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The Productivity Strategy for Writing I Guarantee You WON’T Try

The Productivity Strategy for Writing I Guarantee You WON’T Try


    With a bold headline like that, you might think it would be easy to “cop out” and give you a ridiculous strategy that would be stupid to try. Instead, I’m going to give you a strategy will do three things to your writing:

    1. It will make it part of the top 1% of the best writing online
    2. It will make people sit up and listen to you
    3. It will generate more action than any other writing you’ve done

    What’s this fancy new secret, you ask? 

    Here it is: write everything at least three times.

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    I can almost hear the groaning and complaining. You thought I was going to hand you a “magic bullet” of blogging and productivity strategy; one that will immediately–and without an once of real work–shoot your efforts to the moon.

    You might wonder how super-producers like Danny Iny can craft such compelling, thorough content, literally churning it out at inhuman speeds. Chances are he’s gotten to that point by practicing: literally writing, rewriting, and rewriting some more.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic bullet. However, this strategy does need to be examined just a bit more.

    First, let me give you the “three-step” process I’m talking about:

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    1. Write. As in “free-writing.” Unhindered, brainstorming-like, free-flowing thought. No editing allowed.
    2. Write again. This time around, work on taking out words like “very,” “really,” and many instances of the words “that” and “so.” Chop 10% off of the total word count.
    3. Write one more time. Think your work’s ready to be sent out the door? Think again. I rewrote my first novel about four times, and that was easy–it was all made-up. If you’re writing a blog post, article, or anything worthy of anyone else’s eyes, give them the benefit of your best work.

    You may not like the idea of writing everything thrice (I knew I’d use the word thrice some day in a blog post!), but let me assure you:

    Your writing will improve drastically, and quickly. 

    And that is the secret of this technique: While the initial process is time-intensive, counter-productive, and sometimes downright hard, you’ll notice that the more you implement these steps, the quicker your writing will improve.

    Eventually, you won’t need to follow the formula every time. The words will flow, your thoughts will magically orient themselves into an organized stream of outline-worthy notes, and the overall feel of your style and clarity will shine through.

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    Until then, though, give us all the benefit of working through your copy at least three times before you publish it!

    One final strategy.

    Lastly, if it’s really bothering you to chop up your content that many times, “trick” yourself into it by using this writing/productivity method:

    • Write first in a minimalistic editor, like OmmWriter, or Byword.
    • Then, copy/paste the text into a second editor–something like Evernote–that lets you add in links and additional notes.
    • Finally, paste the content into a “real” text editor, like Microsoft Word or Pages, for final editing/publishing.

    I know most of you won’t try this–that’s why I wrote a headline like that. Many people will continue pushing “Submit” on half-finished content, eventually burning out from a lack of an audience. But to me, that’s good news.

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    The fewer people there are truly striving for the best writing they can produce, the less competition there is for guys like me!

    (Photo credit: Fountain Pen and Notebook via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Nick Thacker

    Nick is a novelist and founder of Sonata & Scribe. He shares productivity hacks on Lifehack.

    7 Ways to Leverage Your Time to Increase Your Productivity How to Maintain a Blog AND a Full-Time Job Why I Write Using a Minimal Text Editor Why You Should Be a Writer The Amazing Secret Behind All Habits

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    1 10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck 2 Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating 3 7 Simple Ways To Be Famous In One Year 4 How To Feel Happier (10 Scienece-Backed Ways) 5 31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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