Blog Posts, Articles, Social Media posts and so it goes on.
There is a way to learn to write faster so you can get more produced.
- Know what you are going to write about ahead of time. This is where a content or editorial calendar comes in handy. If you plan out a week’s or a month’s writing work in terms of what it is going to be about, where it will appear and roughly the size of the project in words then you have a head start. Much better than sitting at a blank screen waiting for inspiration!
- Map out the structure of your project – outline it. If it’s an eBook, you’ll need to know the title, theme, chapters and ideas for each chapter; if it’s a blog post or article you’ll need around 3 subtopics or ideas to write abut for the post/article. Start with some form of structure and you won’t have to think too much about what’s next. It becomes fill-in-the-blanks.
- Have a method. Most of us tend to write and edit as we write, even fiddling with graphics etc. A more efficient way to write is to just write. Worry about editing and formatting later. Do writing in batches when you let the juices flow. Once you’ve written what you need/can, take a break and move into format or edit or graphics mode. Batch like jobs to get things done faster overall.
- Minimise or avoid distractions. Use a timer to give yourself a deadline (you perform better under pressure, yes?). Head off to a cafe or library to focus on writing. Silence your phone, alerts and reminders. Get set up before you start writing so you make sure you have what you need and don’t need to fossick around for anything. Simply write.
- Monitor when you write and how much you write. Then review any patterns. You may think you write better in the morning but perhaps evidence shows you do better in the afternoon or evening. Until you track it, you won’t know for sure. Once you know when you are most productive, schedule that time as your creation time every day or week.
- Keep a central place to track ideas and inspiration. I used to plug ideas in/on whatever was handy and I’d pull my hair out trying to recall where I’d put it. Now I just keep it in a folder on my desk or in Evernote in its own notebook. There are only ever two places to look when I want to use something I’ve seen or need some stimulation to get my thoughts going. Get into the habit of saving ideas in one or two accessible places.
- If you’ve done all this and you sit down to write and still have no idea where to start, don’t! Reschedule the writing. If you proceed, you will labour over it and probably not produce your best work, if at all. Switch to another task that you can do and come back to it – make sure you’re better prepared next time.
Essentially, be prepared, batch similar jobs and focus on the job at hand. That will mean you’ll get through producing content faster. And it will be of a more than acceptable quality.
I was in the habit of producing a series of blog posts for this blog and scheduling them out so I’d only have to write for 1-2 days a month and have 2-3 months worth of material. Need to get back into that habit and when I do, I’ll be following those steps!