Good writing takes time. Yes, there are many resources out there to help you become a faster writer. A tip I have heard is to just type, as quickly as possible, without editing as you go along, just to get the words on the page, then go back and edit your writing. The important thing is to not do the editing as you go because you can end up getting distracted or obsessed with just one sentence. The back and forth of writing a sentence, deleting it, writing a different sentence, and on and on is torture. This can make it seem like just a simple paragraph takes FOREVER!
Then there are the distractions. Writing requires 100% focused attention. You can’t be writing and checking email and scrolling Twitter. Even just a ping from your phone can pull you away from your writing for hours (I am completely speaking from experience here!). It’s incredibly easy to get lost and pulled away from what you had originally intended to write.
If you allow yourself to be distracted, that adds even more time to your writing process. So, what do you do? You need to create content, you need to write SOMETHING, but how do you carve out the time? Here are some of my tips for finding the time and getting the writing DONE:
Butt in chair. With some situations, you have to just do it. There is no messing around, you have to write. You are on a deadline, you have to complete something NOW, so the only way to really do it is to sit your butt in the chair and write. It’s not fun, it takes discipline, but maybe you can reward yourself with an ice cream after? I won’t tell anyone, I promise!
Start from the middle or the end. Sometimes, I write the first sentence of an article 20x. It just doesn’t seem right. I write and delete, write and delete. If you seem to be wasting time getting started, why not just write the middle first? No one has ever said you need to write in order. Frequently, I know what I want to say, I just don’t know exactly how I want to start. Once I write the middle of the article, the beginning seems to come to me much easier.
Write in short bursts. The human mind can only be productive and focus for so long. Many writers use 20 or 40-minute bursts of productivity to help crank out articles. Start with 20 minutes, write as much as you can, then walk away. Go get a glass of water or just wander around for a minute. Then come back to your task after 10 minutes or so (set a timer for how long your break is). Working in bursts actually helps people be more productive in the long-run.
Close all internet tabs and put your phone away. I am guilty of being easily distracted by pings from my phone or seeing notifications pop up in one of my many open internet tabs. If I want to write, I close all of the tabs and put my phone somewhere out of reach. I, unfortunately, can’t turn my phone off completely, as I have an infant son who is usually at daycare, but I can at least keep it out of reach so I have to get up to check it.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is just to realize writing is not the best use of your time. It takes a lot of energy and effort to crank out good, quality content. So, why not outsource it? Why spend your time, hitting your head against the wall, writing the same sentence over and over, when you can put it in the hands of a professional who actually enjoys it?
Writing because of the focus it requires is definitely challenging and in this busy world.Even for a professional writer, it is hard to find the time and energy to do it well. It’s important to work on writing as a skill, but why not get a little help too?
*Full disclosure, I got distracted from this post because of Facebook and email approximately 3x while writing it. No one is immune!