Recently, a member of my online community, The Front Row posted a question that received such amazing tips, tools, and feedback that I wanted to make sure and capture it all and share it with the world at large! (Here’s the original thread.)
I’m looking for some advice on something that's really getting me down. Basically, I need to learn to write faster! I tend to be the slow and fastidious type when it comes to writing, both for myself and for my clients, but struggling to produce a single blog post in a day is harming my profitability and stopping my business from growing further. Does anyone have any advice please?
Batch writing! Writing several pieces in one sitting/in a row, rather than trying to write one a day? Also "writing prompts" can be very helpful -- just to get your mind flowing. If you are writing about a specific industry, try journaling/brainstorming a list of topics and then break each topic down into different ideas. Also, just old-fashioned story telling works -- sharing personal stories, defining moments in career, hurdles overcome, crazy things on the journey, etc are always a hit -- people love to read about other people's stories. Give yourself permission to free-flow write -- a lot of it will be junk, but you will find the treasures in there too!!! http://www.serped.com/client-blog-post-ideas/1903
Contributed by April Adams Pertuis
Give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft (maybe using April's ideas above for prompts, batch writing, etc). Print out what you've written, read for clarity and punch, and edit.
I'm suspecting you are putting undo stress on yourself by thinking you are letting your audience down and ultimately hurting your credibility and bottom line. If you write out of stress and anxiety- it shows. It sounds to me like you would benefit by resetting your expectations of your blog to something realistic so that you can work on other higher priorities. Chin up. There's only 24 hrs in a day and 12 of them are reserved for your personal strength. Yes?
Contributed by Colette Noelle Micrae
Recording yourself talking almost always reduces the stress, gets ideas flowing, and gives you a ton of material to revise and edit later. A key to making this work is not to try to edit or revise as you speak. Just talk and record. Also Dragon dictation, Google Voice, or Evernote recorder can help, too..
Contributed by Marnie Ginsberg
Repurpose. Write it. Take out lines and make great quotes. Write a riveting intro for people to click to read the rest. Can you make 5 ways to do this or 7 ways to do that out of it? Break it out. Squeeeeeeze all the juice out of it you can. Write a blog about getting stuck. Repurpose the heck out of it. Share your solutions and continued challenges. Another trick I have is I write my rough and leave it. Then I might another 2 or 3. I give it a good day. Then I go back. Give myself 20 mins on it and break again. Over and over I come back, until it's either complete or I become more inspired. Something about the limited time and upcoming break helps.
Contributed by Isabelle Baker
Next time someone does something nice for you, make mental notes on how you would tell this story to a child or someone with a very short attention span. If you only have a few minutes to make your point and get to the "feel good" punch line, you'll have to be brief. When you edit, make sure that most of the story is about the person and the kind act. It’s best to start at the end of your content by asking the question, “What is the main purpose of this piece of content?” Once you know the purpose of your content, for every sentence you write, ask yourself this question, “Am I going off track and confusing my reader, or is this sentence helping achieve my content goal?” When you know the ultimate goal of your content, you’ll find yourself writing both faster and better. (Source: http://www.influencewithcontent.com/writing-engaging.../ )
Contributed by Brian Lee Rouley
I do a lot of outdoor activities (walking, running, biking, dog play) and find that some of my best "writing" happens when I'm in motion. I don't make any record of it, analog or digital, but rather just rough out main points in an outline in my head. Key phrases tend to get memorized easily too. I think anyone can benefit from this, as I think it's not a gift but rather a craft. Just the other day, columnist Connie Schulz had a nice post about walking, thinking, and writing
Contributed by Tony Ramos
Anytime I'm stuck, I go to my dragon (google voice works too) and start talking thru what I want to say - sometimes I start with " I'm trying to explain XX and I'm having trouble - here's what I wish I could get people to understand ... talk it thru. Then I leave it alone for a couple of hours (or a day if deadlines permit) and go back to reframe and edit. It works. Also - HUGE fan of SFD - it's the only way you're going to get words out of your head some days.
Contributed by Phyllis Stubblefield Nichols
Start with the single thought that guides all your storytelling and strengthens the conclusion. Divide it into three blocks, to make it simple for you to write and the others to read. Make three titles and subtitles first, that are explanatory and interesting. Then comes the central text. The first one is "intro block", where you may start with one strong phrase that describes and intrigues at the same time and contains also your keywords. Like saying something about the issue and then start with a question. In the intro, you can make three phrases, not more. The second block gives more details and you can make the list of terms that you will use to explain it deeper (bullet points). The third block is the conclusion that has at the end the call to action. You can use also the self-explanatory images for each block. If you start with this simple structure, it will help you to take out the "image" you want the others "see" and "accept" about something. Imagine you have a friend who would like to know "what happened". Just like that. Once you have this "habit" to take out the structure, you can work on formats. And this way will help you to shorten your time and finish the article in max few hours. (Put some good music on while writing.)
Contributed by Valerija Brkljac
What are you best tips? I'd love to know. Comment below or send me a message.
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Amazon (the Bestsellers section and the Most Wished For categories — just make sure you drill down!) Look in the comments for questions that might help you.
Answer the Public http://answerthepublic.com/
Portent Idea Generator https://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker
Take a peek at what’s trending on YouTube (type in your topic) https://trends.google.com/trends/hotvideos
Graphiq Search (alternative to Google Squared)
Dummies Research (what topics have they published books on?)
Alexa (specifically their Top Sites by Category)
Social Bearing (a search engine powered by tweets)
Also search on Google:
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[topic/niche] +discussion (example)
[topic/niche] +community (example)
[topic/niche] +blog (example)
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The very best way to come up with great ideas is to ask your audience. Even if your audience is very very small. Pick up the phone and call a customer or client and ask them what they want to know! Yes, the good old fashioned telephone works wonders!
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Work on something completely different, such as:
E-learning. Catch up on that online course you never finished.
Podcasts. Go for a walk and listen to a podcast that is outside of your niche. Find something inspiring.
Ted Talks. Listen to a random Ted Talk. These are marvelous for inspiration.
Listen to music.
Read a book (again, outside of your niche.)
Organize your workspace.
What do you do when you need a little motivation? I’d love to know. Reply below or send me an email email@example.com
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