Making plans and keeping ahead of the game is always good, but I find that plans don’t always work out. I’m sure you’re with me. Sometimes you run out of steam and fall behind. It happens to us all.
Especially if you’re just starting out as a blogger, you might be struggling as well as straggling. Here’s what works for me when I have distractions and time limitations wrapped around me like a boa constrictor, a creature who tends to make writing difficult.
Step 1. Headline. Always start here. The headline is your diving board; the way you jump off effects the way you hit the water. It’s your prompt, your promise to your reader, and it should be the capsulation of all the thought you’re about to put into your blog post.
Step 2. Outline. This helps so much. Don’t dive in with your eyes close. Pause, take a few moments to visualize. I know you’re impatient to jump in, I’m the same way, but you have to pause, take a deep breath, and make a plan. Spit your ideas out on paper like a politician spits out promises. Now gather those ideas, line them up neatly, and you have yourself an outline. This is your biggest time-saving technique.
Step 3. Write. Ready? Take one more breath, now jump. Now that you’re in the air, every second counts. Each movement has to be fluid as you go from form to form. Start writing and don’t stop. Don’t look back, but focus on each and every move as you make it, then move on to the next. Just remember you’re a writer, not a diver, and if you get stuck, you can move on and come back later.
Step 4. Revise. For me, this mostly means going over the draft for spelling mistakes, grammatical issues, awkward wording, etc. Sometimes I’ll find a better way to explain a thought, or new ideas will hit me and I’ll fold them in. I also try to trim down a bit on excess wordiness. But that’s about it, and revision should be a very short part of the process.
Step 5. Emphasize. When my blog post is ready, all I need to do now is go over and make a few highlights. I’ve written the post, read it over, and I am at the highest point of understanding what I just wrote. This is when my thoughts are best collected, and for me this is the best time to end on a high note. I add one more paragraph, usually just a short sentence, to the end, capturing the theme of the post in a compact, pithy capsulation that will stick with my reader.
And voila! Get that post on the internet then sit back, relax, take a breather. It is done.
Here are a few more tips that will help you along the way and speed up the process even more:
Tip 1. Quality over quantity. Always, always, always. Most bloggers will tell you to let yourself go wild in the first draft, but what if you’re a perfectionist like me, and you can’t bring yourself to do that? Then you don’t! You’re a writer, and no real writer lets anyone else tell them how to write. I find if I really focus myself, I can produce quality and quantity at the same time, and when revision comes around it’s just a fine-tuning.
Tip 2. Channel your emotion. You’re a writer, so you’ll probably understand that you are highly influenced by your emotions. Call it the artistic temperament, it’s the strength that gives power to our writing. Why should blogging be any different? If I’m stressed about getting a blog post written as fast as possible, it makes me tense. Some would say, Relax! I say, Are they crazy? This tension is your power. Don’t let it frustrate you, let it impassion you. It’ll lend you an extra boost of strength, and it will always show in your words.
Tip 3. Keep it simple. When it comes to blogging, less is more. Keep it short. If you’re really trying to squeeze out a blog post as fast as possible, make sure your topic isn’t too complex. When it’s a complicated topic, be concise. Outline, organize your thoughts, and focus on your topic. Above all else, focus.
You’ll do more than write a great blog post, you’ll write it quickly. Depending on the length and depth of your post, the whole process should take around half an hour, sometimes a little less, maybe a little more.
The important thing to remember is that you’re a writer. A blog is just another form of storytelling. Focus your thoughts, focus your emotions, focus: it’s what you always do.