Advertising
Advertising

8 Tricks to Writing Quickly

8 Tricks to Writing Quickly

Writing is an art but the productivity of it can be a science. Productivity can be measured in articles per hour or words per hour. The problem with that measure is the quality is equally important as the quantity. What we really want is great quality without taking too much time. It is a balance.

Google just released Penguin 4.0 which focusses on good content and strong sites (like Lifehack). This will increase the demand for truly good content.

Writing productivity is a function of the actual time spent on the article – not the total time. For example, it may take you a day to get the article completed but your time actually spent writing was only 40 minutes. The focus of this article is how to maximize the output for the actual time spent.

Advertising

The following are some ideas to help you write well and quickly. Use any one of them or a combination of them to create good content quickly:

1. Keep an idea file.

It can be anything as simple as an old-fashioned paper notebook to an electronic file. When an idea inspires, write it down. And as other thoughts about that idea happens – simply add them in. Include URLs or scanned reference articles if that is relevant. I have often found that an article will flow easily when I have the idea and a collection of sub-ideas around it.

2. Write as fast as you can.

When in flow, ideas just pour onto the page. The first draft can often be done in minutes. Then go back and edit your work.

Advertising

3. Use the leverage of having someone else read and suggest additions and edits.

The ideal partner for this is more than an editor or proofreader, it is someone who absorbs the actual content you have written and adds to the substance. Someone who contributes ideas.

4. Write perfectly the first time.

This is directly the opposite of the suggestion in 2 (above). The theory of this sort of perfection is it saves the editing time. Editing can be more time consuming than writing. Writing knowing you will always go back can make you lazy. Writing as if you will never go back can help you create better copy.

5. Start with a frame.

Write a few words on what each paragraph will say. Starting with this can allow you to see what the order and natural progression should be. With a frame, it is easier to flush things out. Research where you need to, add sub ideas and fill the article in.

Advertising

6. Plant the seed.

To some extent, having the idea file does this. Planting the seed of an article and leaving it for a few days will keep it working in the background. I often will see relevant materials because I know I am writing an article about it. Ideas about the article often come to me when I am not thinking about it.

7. Keep it short.

Readers like succinctness. 500 word articles are more likely to get read than 2,000-word articles. And often adding words is not adding to the value being offered.

8. Use bullet points or numbered lists like this article.

It allows ideas to be somewhat disjointed but still tied together. Bulleted articles are faster to write and faster to read. They also help the reader to focus on the key points.

Advertising

In the end, though, quality always trumps quantity. Sacrificing quality for the sake of time is never a good trade-off. Google Penguin knows this and so do people.

Your goal in writing should always be to add value to the reader. That is what true quality writing does.

More by this author

Jim Estill

CEO - Danby Appliances

8 Tricks to Writing Quickly

Trending in Communication

1The Gentle Art of Saying No 217 Ted Talks for Kids to Inspire Little Minds to Do Big Things 310 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of 4Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 5Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

Advertising

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

Advertising

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

Advertising

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Advertising

Read Next