write faster

Do you have a list of 50 blog posts ideas, but find yourself stumped when it comes to actually getting words on the page? Have you started several different posts, but haven’t gotten them into a publishable version yet?

If you find yourself in one of these categories, here are 6 tips that will help you write faster and publish rich, quality content along the way.

Start by asking a question. Most of what we write is an answer to a question that has been posed at some point. How do you style a certain outfit? Decorate a room? Prepare a meal? Entertain the kiddos? Or any of the other myriad of questions we grapple with throughout the day. Starting your writing with a question prepares your reader for what you’re going to say AND it gets them engaged in the conversation. After all, they’ve likely posed the same question or tells they probably wouldn’t be reading.

Put a timer on it. I’ve recently started to time my writing and am totally amazed at how much I get done in each session. Now, I wouldn’t dare to to sit down to write without starting my timer (or at least making note of my start time). Timed writing is a must for moving an article from the idea phase to published content. It gives you a finite start and end time, and encourages you to get more written than if you have an infinite amount of time available.

I typically allot 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to write. I try to complete my initial draft in the first 20 minutes, and leave 10 minutes for editing, proofing and publishing.

Map out your story. Story mapping gives you the framework around which to build your story. Similar to a traditional outline, this process allows you to put down all of the topics you want to cover in one place. Story-mapping helps you write faster because you have all of the information in front of you before you start, and you can make notes as you move through your story.

How do you map out a story? Start with the main idea of your story in the center of your map. From there, create a branch to each major topic you want to cover in the article. Within each major topic, list 2-3 ideas that support your major topic. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a complete diagram showing all of the ideas that will be included in your post. All you need to do now is add 2 or 3 sentences about each topic, and before you know it, you have a complete story.

Use the free hand writing method. I confess: I’m probably the world’s slowest typist. One of the tools that I use to help me write faster is literally writing out what I want to say using a pen and paper.

While it may sound counterintuitive, it actually makes the process go faster. Think about journaling. When you write in a journal, thoughts seem to flow faster and are captured more easily than when you’re typing, and intuitively inclined to make corrections along the way.

Hand writing allows me to get all of my thoughts down without the interruption of making sure things are spelled correctly, punctuation is right, capitalization is on point and all of the other things I look for during the editing stage. Another benefit of this method is that it builds in an additional layer of editing as you type up your handwritten notes. I call this “second-layer editing.” This layer of editing allows you to constructively edit actual content rather than just simple things like punctuation.

Create a cut from file. After you’ve written your post, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to go back and cut some of what you’ve written. But this content doesn’t necessarily need to be deleted altogether. Creating a “Cut From File” will allow you to save sentences (possibly even paragraphs) that you may be able to repurpose for a follow-up article or for social media.

My “Cut From” file for my blog is in the form of a single google sheet that is divided by post title, publish date and category.

Have a writing day. I use this technique in my full-time gig all the time. About once a month, I leave my office and head over to the library for a writing day. Removing the distractions of phone calls, drop ins, meetings, etc. allows me to knock out 4-5 articles in a single day, rather than barely one per week.

While I haven’t used this technique as often as I’d like to build my blog, I’m using it more and more. And the more I use it, the more content-rich my site will become. At least that’s the plan!

So there you have it–my tips for writing faster. What are some of the techniques that you use to develop content quickly? Share them in the comments.