How long does it take you to write a blog post?
- An afternoon?
- One day?
- A week – or longer?
Great writing takes time.
For some of us, it can take a lot of time.
What if you could write a blog post in two hours?
I’ll show you how – step by step. First, let’s look at why writing can take a long time.
Photo Credit: Scrively Flickr via Compfight cc
Three Roadblocks to Fast Writing
If it takes you longer than a day to write something, you probably suffer from …
You want to share your best work, don’t you?
Of course you do.
I was a perfectionist in art school. I would draw a portrait. I’d add details, shade for shadows, and erase for highlights. I’d do this repeatedly until I got it just right.
Then the paper would start to deteriorate.
When you work endlessly on a blog post, you’ll ruin it. You want it to be perfect – so perfect you bypass “good enough”.
Soon you’ll discover how to turn almost any idea into a great blog post.
If you’ve ever stared for days at a blank screen or notebook, you’ve had writer’s block.
Writer’s block is a form of perfectionism. You have an idea, dismiss it, and get another idea. You repeat the process until you run out of ideas. Or worse, you raise your standards so high no idea will meet them.
The first step we’ll cover will help you get rid of writer’s block forever.
Editing As You Go
This is a lightning fast way to kill your creativity.
Have you ever had a teacher that corrected every move you make? I bet you were so annoyed you didn’t learn anything. All you wanted to do was get away from her.
You don’t have to do this to yourself.Writer's block is a form of perfectionism. Click To Tweet
Five Steps to Fast Writing
1) Free write the draft.
Free writing is a quick and easy way to get something on paper.
- Set a timer for 10-20 minutes.
- Write without stopping until the timer goes off.
- Don’t edit anything while the timer is running.
If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll resist doing this.
Think of it as a game. Your goal is to fill up the page before time runs out. You entertain any idea – no matter how stupid, outlandish, or unrelated. Pausing is not permitted. It’s like hitting one tennis ball after another from an automatic server. They keep coming until the machine is empty.
Free writing is emptying your brain on paper. If you want to find your hidden genius, free writing will bring it out.
2) Read what you wrote.
Don’t edit for word flow yet. The question now is, do you have enough content to work with?
If you willing to move some dirt, you’ll find some diamonds.
Chances are, you’ve got something good.
Need more content? Move to Step 3.
3) Free write more content.
By now, you’ve spent 30-40 minutes on the first two steps.
- Repeat Step One to fill your content gaps.
- Do you have enough now?
- If so, begin Step 4.
4) Edit your writing.
Now you’ll apply what you learned in English class.
Focus on three things.
Spelling. Any word is a Google search away. If you have a mobile device that takes dictation, you can say the word and the device will spell it for you.
If you want your work to shine, spell your words right all the time.
Sentence structure. Make sure your subjects and verbs agree. Don’t bore your reader by writing in passive voice. Keep your sentences short, simple, and focused.
When you sentences are clear, your readers will love you.
Organization. Decide where you want to take your reader.
Start where she is. Show her the steps to get to your destination.
Like a good map, organized writing reveals a clear path.
5) Share your work.
Writers always write for someone. The only way to reach your readers is to publish. It’s risky, but it’s worth it.
Who knows? Your post might go viral!Like a good map, organized writing reveals a clear path. Click To Tweet
What Will Happen When You Write Faster
Writing faster has some fantastic benefits.
By dumping your brain on paper, you’ll dig deeper into your thoughts. You’ll take advantage of your brain’s connections. There you’ll find insights you never would have dreamed of otherwise.
When you write faster, you’ll post more often. Since you’ve reduced the time it takes to write, you can post several times a week if you want – and still have time to do everything else.
You’ll get better faster. By practicing in public, you’ll get valuable feedback. By writing faster, you’ll tap into the emotions you and your readers feel about your topic. That leads to connection, which leads to responses – and sharing.
Now Do This
The next time you write a blog post, follow the five steps. The first time may take longer than two hours. But I bet it’ll be shorter than the time you were spending before!
If you want to write more blog posts more often, this five step plan will help you do it.
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Yup. You’ve figured the root of my writing troubles, Frank. Perfectionism. Ironic that my writing is about overcoming perfectionism. Thanks for this great advice! I’m going to be printing this out for a go to when I write!
Nice suggestions! I’d add that sometimes it helps to freewrite (or outline, as you wish) separately in Notepad, or longhand on a scrap of paper. I find that both ways (especially in a .txt file) help me to take the drafting process less seriously and just pour out ideas.
I’ve done this, too. Great suggestion, Randi. Thanks!
You’ve touched on all of my weaknesses, and provided a solutions. Thanks, Frank!
Here’s to faster writing, Nicole!
Thanks for a great and important post. Writing faster is essential to writing more,publishing more and being more efficient. Thanks! Ilka
You’re welcome, Ilka! I love your stuff. Keep it coming!