Last week, I was talking to a new friend about my online businesses when she asked, “How do you manage to get everything done?!” It’s a fair question – besides having a full-time writing gig and a few different online businesses, I also take several dance classes a week, volunteer and do my best to find time to spend out with my husband and our friends.
But her question caught me off guard – in part because being this busy has become second nature to me – and got me thinking. What one skill that I’ve developed has contributed the most to my business success so far?
And the interesting thing is that, for me, it isn’t the ability to write conversational-style writing, the keyword research skills I’ve learned that make my writing more effective, or even some sophisticated time management system that keeps me on track.
Honestly, the skill I value the most is being able to write fast. Crazy, right?!
Being able to write coherent content quickly means that I can take on more freelance writing clients, turn around articles faster and ultimately make more money, simply because I can express my thoughts in written form faster. It also cuts down my business expenses – and anyone who’s ever paid to outsource content creation can understand why!
I was hugely fortunate to develop this skill while running an agency-style content creation business towards the beginning of my web writing career. When you’ve got 100+ website articles to crank out in a week, you learn how to synthesize information quickly and slap it down on a page coherently – otherwise, you’re going to be dealing with some very unhappy clients!
But you don’t need to run a web content agency or plow through 2,000+ articles just to increase your writing speed. With a few simple adjustments and a little practice, you can dramatically improve the amount of time you spend writing content.
Here’s How to Do It
1. Start with good research sources. If you’re writing content in a niche you know well, you might not need to do any research before you begin writing, but for the sake of this article, I’m assuming you’re writing on a topic you don’t know well.
Go to Google and search for information on your article topic. Then, read through the first three reputable pages you come across. Now, close your browser window and think through everything you’ve read. Jot down three main points, and then imagine yourself explaining what you’ve learned to a friend.
2. Use your three main points as the basis for your article. One of the easiest content structures in the world to write is, “Introduction, Main Point 1, Main Point 2, Main Point 3, Conclusion.” Write your article using this structure and the same tone of voice you used when you imagined sharing your new knowledge with a friend. Don’t censor yourself at this point, or worry about spelling or grammar – just focus on getting the information down on the page as quickly as possible.
3. Revise your content. Once you’ve written the entire article in your own voice, go back through and make any spelling or grammar corrections necessary. When you’re first getting started, you might also find it helpful to read your content out loud, as this will help you catch any clunky wording or sentences that don’t flow correctly.
4. Practice and track your results. Perhaps the most important piece of advice in this entire article is that if you want to get better at writing quickly, you’ve got to practice, practice, practice! Seriously, the more you write, the faster and easier the entire process becomes.
In addition, while you’re writing all of this content, it’s a good idea to track what’s working for you and what isn’t. If you’re writing content articles for a website, keep an eye on which articles get the most traffic. Or, if you’re submitting your articles to an article directory, use a directory that allows you to see how many views each of your articles receive. If one of your pages performs significantly better than others, try to understand what makes that page special and incorporate that lesson into your future writing.
Like any new skill, writing quickly takes time to learn and repeated practice to perfect. However, if your experience is anything like mine, I think you’ll find the effort you put into developing this skill to be well worth your time.
So what do you think? Do you have any other advice on how to write content quickly?
Great insights! Are you going to do a post on key word skills? I’m confused as to how to use key words. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different modes of hobby writing. I’m beginning to get a feel for writing posts and guest posts. Two of the sites I submitted to said that they loved my posts and thought they were very creative. I’ve also been trying to study the writing pattern on each site and modify my writing while keeping my voice. As I said in my other comment, I would love to make some extra money writing posts : )
Yep – I can definitely get an article going on keyword research and usage. Keep an eye out for it in the next few weeks 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Thanks! Looking forward to it : )
Just exactly what I need. I usually write without structuring the points I want to emphasize – making writing difficult to start and end. This is a gem find for me. I’ll follow your advice and look forward to be like you someday. I can’t wait….
Thanks so much – glad you found the info helpful!
My Parkinson’s Law corollary to this post is, “Work expands to fill all the time available for its completion”. Thus, if you shrink the time you allot for you work, you will actually become more efficient. Allot only three hours for a work project, and you will actually complete it in the space of three hours. However, if you allot the same work project six hours of time to complete, then it will actually take you six hours to complete. Thanks Sarah!
Great point, Halina – Parkinson’s Law is soooo applicable here! I’m still guilty of not always setting the strictest deadlines I could, but it’s something that I’m always working on improving.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Sheila, would this keyword post be helpful to you? https://writeyourrevolution.com/the-content-writers-guide-to-seo-keywords/
So which dance classes are you taking? I’m taking lindy hop 🙂
I also pride myself on being able to write fast, as well as being filled with a burning ache to write. These two also sometimes tend to get me in trouble, though. I’ve been suffering from nerve entrapment (in my wrists) -all complements of spending way too much time on the keyboard.
But worry not, I have learned the importance of regular breaks and healthier work environments:)
Yes, breaks are important. Hope you’re able to get your wrists taken care of!
As for dance, I’ve been belly dancing for about 10 years and taking hip hop classes for the last four (although I’m still amazingly bad at hip hop…). How cool that you’re trying Lindy Hop 🙂
Thanks. I’m trying to rest as much as possible.
10 years! Wow. That sounds a lot of fun. And very dedicated:) It has been about 2-3 years for me.
Hopefully I’ll be back to my fast days soon…
Thanks! I loved the advice. Now I am back to writing.
I have my own website, but I have only just started writing content. Your insights answered the question I’ve been asking since I began this venture.
I’ll stay tuned for more valuable advice – Thank you so much.
When I was working for one of those dreaded content mills the secret to writing faster was focus. If I shut off all social media, phone, and played music with no lyrics…I could zoom through multiple articles.
Of course, I wasn’t able to do that on a regular basis, but when I did, WOW it was great.
Now my strategy for writing more quickly is both focus and also trying to be more succinct and concise (probably I should just pick one of those words, eh?) (and stop with the parenthetical asides)(sic). My blog posts average about 1000 words; Seth Godin does it in 300 or less. I’d like to be able to blog faster so that I could concentrate more on paying articles/stories.
I’ve been writing but my speed seems not to improve.
You have great timing Sarah, I need this, and I need it now. 🙂
Thanks for sharing.
The “Three Main Points” tip works like a charm. Actually sometimes when I’ m struggling to come up with an intro or topic I’ll actually just tackle the first of the 3 points that I feel comfortable with and write the article in reverse.
When writers block happens just write anything at all and sculpt it later 🙂