Do you want to publish several great posts a week?
Does it take you hours to write just one blog post?
Are you looking for a way to finish your posts faster?
If you’re starting off as a blogger, it’s frustrating to spend hours on a single blog post when you see others writing more in less time.
In this post, you can learn ten effective writing tips the pros use to speed up their writing and produce more high-quality posts. These writing tips are easy to learn if you’re committed to your craft.
We don’t have much time, so let’s get started.
1. Separate research from writing
Research is fun. You get to read dozens of top blogs, browse Wikipedia and click from one website to the next. Hours go by. You write nothing.
Most writers don’t do both at the same time. Spend time researching your blog post, make notes, use the right tools and get whatever information you need. Then, close down your browser, disconnect from the internet, and do nothing else but write.
If, while writing, you think of a fact you need to check, whatever you do don’t stop writing.
Instead, make a note in your blog post with an X or with an asterisk. Then when you’ve finished this first draft, go ahead and check this point. The idea is to get that first draft out of your head and onto the page. You can always go back and firm up your arguments when you’re editing.
2. Write now, edit later
Stephen King says, “To write is human, to edit is divine.”
Editing is when you take that messy first draft of your blog post, tidy it up and get it ready for the world. However, editing is also a later part of the process of writing.
Professional writers don’t stop after every sentence to go back and see if they got it right.
Okay, maybe some of them do. Productive professional writers get that messy first draft out onto the page. Then when this draft is complete, they go back, read what they’ve written and edit it.
If you stop after every sentence to change, tweak, polish and refine your blog post, it will take hours to get to the publish button. Instead, write the entire post in one long messy session. Then, edit it.
3. Write an outline
Before you write, break your blog post into several different sections using pen and paper.
The body may consist of two or three other sections and, if you’re writing a long post, include extra sections for transitioning from one part to the next. Write down a single word or theme for each section. If you’re writing a list post, write down a single bullet point for each item on your list.
Expand on these themes or bullet points. Note what you want to say in the conclusion and the introduction. Now, use this outline for your post.
This will take ten to twenty minutes, and it will prevent that horrible moment when you realize you’ve written five hundred or a thousand words that won’t engage your readers.
4. Stuck? Write your conclusion sooner
Your conclusion is the place where you bring your thoughts together in several short but succinct sentences. It’s also where your call-to-action goes.
Writing this sooner will help you focus on the narrative of your post.
Record the main points of your piece. Explain exactly what you said and why it’s true. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t quite proved your point yet. That’s a minor concern and one you can fix after you’ve written the conclusion.
5. Write your introduction last
All the great writers say how important it is to bleed into that first line. Your first line counts. It’s what convinces the reader to carry on to the second line. And so on.
This isn’t much use if you’ve got two hours to turn around a post. Spending two hours on the first line won’t leave you much energy for all the other sentences.
Instead, write the introduction after you’ve finished outlining, researching, writing and editing your post. This way, you’ll know exactly what your work is about and what you want to say first.
6. Forget about being perfect
Are you writing literature?
No. Then it’s OK if your blog post isn’t perfect. This doesn’t mean you can get away with typos, bad grammar and spelling mistakes in your posts.
Instead, accept that you’re not going to be able to cover everything and say exactly what you intend. Seek out your desire for perfectionism and tear it out from the roots. Now your blog posts will have space to grow.
The beauty of writing for the web means it’s always possible to fix your work if you make a mistake.
7. Practice like an Olympian
There’s a reason swimmers like Michael Phelps and runners like Usain Bolt train for up to eight hours a day.
The more you practice something the better and the faster you’ll get at it.
If you write every day, it’ll feel natural to knock out a thousand words before your Corn Flakes. If you write a blog post once a month, it’s going to take several hours to warm up and produce something worthy for your readers.
If you’re starting off as a blogger and you find your progress is slow, accept it for what it is. If you keep putting the work in, you will become faster and better.
8. Set a timer
Lengthy blog posts are like gas, they expand and takeover everything. If you’re struggling to progress your post, place boundaries around it.
Set an alarm for thirty minutes. Work on your post without stopping or doing anything else until the buzzer sounds.
You can use these half hour windows of time for one task related to your post e.g. writing, editing, laying it out in WordPress. If it helps, you can challenge yourself to reach a certain word count before the buzzer sounds.
This will force you to achieve more with less.
Pro productivity tip: Use the Pomodoro technique.
9. Stop writing
Yes, this sounds counter intuitive, but somedays when you’re blocked, you’re blocked.
Get up from the desk. Go for a sleep, a walk, make dinner, eat, drink, do anything but think about HTML, call-to-actions and social proof. Don’t risk burn out.
Then later on, when your subconsciousness least expects it, creep back up to your desk, quietly open your word processor and write before your subconsciousness knows what’s going on.
10. Organise your research and notes
The best blog posts link to other blog posts, cite scientific studies, or provide some evidence that backs up the writer’s point.
This research takes time.
I save my notes, ideas and research in Evernote for reference while writing my posts. I keep:
- Blog posts
- Giveaways from mailing lists
- Scientific papers
You don’t have to use Evernote, but having a tool or a system for your research, ideas and notes will make it easier to find them later on when you really need them. This means you can spend less time researching and more time writing.
Are you ready?
Writing is demanding work, but don’t spend all day thinking about it.
Using these 10 writing tips you can reduce the amount of time it takes you to finish a blog post and concentrate on getting more traffic.
The best thing about writing faster is you’ll finish and publish more posts. And with each post you finish, you take one more step down the path towards becoming the type of blogger you always imagined you would become.
Now go out there and finish something!
The clock is ticking…