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How much would your business change if you were able to double or triple the speed in which you write your content?
When it comes down to writing, we all know that quality is what truly matters. Our writing has to be good, or else it won’t retain readers for very long.
At the same time, we all have a limited amount of time each day in order to get things done. When you’re able to write more quickly, you’re literally creating time for yourself – time that can be spent either writing even more content, or focusing on some other area of your business that needs attention.
Whether you’re a blogger, video creator, author, copywriter, or someone else entirely, there are a number of creative writing hacks that can help you to improve your writing speed.
Let’s look over some of my top writing tips to help you write more productively!
1. Have Plenty Of Ideas Written Down In Advance
Always have a dedicated time set for coming up with writing ideas. This can even be done during those occasional few minutes where you have nothing to do, but you don’t have enough time to actually sit down and write a fair amount.
If there’s one thing that hurts a writer’s productivity, it’s not knowing what to actually write about it.
Without ideas on hand, you’ll have to use all of your creativity and brainstorming power actually coming up with the idea, making it difficult to actually write a good piece once you have one.
It helps to have a good number of ideas written down together near where you’ll be writing. This can be on a physical piece of paper, or on a note-taking app like Evernote (one of my favorite productivity tools for writers)! If you have any additional sub-topics or ideas you’d like to discuss in that piece, you could write these down as well.
This way, when it comes to write, you can select the idea that most resonates with you at that specific moment – making it easier to actually get started.
And as we know, getting started is often one of the hardest parts!
2. Write An Outline – Even If It’s Not Very Structured
Similarly to point number one, writing will go much smoother if you have a general outline on what you’re going to write about.
This will also improve the quality of your writing, as you’ll be able to more naturally transition from one main point to the next, and carry forth your piece in a way that ties everything together more smoothly.
Generally, it helps to write down all of your main points near where you’ll be writing. Personally, I tend to write these down in the WordPress editor, as pictured below:
As you can see, this isn’t at all organized, nor does it really have that many details. I’ve found that just having anything at all will help me focus on carrying out each point without having to worry about whatever is next.
During the writing process, I may go back and add specific details to points if they pop into my head.
3. Push Through – Even When Writing Isn’t Coming Easy
Back when I first started writing, I made the mistake of waiting until the ‘perfect moment’ to actually sit down and type something out.
Moments where I felt particularly creative or inspired, and I just knew the words would flow out.
This is a huge mistake, because it trains us to wait for these moments that quite honestly, don’t come that frequently. This severely limits the amount of time we’re actually able to work each day.
It’s the act of pushing through what’s difficult that actually helps us build our writing skill, and makes it easier to write more words the next time. As you build this mental discipline, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to get those first words down, and write for a longer duration of time.
Waiting to write until you feel creative is a choice that will only hurt you in the long-run. After all, you can’t complain about your writing output, but limit yourself to only writing in a select few moments!
4. Structure Your Day So Creative Tasks Come First
In my success mindset course, we delve into the science of productivity and discovered a pretty important insight:
For a normal work day, productivity peaks at 11 AM, and again after lunch. Therefore, it makes sense to schedule the most difficult tasks either early in the day, or at these times.
Each of us only has a limited amount of creativity and mental energy that we can utilize during a given time period, before productivity drops and we begin to feel burnt out.
Writing after a long day of disengaging, uninteresting, and mentally-straining work is going to be difficult, even for the best of writers.
It really helps to structure your day so you’re writing at the height of your mental clarity and alertness for the day, and save the tedious tasks that do not require much thought for later.
At the same time, if you have the opportunity to switch jobs or tasks to do work that requires less mental focus, this will make it easier to write when you get home.
5. Eliminate Distractions
It sounds obvious, but distractions are one of the greatest killers of writing productivity.
These do not have to be large, obvious things such as other people or phone calls. Even something as simple as a Twitter notification or an email can severely hurt your writing speed.
These may take only a few seconds to read and close, but they pull your focus away from what matters at that moment – and that focus takes even more time to get back.
Not to mention, if one of these does manage to pull you away from your writing, it’s easy for one thing to lead to another and before long, you’ve spent a half hour on something that ultimately wasn’t even necessary.
This is why it’s so effective to set aside blocks of time specifically for writing. Let loved ones know not to distract you unless it’s an emergency, and consider using noise cancelling headphones (even if you don’t plan to listen to music) to block out all of the noise around you.
Remember, everything you ignored will still be there when you’re done!
6. Start With Writing Something Easy – Even If It’s Not The Beginning
Many writers would agree that one of the hardest parts about writing is simply getting started.
Staring at a blank document on the computer, with absolutely no idea where to begin.
However, once you get over that mental hurdle, it becomes much easier to keep the momentum going, writing large amounts at a time.
I highly recommend starting with something easy – perhaps one of the strongest points you have in your head, and just rolling with it.
This does not even have to be from the very beginning – it can be anywhere (just make sure you’ll be able to naturally transition to it later.)
If you’re really stuck, consider tying some sort of point or lesson into a personal experience or story that you have. Personal experiences are easy to write about because you don’t have to make anything up, just explain something you already know about. They’re unique and interesting to readers, and can really help to help build a more personal connection with your audience.
Try it out!
7. Focus On Results
Ultimately, when it comes to writing fast, results are what matter.
It’s great to spend hours and hours writing, but if your writing is slow, then it really doesn’t matter.
Whether you spend 2 hours or 10 minutes to write 500 words, at the end of it all, you still only have 500 words.
When it comes to setting writing targets, ensure that you’re basing it off of results that matter to you personally, rather than the amount of time worked.
Some examples may include…
- Writing X number of words per day
- Writing X number of chapters per day
- Completing X number of articles per week
…and so on.
Just be sure that the quality of your writing does not suffer as you do this. Ultimately, padding your work to hit a word target may waste reader’s time and make for a less engaging piece.
However, by setting a target, it becomes far easier to measure your progress and determine how your productivity is improving over time. Just remember to adjust the targets and set new goals after you achieve them!
8. Write Consistently
This ties in pretty closely to point 3 – it will help you tremendously if you take the time to write every day.
This is true even if you do not have any writing that needs to get done, or you do not particularly feel like writing that day.
Some days will simply be better than others. By forcing yourself to write every day, you train yourself to get things done and remain productive even on the worst of days. This will help build your writing skill over the long-term, and increase your writing productivity overall.
Instead of writing 2,000 words one day and none the next, make writing a habit by writing every single day if possible – even if it’s only a little bit.
9. Get Motivated
This tip is not unique to just writing, but will help you with productivity in general.
The more motivated you are to get things done, the more productive you will be. You will be happier in your work, you’ll write better, and you’ll be able to work for longer periods of time without feeling burnt out.
This is why it can be so beneficial to work towards something that you feel aligns with your purpose in life, and really think about how your writing plays a role in that.
In my baby product brand Kinacle, I like to remind our writers how their articles are helping out parents. I share feedback from readers whenever I receive it, and remind them just how helpful they are to parents. I share with them that their articles, while they individually, may only solve one tiny little problem that parents face, help make the lives of parents easier. They remove stress, and help parents become the best that they can possibly be.
Our company believes that by simply creating more happiness within your own family, you are creating a happier world overall. If we’re able to help parents even a little bit, we are helping to play a part in that.
If you’re looking for more ways to identify your purpose, find (and keep) motivation, as well as learn how to integrate the mindset and habits of the world’s most successful people, I highly recommend checking out my success mindset course. It covers all of this, and so much more.
Ultimately, your mindset affects just about everything in business and in life, so it’s worth investing in things that can help shape your thinking in a positive direction.
10. Read Others With Similar Work
There is nothing wrong with looking to others for inspiration.
Search out others who are writing similar content to that which you intend to publish, and read over their work – particularly on points you are struggling with.
Having a hard time writing an introduction? Look at how other people write theirs.
Struggling to make your article more comprehensive? Look at what subtopics others are including, and see if there’s any you can add to your article to increase its length.
Want to know what points are most important? Look over comments to see which are resonating with people.
As long as you do not intend to steal content, or claim other people’s ideas as your own, there is nothing wrong with seeking inspiration from other writers. It may just help you craft a much better piece!
11. Write First, Edit Later
This is another one you may have heard before. In fact, I remember being taught this way back in elementary school.
However, it’s very true.
Even if you’re a very experienced writer, you will likely make mistakes in you writing that you’ll want to correct later. Even if you don’t, you may find that some sections no longer fit the way you had originally planned, and some changes need to be made.
It’s easy to stop for a moment and correct things that may be bothering you, but try to resist the temptation when possible.
Writing and editing both use different parts of the brain. If you separate the two tasks out and hold off editing until after you’ve finished writing, you’ll likely find that you do a better job at both of them.
12. Read A Number Of Productivity Books
Although I have shared plenty of tips so far to help you become a better writer, this list is certainly not complete.
Different tips will resonate with different people, and there is not any one-size-fits-all solution. What works best for you may not help at all for somebody else.
Productivity is such a huge topic, and you can benefit from picking up additional resources specifically on this subject.
As previously mentioned, I do discuss a bit about productivity in my success mindset course, but there are a number of fantastic books on the subject as well.
You can browse Amazon’s best-selling productivity books by clicking here.
Bonus tip: Consider listening to books on Audible rather than reading them, if you’re struggling with time. This makes it easy to get through books while driving, exercising, and if you’re like me, also playing video games like Rocket League)
Although your total output does not matter as much as your content’s quality, it helps to balance the both of them.
Writing is a skill, and one that is constantly developed over time. You will find that you continue to write, you’ll be able to get even more done without quality having to suffer.
By following the writing tips laid out in this article, it will surely become easier to increase your daily word count to entirely new levels.
Of course, if you have any of your own tips that you’d like to share, it would be wonderful if you could let us all know. We all have a lot that we could learn from you, myself included.
Thanks so much for reading this through to the end, and I’m wishing you the best.
To your success,
– James McAllister
Review the main points of this article in the SlideShare below. Feel free to embed this on your site, use it in your organization, and share it with others! All I ask is that you give credit! (Download links are available from SlideShare’s website, which you can access by clicking the LinkedIn icon)
You did great in this post. Many of us struggle to be more productive. We get distracted by other non-essential things that take away precious time. The time you will use for vital things as creating quality blogs get spent or trivial matters. For example,you stated the need to write and edit later. That’s fantastic since writing and editing at the same time will make you less productive. In fact, it will take you longer to accomplish your project. So it best to write your essay and edit later.
You’re right, productivity is a huge issue and is becoming even more prevalent today. We’re constantly bombarded with distractions from all of our devices and this makes it even more difficult to focus and get things done.
Writing first and editing later has helped tremendously to speed up the time it takes to write. An additional benefit is you may come up with additional ideas or supporting points that you can add during editing, that may not have been in your mind during the first draft. Overall, this approach tends to make for a much better piece!
James McAllister recently posted…This Long-Term Content Strategy Offers An Unbeatable ROI
Great tips. At the moment it’s difficult to decide whether to add more content first or whether to concentrate on promotion.
Serko Boonstra recently posted…How we can make it a more ethical, sustainable Christmas.
It can definitely be difficult to find the balance of both. Just make sure that you don’t spend so much time developing new content, that you don’t have time to promote the content you already have. Publishing content won’t do much for you if it never receives any views!
James McAllister recently posted…How To Recession-Proof Your Small Business
Writing first and editing later has helped tremendously to speed up the time it takes to write
I agree james, mostly with writing down ideas.
Because I always forget after a while, several great ideas I would have lost if I hadn't written them.
I always forget after a while, several great ideas I would have lost if I hadn't written them
Hey Henrique! Yeah, writing them down when you get them is super important. I can’t count the number of times I’ve come up with a good idea, got distracted, and forgot about it. It’s always quite frustrating!
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