A few weeks ago a reader asked me how in the world I research and write so many articles day after day. I was taken aback because I don’t feel like I am overly prolific.
Stephen King. Now, he’s a beast behind the keyboard!
When you step back and realize I write five or six days a week, six to twelve hours each day, the words add up! If you look at my social media feeds and constantly see new articles popping in, I’m sure it seems like I’m chained to my keyboard, but I’m not. I promise!
Update: Hello from 2022! This post was originally written and published in 2017. My output and workflow are much different these days. I no longer put in 12-hour days — ever. Over the years I’ve worked hard to increase my writing rates and decrease my working hours. Ok, continue on!
I’m fortunate that writing is my full-time career and devote the bulk of each day to my work. Since it is my daily focus, I treat it as professionally as I have any other job I’ve worked. Here’s a peek inside my writing process.
Disclosure: This blog is reader-supported, which means this post contains affiliate links and advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you amazing content. Thank you! ~Angela
Writers: 6 Tips for Scaling Your Content Production
1. Keep an idea log. There are many, many times when I need to pitch a client or put together a post for one of my own websites, and have no idea what to write about. This is when I thumb through my idea notebook and see what catches my eye. As a writer, you’ll find that even a snippet of an idea or a phrase can help guide you in the right direction when you’re feeling stumped.
If you don’t have an idea notebook, browse Twitter using a hashtag related to your writing topic. See what’s being written and chatted about online for a bit of inspiration.
2. Schedule your writing time. You will never get to it if you don’t make it a priority. I put my writing tasks on Google Calendar and those time slots are every bit as important as a doctor appointment, class at the yoga studio or night out with friends.
Give your writing a specific time slot in your day, even if it’s only for an hour, then put your butt in that chair. Brainstorming and typing anything is better than avoiding the task altogether.
3. Never write start to finish. I used to think that writing a blog post was a one-and-done project. It was basically two steps: sit down and write. Well, over the years I can tell you that the articles I’ve written in one sitting garnered the most revision requests from editors and were not nearly as strong as articles composed over multiple writing sessions. (More on that in a moment.)
However, if the words are flowing, never stop writing. If you complete a full draft in one sitting, that’s fabulous. My point here is not to start, finish and submit or publish a piece all in one continuous chunk of time.
4. Break your writing into segments. I’ve found that my writing is more polished and comprehensive when completed in pieces. This method makes me focus on a specific task, rather than the project as a whole (even if it is only 400 words) and ensures that I look at it with a fresh set of eyes at least once.
I don’t know about you, but anything I write on a Friday afternoon after a busy week isn’t nearly as strong as say Monday afternoon! So, this method ensures that your writing gets the full, fresh attention is deserves since it gets worked on over multiple days.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the various segments I’ll schedule for each article:
- General brainstorming, headline writing and subhead writing
- Basic research, conduct interviews, find sources, make an outline
- Create a messy rough draft without worries about typos or grammar
- Polish that thing until it shines
- Read it once again, then publish or submit to a client.
5. Make writing a habit. You’ve heard this a million times regarding exercise and eating healthy, but making writing part of your routine also makes it easier.
When something is easy, you can sail through it with more confidence and enjoyment, which means it gets done faster and you can ultimately do more.
If writing isn’t your full-time gig, give it a set time slot in your week, then stick to it. Saturday morning. Tuesday evenings. It doesn’t matter when, as long as you make it your go-to writing time.
6. Just start typing. You’re probably surprised to hear that I also procrastinate. I’ll wash dishes, fold laundry, walk the dogs and bake cupcakes to avoid starting on that draft that’s due tomorrow because I’m worried my ideas aren’t quite fleshed out yet.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just started typing with full intentions to go back and delete the introduction or get rid of whole sections because I feel like I’m not focused enough. Sometimes I delete. Sometimes I don’t.
Once your fingers start moving across the keyboard, just keep going. Editing was invented for a reason. My typos are abundant and I dump ideas without much attention to structure or formatting in my first drafts. They are truly ugly.
If you put all of these tips together, you will write more blog posts in a shorter amount of time. The hard part is implementation. Start out with one or two of these ideas and work your way up!
My friends are surprised to learn that I write anywhere from 12-15 articles (of varying research levels and lengths) each week using this method, but I’m proof that it works!
Update: Hey, 2022 me here again. I’ve learned that content switching is SO mentally draining on the brain. Check the book Deep Work by Cal Newport if you want to learn more. I no longer write 12-15 articles per week. It’s a recipe for brain fog and ultimately burnout. Current me in 2022 writes 4-6 articles per week and still earns a full-time income.
Write on, my friend! ~Angela
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Note: This post was last updated on August 22, 2022.