You try and you try, but you cannot seem to produce more than 300 words per hour? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Every blog writer has tasted that beginner’s frustration, and so did that guy from the café corner that seems more like a typing machine than a human being. The key to successful blogging is consistency, the passcode is 2500 words per day, so put all hesitations aside and start writing.
Here are a couple of hard-learned lessons to help you out.
1) Eliminate All Distractions, Including Hesitation
A talented scribbler will tell you that writing cannot be learned – you either have magic in your fingers or you don’t. It’s so untrue, and that’s the first lesson you should learn. Though such statements may apply to fiction, niche blogging requires a completely different skillset.
Fortunately, it’s something that can be developed through practice.
In case you’re still an absolute beginner, start with detecting and eliminating distractions. Improve your typing, build a website, find a quiet space and turn all of your notifications off. Mindless scrolling is the arch-enemy of creativity, but nothing is as distracting as fear of failure. As long as you act instead of dread, your word count will continue improving at a steady pace.
2) Use a Timer (Every 25 Minutes)
Whatever the task, the Pomodoro Technique is set to boost your productivity. A lot of great blog writers use this method for staying on schedule, simply because its simplicity guarantees the utmost effectiveness.
Here’s how it works:
- Set up a timer on your phone or computer to 25 minutes and start writing.
- Forget all about it and stay fully focused on your work until the timer rings.
- Enjoy a short breather – not longer than a couple of minutes – and go back to your article.
- Repeat this routine for 4 times in a row, and then allow yourself a 15 minute to half an hour break.
3) Make an Editorial Calendar
Mostly used in the magazine industry, an editorial calendar is a great helping tool for bloggers as well. It’s nothing fancy or difficult to make, though it improves your efficiency just as well as popular productivity apps do.
Simply make a custom calendar for each week or month and fill it up with blog topics you’ll be writing about. Until you catch up the speed, limit yourself to 1000 words per day. An editorial calendar is not only a visualization tool but an accomplishment tracker as well – if you try to bite off more than you can chew, you’ll only end up discouraged.
If you’re a fast learner, it won’t take you more than a month to expand your volume to another 500-1000 words for a day’s work. Seasoned bloggers publish a new 2500 word piece every second day, but as long as your quality doesn’t suffer, feel free to make it a daily goal.
4) Begin With the End in Mind: The Rule of One
Regardless of your niche and audience, every successful blogging venture starts at the conclusion. You cannot write a story without knowing its end, and you cannot draft a first blog post-sentence without knowing the last. Here’s what Edgar Allan Poe has to say about this principle:
“A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents–he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tends not to the upbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step.”
While fiction relies on effect, a blog post relies on a message. It’s something that’s been promised in a title, and something that readers want to dedicate their time to. Every sentence of your article should be subordinated to this general idea, advice, or example.
The rule is simple enough: one blog post has only one major lesson to teach. Consequently, one paragraph should convey one message, while one sentence shouldn’t bring about more than one idea.
5) Structure First, Write Later
According to Marshal D. Carper, writing is
- 15% planning.
- 20% drafting.
- 45% revision.
- 15% editing, and
- 5% formatting.
Just as you can’t start writing without devising an end first, you can’t proceed on if there’s no structure to organize your thoughts. Otherwise, your time would be terribly misspent.
Planning is thereby the final pre-step to actual writing. If you define your topic, do research and construct a post beforehand, the whole process will take less time to finish.
Define a Topic — Once you’ve come up with a general idea for your post, you need to narrow it down to an executable topic. For example, your article may teach the basics of content marketing (idea), but it needs a specific point to grow from (topic).
Is it a comparison of the best industry tools, an overview of effective strategies or a general guideline for beginners? If you can’t figure it out yourself, consult HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator for inspiration.
Research — Why do you need research before instead of during the writing process? Because it will disperse your thoughts, thus wasting plenty of your time. Even if you know a lot about the subject matter at hand, you’ll need to remind yourself of the details.
2500 words is a lot, and you’ll certainly need additional facts to meet your quota.
Outline — Summarize your research into a series of short points. Some of them will serve as subheadings, while others will help you expand them into paragraphs. This outline is crucial for structuring your thoughts and keeping your focus on the subject, both of which allow you to think and write faster.
6) If You Wish to Be a Writer, Write
Finally, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start typing. The entire blog post is already in your head, so there’s no need for further reading and additional research. Remove all distractions until there’s nothing but you and the blank Word page, find a comfy pose, and go.
Expand and Chunk —Start rewriting your outline one point at the time. Calculate how many words you’ll need per each subheading if it helps, and build your introduction, body, and conclusion around that. Use bullets to break larger blocks of text into smaller chunks – not only that these are way easier to read, but they also allow you to follow your thoughts without straying too far from the outline.
Bring Your Facts to Life — If there’s something you need to write about but don’t fully understand it yourself, don’t ask Google for help. Try to think about it for a second instead, and find a nice analogy or an adequate example to explain it to yourself. You can then use them to bring your facts to life, and you’ll spend less time online too.
Write Shorter Sentences — Whenever the topic allows it, write shorter sentences. The more natural they are, the greater your flow will be. Simple constructions and common words keep your stream of consciousness coherent, thus making it faster and less susceptible to stray thoughts.
Don’t Edit While You Write — Seriously, never do that! It’s one of the biggest culprits of slow writing not only because it makes the process last longer, but also because it triggers disappointment and frustration. As a writer, you’ll never be completely satisfied with your work, which is why you need to separate your author from your inner critic at the very start.
7) Finish and Improve
In fact, editing comes two steps after writing. In between, they are proofreading, which is usually the only absolutely necessary post-production routine if the artwork in the case is a blog post. While editing focuses on sentence structure and style consistency, proofreading eliminates spelling, grammar, and typographical errors.
These mistakes can ruin the entire article, regardless of how well-written it is, and make you look unprofessional and educated. If aiming towards a great quality of writing, however, you’ll need to be both your own proofreader and editor.
Most bloggers write a conclusion at the very end of the process after the rest of the article has been edited. It’s not a common practice, but it can be a helpful one. Having read an entire piece for a couple of times, you earn an insight that allows you to naturally conclude your thoughts.
Using the same technique, we’ll take the opportunity to remind you that an accomplished blog writer is the one who stays focused on the material, drafts with the end in mind, researches in advance and only edits once the full post has been written. It’s not a short process, but with serious practice, it’s not a time-consuming one either.