Overwhelmed by content – time yourself

from Annette 

Whenever I have a bulk of content looming over me, say a month’s worth of blog posts or a couple of free reports I want to give away next month, the best way to get it done is to set a time limit for each piece.

For example, let’s say you need to get a month’s worth of blog posts written today.  Perhaps your schedule is to post twice a week so that’s 8-10 blog posts to write.  Ideally you don’t want to spend the entire day writing.  1 hour per blog post and your day is gone.

What about 30 minutes per post – think that’s doable?  That would mean your content is complete in 4-5 hours.  Not too bad.  I recommend challenging yourself even more and setting a time limit of 5 minutes per post.

Gasp!  Sounds ridiculous, right?

Here’s how to get it done:

Step One:  Spend ten to fifteen minutes outlining your posts.  Give each post a title and pose it as a question to answer.   For example, this post could have been titled -How do I write a blog post in 5 minutes?  Under your question write three points you’re going to make to answer.  Spend no more than 2 minutes per post – you’re just jotting down main points here.

Step Two:  Gather your supplies.  You’ll need a timer.  I use my Timex running watch because I can set the alarm to go off every five minutes and it repeats without me having to touch it.  You’ll need your outlines either in front of you on a piece of paper or on separate documents on your computer.  If you’re writing in a notebook then you’ll need a pen and paper and if you’re writing straight to your computer then turn it on.

Step Three:  Push start on the timer.  Look at your first title and start writing, start answering that question.  Don’t self edit, don’t spell check and don’t delete or scribble things out.  Just write. Write until you’re done or your timer alarm is sounding.  Chances are, if you’re writing as the thoughts are coming to you, not editing, and not staring out the window at the pigeons fighting on the fence, you’ve written at least 500 words.

Step Four:  Repeat the process with each blog post until you’ve made it through your list of topics.

Assuming you started with 10 topics and giving yourself 10 extra minutes to warm up your coffee or stretch, you’ve now spent an hour writing your monthly blog posts but you’re not done yet.  Your next step is to clean them up.  If you’ve written straight to your computer you can now go through and run spell-check.  Read each sentence and paragraph to make sure they make sense and back up your main theme.  Write a sentence or two to wrap up the article and move onto the next one.  This process should take no more than 10 minutes per article – preferably less.

If you wrote to a notebook first then the act of typing the content will clean up the majority of your spelling and grammar issues.

Why write in a rush?  When we don’t leave room for editing and doubt and simply write with the intention of getting our thoughts down on paper our writing is typically better.  It’s conversational, shows our personality, and doesn’t get bogged down with pretense.

At the end of the day if you’re able to write 10 articles in about 2.5 hours, writing and editing time combined, it’s worth the time savings right?  Give it a try – you may be surprised to find you not only saved yourself several hours but your writing just improved too.

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