Been a while since you posted a new blog? Social media pipeline all dried up?
As a result, maybe not getting as many fresh eyeballs to your website lately as you’d like?
You’re not alone. I recently surveyed a bunch of random coaches’ blogs and Facebook pages and found that:
And it’s quite understandable...
Writing is hard – especially longer-form writing (blogs, video scripts, podcast outlines). For most people, it’s among the most effortful work there is. Plus, as solopreneurs, we have a gazillion other, more pressing things to do, so writing often stays on the back burner.
And as someone who writes not one but three blogs and maintains content across 13 different social media channels…Hey – I feel your pain!
But I’ve figured out some ways to make writing easier and faster.
And what follows are a handful of my best blogging tips from 30 years of making a living creating content despite a handful of learning disabilities. (So if they work for me, they might work even better for YOU!)
Let’s get to it…
Maybe you’ve already heard me talk about this. That’s because I consider it the “sine qua non of writing.” (For you non-lovers of Latin: “That without which…nothing.”)
As I mentioned, writing is hard, effortful: It taxes all your executive functions. If you’re trying to write when your brain is anything but sharp, you’re not gonna write easily, quickly or well.
So always schedule your writing sessions in your mentally strongest time of day. For most of us, that’s in the morning; for others, it’s afternoon or evening.
My strongest time is in the morning from 8am to 11am. So I block that off every day as my writing time.
By “block off,” I mean I never schedule meetings or appointments during those hours and, importantly, I don’t do any mentally easy work then – saving that stuff for my weaker times of day.
In a way, this is common sense. But few of us coaches – even productivity coaches – have thought about or adhere to this simple rule.
Here’s another hack for faster/easier writing…
This may sound silly – “Of course I’ll write what I want to say, Alan!” But hear me out…
We will typically sit down to write and…just start writing. And while throwing ourselves into the writing without overthinking can be a great writing hack for when we’re stuck (more on that next), we won’t be as likely to send the best words from our brains down our arms and fingers and into the computer.
We must first pause and think…about “What we want to say.”
Whether it's an email to a client, a marketing piece, or a new blog or video script, start by stating in plain language – either in writing or out loud -- what your objective is; the idea or point you want to convey.
For instance, my objective in writing this post was to help my fellow coaches understand three things:
Just taking the time to articulate “What I want to say” before starting my blog drafts probably saves me over an hour (and lots of frustration) each time.
You can also apply Write What You Want to Say to any particular paragraph: “What am I hoping to convey right here, specifically?”
I had a great writing mentor when I was a junior ad exec trying to summarize piles of complicated consumer research. I’d show her my draft executive summary and, after she scanned it a bit, her brow would scrunch up after reading a particular paragraph, and ask, “Alan, what is it you want to say here?” I’d then tell her what I’d hoped to convey. Then she’d hand me back the draft, saying, “Good. Then go back to your office and write that!”
You can also apply Write What You Want to Say when you feel stuck. “Hmmm. I’m stuck here. These words don’t feel right, but I can’t think of better words... Well, What is it I want to say?” It’s a great mental re-set.
And speaking of getting stuck in the midst of a writing session, here’s a hack for getting unstuck…
When your writing is at its hardest, you can easily get disheartened and want to give up in the middle of a writing session. Which is awful for consistent writing output.
So, whether fatigue, distraction, perfectionism, or other overthinking has your writing gears grinding to a halt, do as Ernest Hemingway advises: Write drunk, edit sober.
The idea is, forget about a polished written product. Just get to a sh*tty first draft: get the key parts out of your brain with sufficient verbiage to represent your ideas. Forget about style, punctuation, editing.
I’ll often say to myself, “Alan, just poop it out! We’ll polish that turd later!”
With apologies for the vulgarity, this is probably the most important trick for making writing less frustrating. And easier. And faster.
Review this post right before your next writing session and I bet you’ll write a bit more easily.
When you find your writing getting easier...it gets faster. And when you get more writing done in less time with less stress...guess what happens: Your clarity and creativity go through the roof...and your writing gets way better!
Indeed, whatever’s in your way is yours to crush!
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P.S. Do you find writing new content for your blogs, videos or social media posts um, hard? You're not alone. It is indeed hard. And yet new content is critical in building your awareness and reputation.
That's why I created my 7 Hacks for Faster and Easier Writing cheat sheet, sharing some of my best writing tricks from 30 years of making a living creating content (despite a few learning disabilities – so if they work for me, they’ll work even better for YOU).
Click here to grab this indispensable cheat sheet.