Writing, for some, can take quite a lot of time. It’s a difficult balance for a business owner who wants their voice to be heard but doesn’t have the time it can take to write a blog post, ebook, or article. The truth is that with a few simple tips, you can cut your writing time in half (or even more) and retain the quality your audience expects and deserves.
1. Write first, edit later. Editing as you write is a difficult habit to break. However, if you’re able to manage breaking the habit, your writing time will be significantly cut. Each time you stop to edit, you break the flow of words onto the page. You make your corrections and then have to restart the creative process. Write first, edit later. Don’t stop to fix spelling errors. Don’t stop for any reason. Type until you’ve said all that you want to say. Then go back and edit. Run through first with your computer’s spelling and grammar check. Then run through it with your own eyes and look for clarity.
2. Outline First. A simple bulleted outline that covers all of the main points that you want to address in your content can be a serious time saver. Trying to determine what you want to say, as you write, slows you down. If you create a simple bulleted outline, then you can go back and fill in the content. You don’t have to stop and think about what should come next.
3. Dictation. Did you know that in one minute of talking you can dictate several hundred words? Talk about a time saver! While it can take a little time to learn and effectively use dictation software (check out nuance’s Dragon Naturally Speaking) it is often worth the investment. You can dictate a blog post in a matter of minutes. Clean it up, or ask your assistant to edit it for you, and publish. There are writers who dictate their books and swear by this time saving tool.
4. Write When You’re Focused. What’s the best time of day for you to focus? For many, writing is slowed down because the phone is ringing, they’re checking their email, and they somehow end up on Facebook. A blog post that should take 15 minutes to write ends up taking an hour and fifteen minutes. Find that time when you know you have more control over your thoughts and attention. Make that your writing time.
5. Write Every Day. Writing every day helps you train your brain to write. Published authors of fiction and non-fiction alike swear by the write every day rule. And you don’t have to sit down and write for hours. If you write a blog post every day, or spend 30 minutes a day writing, you’ll be able to accomplish a lot. As this becomes habit, your writing speed and comfort level will grow.
6. Have a Plan. A plan is different from an outline. It simply means that when you sit down to write, you know what you’re going to write about, why you’re writing it, and the goal it will help you achieve. Sitting down to a blank computer screen with no real direction is a recipe for writer’s block.
7. Set a timer. Setting a timer has the effect of forcing you to focus. It holds you accountable. For example, if you’re writing a blog post you might give yourself 20 minutes to write the post. That doesn’t leave time for checking Facebook.
8. Schedule it. Add writing into your daily schedule and make sure to schedule something after it. For example, you might schedule in writing every day before you make phone calls to your coaching clients. This forces you to finish before your call and it supports your writing commitment by making room in your day.
9. Get comfortable, and confident, with writing. One of the reasons why it can take some people a long time to write is that they lack a bit of confidence in their own voice. Take a deep breath. Trust that you know what you’re talking about and that your audience wants to listen. Acknowledge that the more you write, the better your skills will become.
10. Create a writing routine. Now, unless you’re writing a novel, you don’t necessarily have to create a writing space that calls to your muse. However, setting up your space and creating a writing routine can help you focus on the task. Something as simple as grabbing a notebook, pencil, and a cup of coffee before you sit down can help. Other business owners find that starting a writing project by reviewing their editorial calendar or content marketing plan can really help.
Improving your writing speed is often a matter of getting the clutter out of the way. Eliminate distractions, write when you’re most focused, and use systems to maximize your efficiency.