Stop Being A Blogging Sloth
Blogging is important. You know this. But what if blogging takes you forever and a day? What if the moment your word processor opens, your mind goes blank and you want to crawl into a corner and curl up into the fetal position?
Unwrap your arms from around your knees, take a deep breath, and come back into the light because you’re definitely not alone. Writing is not easy, and the ability to write faster is something even seasoned writers covet. Marie Forleo, a marketing and lifestyle expert whose weekly newsletter and videos have over 90,000 subscribers in 188 countries, recently created a video with some great tips on how to write faster, and after the video we’ve pinpointed the most pertinent guidelines for small business owners:
1.) Think About What You Want to Give Your Reader
One way to get started is to think about what the purpose of your blog post is. Maybe you have a list of common questions that customers ask you, and you want to address their concerns—in fact, that’s how this video from Forleo was born. Maybe, like Forleo, you want to provide answers to one or more of those common customer questions. Perhaps you want to relay the latest industry news to your reader so that they’ll make better buying decisions.
Or maybe you want to let your customer know about the new employee you just hired, giving them a more personal sense of the company. Identifying what you want to give the reader will help you clarify your writing goals and help you speed up your writing process so that you can get to typing.
2.) Keep an Idea List
Ever get struck with an idea, resolve to keep it locked tight in your memory, and a day later find yourself asking, “Oh man, now what was that really good idea I had again?” This is where note-taking comes in handy. Get your thoughts down on paper or on your phone. These ideas of yours could be either written or dictated; it doesn’t really matter as long as you place them somewhere outside of your mind, which isn’t always the most reliable form of storage.
3.) Use a Content Calendar
We might have mentioned this before. A content calendar will cut down on the time it takes for you to decide what to write about, and if you include links for reference ahead of time, it will cut down on your research time, too. So instead of clicking through a bunch of Google results, you can have easy access to all the sources you need at your fingertips, and you’ll be free to write up a storm.
4.) Write first. Edit later.
Think of writing and editing as separate processes. Forleo suggests that if you think of a different way to say something when writing, don’t delete what you’ve written, but type out the revision and continue on your way. In other words, try treating the “Backspace” button like a biological hazard that you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Easier said than done, right? Try some of these tips to break out of the habit:
Investigate Write or Die, a low-cost word processing program designed to battle writers’ block by including options like disabling “Backspace.”
Disable spell-check on your word processor so that you don’t see any red or green lines compelling you to fix any typos.
Turn off your monitor (or diminish the brightness of your screen) so that you can’t see what you type. If you’re re-purposing content and consulting an online source while you’re writing, try moving your word processing window to the very bottom of your screen so that you can’t actually see what you’re typing.
5.) Set a Firm Deadline for Yourself
Forleo’s video references Parkinson’s Law, which essentially states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” What this means is that if you give yourself more time than you actually need to complete a task (say two days for three hours’ worth of work), your perception of the task’s difficulty will increase, making you procrastinate to the point that it really does take that longer amount of time to complete it. Another way of thinking about Parkinson’s law is in terms of a self-fulfilling prophecy: give yourself two days to get three hours’ worth of work done, and it really will take you two days.
Think about all the times when you had to really focus on a project and didn’t have time to allow yourself to get distracted by the usual interruptions that disrupt your work flow. Were you surprised at how fast you got things done? Try doing the same with writing. Make your writing deadlines tighter than usual and you may be shocked at how productive you are when you don’t allow yourself time to panic.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/photostock