Not sure how to write efficiently? We’ve been hearing a lot of excuses lately.
1. “I don’t know what to write about.”
2. “I’m not a good writer.”
3. “I don’t have time.”
4. “I’ve been busy looking after that wounded badger I rescued from a ditch after the comet struck.”
Let’s put No.4 to one side – it’s probably more of an edge case if we’re being brutally honest.
Nevertheless, we are still left with the thorny issue of excuse No.3: How to blog when you are pushed for time.
It can be tough finding the time to write but we’ve listed a few tricks of the trade that help us produce our content speedily and often. Ish.
Know what your blog topic will be before you put pen to paper
Never start a writing session wondering what to write.
You should be in research mode 24-7 so step away from the badger and keep a keen eye out for resources and ideas at all times.
Who else is writing in your field? Who are the key influencers or industry leaders?
What have they written about lately? What is a “hot topic” on social platforms?
Has your industry recently hit the news headlines? If so, why?
We aren’t suggesting you copy others but regularly pooling ideas can drastically cut down the time you need to spend deciding upon a topic.
Think ahead: Don’t just think about the next hour of writing
It’s great to know what your next blog topic is.
It’s even better to know what the next month’s worth of topics are. So create an editorial calendar.
If you know the subject matter for your next few blogs it can steer your research and reading, resulting in a greater body of resources when it comes to writing time.
By the time you get round to starting your next blog, all the necessary preparation and prior reading is already done, allowing you to get cracking right away. Happy days.
An editorial calendar allows for more team-based involvement too. Colleagues can contribute ideas and resources, which might save you time in the long run too.
And while we are at it, your content should have a purpose.
It ought to fit into a long-term strategy – and taking a step back and looking at it over a period of weeks and months should help on that score too.
…erm, but don’t forget about the next hour of writing either!
Sure, having a long-term plan about your writing is great, as is having the resources to turn to.
But putting pen to paper – or, more likely, fingers to keys – can still be a daunting task.
So break it down.
Start with your title. It’s got to capture your reader and also direct your writing for the rest of the blog. It’s also important for SEO purposes – so try to get it right.
Once the title is down, divide your ideas up into subheadings.
Not only will this help you order and structure the piece, it makes everything much more digestible for the reader.
Add your facts, figures and key details beneath each subheading so everything is in one place. This should help you maintain focus.
Then start writing! Don’t spend too long choosing the perfect word. It’s more important to make progress while your ideas are flowing. You can always make edits afterwards.
Set targets and identify both short- and long-term priorities
It can be hard to keep your concentration levels tip top so set yourself targets. Write for 30 minutes without a break.
Then build that up to 45 or an hour and before you know it you’ll be able to focus on your writing for longer periods, cutting down the time it takes to complete a blog.
Other targets should be more long term, such as to post a new blog weekly or bi-monthly.
Blogging should be a priority – don’t bump it to the bottom of your to-do list.
Recognising its importance will encourage you to get started and help with maintaining focus.
Cut out the distractions so you can focus on the job in hand
How is your writing environment? Does it allow you to write uninterrupted? If not, why not?
Turn your phone on silent. Ignore the emails in your inbox and give yourself some quality time to ensure you get your writing done.
Doing this should free up more time for other tasks later.
Of course, no one is immune to writer’s block – it happens to the best of us.
If it’s holding you back take a short break, get some fresh air or make a cup of coffee. Take your mind off your writing entirely and come back to it later.
Summary – how to write efficiently in four quick steps
Use your time away from your writing wisely so you can make a head start when it comes to it
Always be thinking of ideas – and try to read around your industry as much as you can
Plan ahead: Know what you’re going to write about and know how you’re going to do it
Shut off distractions and learn to maintain your focus. And, if it’s really not happening, take a break and pick it up again later
And, if all the above fails, get in touch. We’d love to help with your writing – whether you just want to discuss the tips above – it’d be great to hear from you.
Either way, good luck with your next blog! And thanks to Bill Watterson for the writer’s block pic.