What would you do with more time in the day?
I would probably clean, but I’d like to think I’d watch This is Us while chowing down on some Ghiradelli brownies (calories don’t count in my fantasy world).
Have you ever considered that you could make more time in your day? Obviously, you can’t add hours, but you can cut time on the things you already have to do.
Something I’ve figured out recently is how to write faster, and it has helped me write more blog posts and whip out my first novel much quicker than I had anticipated.
Here are some things that have helped me write faster and I know they’ll help you too:
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Make a Plan
Think back to when you were in school. Can you imagine trying to write an essay without doing any preparation ahead of time?
So why do we think we can write blog posts without preparing ahead of time?
You don’t have to come up with ten different sources to write a blog post (thank goodness), but preparing ahead of time will not only help you create more valuable content, but it will also help you write quicker.
Pre-Writing: Brainstorm, Outline, and Research
Pre-writing is just what you think it is: everything that will help make the writing process go well.
I used to be of the belief that pre-writing was a waste of time. Instead, I would sit down to write and spend ages looking for information as I wrote. I’d get stuck because I didn’t know where I was going with my writing.
After wasting so many hours of my life on ineffective writing, I’m converted.
Now I prepare ahead of time by brainstorming, outlining, and researching, which all go together for me. I wrote a whole post about the importance of these steps for the writing process, but here’s a summary of an effective way I prepare for blog posts. Here’s how I start:
Write down a headline
Outline all of the points I want to make
Make a note of any information I want under each section
Once I’ve done these simple steps, I’ll go back to the start and add any information or sub-points under my main points. I usually don’t add too much because I like to do most of my thinking while I’m writing, but this is enough to guide me and make the writing process smooth.
Sometimes I don’t need to research my blog posts, but if I do, I search the internet for good sources (i.e., usually not Wikipedia, though I love to go there to find out about a celebrity’s personal life). When I find helpful information, I copy and paste it beneath the relevant section, making sure to keep track of my links. Easy peezy.
There are a lot of benefits to pre-writing, but one of the best is that it will help you to write faster.
I like to compare it to trying to find a place. Let’s say you’re going to a restaurant in a new town and you aren’t sure of how to get there. Maybe you have a general idea of where the area is, but you’re not sure exactly what street the restaurant is on or what the number is.
If you just start driving, it will take you so much longer than if you pulled up directions and determine the quickest route to go.
Sometimes I write full paragraphs during my pre-writing stage because I have a point that I don’t want to forget. However, I try not to let myself keep going because I want to be more prepared before I fully dive into the writing process.
Use Formulas for Your Intro
I worked as a freelance writer for a digital marketing company, and my contact with the company gave me an idea that has changed my writing for the last few years. He suggested that I search “copywriting formulas” and implement them into my writing.
During my search, I found 27 Best Copywriting Formulas: How to Tell a Captivating Story Online. That was over four years ago, and this article is still the first bookmark on my internet browser.
Formulas can help you create a compelling introduction. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get stuck right at the beginning of writing because it can be difficult trying to come up with an intro that’s intriguing enough to make someone want to read the rest of my content.
Using the copywriting formulas in different ways has turned writing into a little game.
This formula is one of my favorites: Before – After – Bridge. You describe the reader’s current world in the “Before” section. In the “After” section, you paint a picture of how their world would be if their problems were solved. The “Bridge” is your time to describe how your readers can get there (usually it has to do with your services or whatever problem you’re trying to solve.
Open up this article in a new tab and check it out for ideas of copywriting formulas to help you write a captivating introduction.
Set a Specific Amount of Time to Write and Avoid Distractions
I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is a time when thousands of people work to write their first novel. Before I began, I wanted to figure out how to write quickly so that I wasn’t spending my entire month writing a novel.
I read 5000 Words in 1 Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox. One of the ideas I liked the most from this book was to commit to a certain amount of time to write and don’t allow any distractions.
As a mom with a one and a three-year-old, this doesn’t always work (especially after Daylight Savings Time), but I try to do it as much as possible.
I try to pick a time when I know my kids will be asleep, then I set my timer for an hour and write as quickly as I can.
I wrote 26,086 words of my novel in 10 days by using this method, and that includes not writing on Sundays and only writing a few hundred words the last two Saturdays.
This tip is relevant to any type of writing and probably the most important thing you can do to write quickly.
Try think of a time when you can write without being interrupted. It doesn’t have to be an hour—just as long as possible. If it’s hard for you to get uninterrupted time, just for the next best thing (i.e., while your toddler watches Peppa Pig).
Get everything done that you need to before you start writing. If you need water, fill it up before you sit down. If you need to go to the bathroom, go first.
Check your email and your social media if you think that may distract, then turn it off. The internet is probably the biggest time-wasting culprit. When I’m stuck with my writing, the first thing I want to do is some mindless Facebook scrolling.
But don’t let yourself.
If you’ve prepared enough, you should be able to sit down and whip out great content.
I know some days it won’t be easy to write without distractions. My three-year-old daughter has literally been fake-crying during “quiet time” the entire time I’ve been writing this. But it feels so good to push through and see what you were able to accomplish with focused writing time.
Write Without Stopping
Do you write something, then go back and rewrite it 30 seconds later? One way to write much quicker is to get all of your ideas out without stopping. Just get that first draft out on paper. Maybe your content will be really crappy, or maybe it won’t be as bad as you thought it could be.
Try not to edit as you go, even if you realize something you want to change before you’re finished writing. Make a note of things you want to change, then go back when you’re done writing. Check out this post for tips on how to edit your blog post.
You’ve heard this a million times before, but practicing is really the best way to become a better writer. The wonderful thing about writing, however, is that you don’t have to start practicing at the age of three to get good at it.
You can start practicing at 28, 36, or 73 and still become better (and any age in between or beyond). But you just have to practice.
Try starting by writing one or two blog posts each week, or just write for ten minutes each day. Choose a goal that works for you, but try to be consistent.
These tips are simple, but they will help you write faster so you can create content without taking up too much of your day. I know they’ll work for you because they’ve worked for me!
If you need more writing help, check out my free 5-day email course, “5 Days to Better Blog Writing.”