Here is my favorite method for increasing your writing speed without sacrificing quality. In fact, this method may actually help you create higher quality, more organized, better flowing posts.
Many bloggers don’t realize writing is a two step process.
Both are needed to create a quality piece of content. However, if you try to do both at the same time, you’ll get bogged down. Your mind is less efficient when it’s multitasking.
If you think about it, creating and editing are quite different tasks.
The creating process is where you come up with raw ideas. This often happens in the weirdest moments. You could be eating, driving, or taking a shower when you think of a blog post you think your audience would love.
In this step, the most important thing to aim for is quantity not quality. All the ideas you think of may not be that great. If you’ve ever thought of a good idea and then started writing and realized it wasn’t so good, you know what I’m talking about. Therefore, come up with a lot of ideas for your post before moving on.
You’ll evaluate and organize your ideas during the editing stage. For now, you just want a lot of raw content to work with. The more content, the better.
The editing process is where you prune, organize, and reword your ideas to create a quality post.
In this step, delete ideas that don’t support your main point. Prune sentences with unnecessary words. Rephrase unclear sentences. Spell and grammar check. Add other ideas as they come to mind. And organize the post so it flows logically.
Practical Ways of Separating the Two Steps
Write a sh**ty first draft. Here’s mine for this blog post. Read this classic essay by Anne Lamott. She destroys the myth that world class writers create perfect first drafts. She writes:
For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really sh**ty first drafts.
Separate yourself into two identities, one is the idea generator and one is the editor. Every time you feel like editing during the creating step, tell the editor not to interrupt the idea generator until he’s finished generating ideas.
Don’t hit the backspace or delete key until you write at least 400 words.
Close your eyes or cover the screen while you type. It’s hard to edit when you can’t see the words 🙂
Write your blog post in list format. It doesn’t even need to have complete sentences. Just a list. Once you’ve got a lot of list items, then start fleshing out complete sentences and editing.
Brainstorm. Get a pen and paper and write down anything that comes to mind about your post – phrases, sentences, bullet points. Fill at least half the page before editing.
Why This Method Works
As with many things, the most important thing is to get started.
By putting the editing process off until you have some raw content, you force yourself to take that small step of writing the first couple of words. You may not even use those words but those words will give you momentum to write more words. And then, those words lead to more words.
Soon, you’re in the zone and the words are flowing more naturally. Most importantly, you’ll have enough content to make the editing step worthwhile.