It is possible to write an entire week’s worth of blog posts in just an hour. In fact, I just started my digital timer to prove the point. In this post I’m going to explain exactly how I accomplished this feat, and how you can too.
Above is a screenshot of the two tools I use most when writing my blog posts: Evernote and Scrivener. But don’t get hung up on the tools that I use to write my posts. Even though I use them for specific reasons, you could just as easily do this yourself with nothing more than Notepad or TextEditor.
Here are the steps that allow me to write an entire week’s worth of blog posts-seven in all-in about an hour…
- Decide that you’re going to do it. I can’t over emphasize this enough. Just taking the step of believing it’s possible will open up your brain, and enable you to do it. Think about Roger Bannister and the four minute mile. Before he ran a mile in four minutes, doctors believed it was impossible for a human being to accomplish this physical act. After Bannister broke the four-minute mile barrier, it became commonplace for others to do the same.
- Choose your seven blog post titles. As you can see from the illustration at the beginning of this blog post, I use Evernote to catalog my ideas for blog post titles. I am continually adding to this list. When I sit down to write the week’s posts, I have a treasure chest of titles to choose from. I pick the ones I feel I have the knowledge and energy to complete in this session.
- Set up your writing environment. I clear my desk of physical clutter, and I usually do a quick review of all my tasks and inboxes to make sure nothing is lurking in the shadows. That way both my mind and my physical environment are clear and uncluttered. Then I paste my chosen blog post titles into the draft section of Scrivener, which is the software I used to do all my writing these days (thanks to a tip from my friend Michael Hyatt).
- Set a digital timer for the allotted 60 minutes. By the way, it’s okay if you want to take two hours or even three hours to write your weeks worth of blog posts. Do what is comfortable for you. I am a pretty fast writer (and some would say that is evident), and I chose one hour because it seemed challenging. I’ve currently used up seven minutes as I write this. Once you’ve started your digital timer let nothing distracts you from your writing. No checking email, Facebook, instant messenger, voicemail, or any of the other 1000 distractions available to you. You either write, or sit and stare at the screen until you think of something to write.
- Write recklessly. Now is not the time to try and edit your work. I never promised you you would have the final draft of all seven posts in an hour. But you certainly can complete the first draft of all seven in 60 minutes. Write without fear, right knowing that you will produce what and Lamont refers to as “lousy first drafts”, and learn to be okay with that.
- Once finished, let your first drafts “marinate”. I like to give myself a period of time away from the writing, so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes. Ideally, this would be a few days. Sometimes deadlines demand that I give myself only a few hours.
- Edit ruthlessly. You have now allowed your Blog posts to marinate for a while. When you come back to your writing with those “fresh eyes”, you will see things that obviously need correcting. You will see things that you can make so much better. You have already written recklessly… Now is the time to edit ruthlessly.
That’s it. I know you were perhaps expecting a magic formula, but I don’t have one. I set up the environment in favor of my accomplishing what I set out to do, and then I have to just do the writing. That being said, here are a few tips that you may find helpful:
- I use Evernote to capture ideas for blog posts. I generally keep them in one constantly growing note. I don’t write outlines for the posts in this note, I only capture title ideas.
- If I have more thoughts on the blog post at the time I come up with the idea, I will start a new note in Evernote and do a basic outline of that blog post. This will save me time when it comes to the writing.
- I use Scrivener to do all my writing these days. There is a bit of a learning curve with the software, but I believe it is the best I have ever used. Michael Hyatt wrote a great post about why he switched to Scrivener for all his writing, and I suggest you read his post.
- Stick to one simple idea per blog post. This may sound elementary, but only making a single point forces you to write shorter blog posts.
- Write list posts. I know, I know, the advice to write list posts is old. There is a reason why we love to write them, and to read them. They are easy to write, and they are easy to read. More importantly, they tend to be useful. Writing a list post encourages you to jettison the fluff and just get to the point.
I have now used 15 minutes to write this first post, and it will be the hardest one I write. Only six more to go. I will update this post after I’m finished, and let you know how I did. (Note: I finished the entire week’s worth of blog posts with one minute and 55 seconds to spare!)
Question: what “tricks” do you use to write your blog posts more rapidly?