4 Ways to Start Writing More Content While Spending Less Time on It

How to Write MoreCompleting an article comes down to two stages – first you create the concept and then you turn that concept into words, sentences and paragraphs…

The tips I will be sharing today will focus on the second element.

And although I strongly believe that creating the initial idea is tougher than writing the post, there are some tips and tricks that can maximize the effectiveness of the latter…

So, if you are searching for a way to improve your writing productivity i.e. start writing more while spending less of your precious time, you might want to take a look at the ideas I share and overview in the below lines!

Why Write More in the First Place?


Now some of you are probably wondering, why should they actually be writing more and how will that be beneficial to them.

There is more than one way to answer that question, but one of the most important things is that the more you write per day, the easier it is to keep writing. That simple fact is allowing me to complete more articles in a shorter period of time, which results in a more frequent blog posting schedule and hence more traffic. That way I also have time to start writing guest articles – an essential ingredient to search engine optimization.

So to achieve this, you need more than to simply start writing more. You also need to write productively and here’s how: 

1. Start by Creating a Checklist


I really love checklists. I have found those an awesome way to keep track of all of my blogging and social media tasks. Using Sticky Notes is my preferred way for creating those kinds of checklists (take a look at my post Using Sticky Notes to Improve Blogging Productivity).

And in order to improve your writing productivity and start publishing more often, you need a plan of some sort – that is what your checklist will consist of!

But what do you include? 

Using ChecklistsWell in order to start putting more effort towards writing, you need to know exactly what you will be writing and when you will be writing it.

With a task to complete and a deadline to chase, it is far more motivating to start writing, than if you were only told you should write.

The above screenshot is how my checklist looks like. The deadline as you can see is in the brackets – that is when the two articles in the numbered list should be completed. It is useful to add additional information (such as WIP (work in progress), Image Required, Proofreading, etc) to remind you which elements of the articles you’ve completed and which you haven’t yet tackled.

Additionally I would highly recommend you to install the Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin. The plugin visualizes your blog posts in a calendar-like layout, which makes it easier to track progress.

2. Use a Stopwatch for Maximum Focus


Distractions are one big problem for all writers…

It might be that whenever you start writing, someone starts chatting to you, it might be that you recall having something important to do or whatever. The fact is that often times there are those small things that are making it impossible for you to focus on your actual work.

So, how do you tackle that problem?

One approach that I found fairly effective is using a stopwatch or a countdown timer. The rule is once you turn the stopwatch on you don’t do anything else accept to write. The time interval is up to you to decide, but I wouldn’t recommend anything less than 40 minutes (I personally set it up to one hour). Time flies really fast when you start writing.

Once you put this method to the test, you will see that in 40 minutes you can write an upward of 400-500 words – something that is hardly possible if you write a little, do something else, write again and do something else.

That is the countdown timer I prefer to use. It’s not the greatest of design but it does the job quite well.

This approach resembles the purpose of using Sticky Notes. By setting yourself a deadline or a time-frame, you take the task at hand more seriously and you don’t allow your mind to wander as much as it would otherwise.

3. Don’t Write All at Once


Say you’ve been writing for 30 minutes. The stopwatch shows that you still have ten more minutes to go, but you already feel totally burnt out. In that situation should you keep writing?

The answer is no…

What you can do instead is cut your work-flow into two or three separate stages throughout the day. There’s really no point in forcing yourself to write when you don’t feel like continuing. Even if you do, you probably won’t be happy with the outcome once you start proofreading and you will have to start over.

Remember – it’s best to write when the words come naturally i.e. when you don’t have to stop every thirty seconds to think of something “suitable” to write next.

4. Step Away from Your Computer


That is a crucial yet often neglected step. Computers and Internet are part of our daily lives – there is no denying. However it can be very challenging to stay on track and publish quality content if all you’ve been doing this day is to stay in front of your computer.

Even if you are doing different things on the PC, you are still sitting on that same chair for hours and hours straight. The brain simply can’t take that – it needs diversity.

Taking a break from your work doesn’t refer to simply stopping for fifteen minutes only to play some Free Cell. A real break is one where you actually get off of your computer, laptop or whatever device you are using.

For maximum productivity I would highly suggest that you don’t spend more than an hour – hour and a half of continues work on your computer. Step away, do some exercises, read a book, take a walk… We aren’t living our lives in the cyber-world after all.

Let me Hear What You Think!


The above tips are pretty much the ones that I’ve found to be of most help for me. I would really recommend you to start following them and see for yourself if they work.

Now it’s your turn folks!

What other techniques have you tried? How much articles are you publishing weekly? Are you happy with the results?

Let me know in the comments section!

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  1. Very helpful Daniel. I am a newby & picking up lots of tips from you and others, be interested to hear what you think about my blog?

  2. I like your blog because it is unassuming and practical. A lot of writers want to make writing seem like nuclear science…great content is challenging but the trick is always discipline.

  3. Some interesting ideas you have here to improve writing. I like the idea of using stop watch. I will be using this whenever I am going to writing a new article. Moreover I do agree with this “It is best to write when the words come naturally”.

  4. Hey daniel another nice post indeed…I will start using a stopwatch from now on and yes I do take breaks when I feel tired to write..thx for the valuable tips :-)

  5. These are some great tips! I like that you included the tip about stepping away from the computer. I’m guilty of working for hours at a time at the computer. Your body just becomes tired and your eyes sore if you stay on the computer too long. Exercising is great and is something that I try to fit in a few times a week because it gets you away from the computer, keeps your body healthy and reduces stress.

    Making a checklist is great too. I’ve done it a few times and I have to say, I feel like those articles/blog posts always come out better than others.

  6. Steps 3 and 4 have proven effective for me. The posts/articles continue to accumulate in my folder of drafts. This is not to say all the articles are completed, but if the information is not on a trending subject, I find some of my articles have been in the works for more than 2 months. By the way, Scrivener is my tool of choice for the computer. A regular notebook when I am walking about. Ahh, I should not leave the help of my smartphone.

  7. Hi Daniel,

    This is an excellent article! You’re spot on in that most writers struggle from time to time with creating content. It’s important to find ways around those blocks, and I like your suggestions.

    I’ve actually started using an outline for my blog posts. I’ve shifted the focus of my blog, and with that change I’ve already diagramed my posts for the next two weeks. From there I’ve started outlines for each post and have several of those done. I’ve found it makes it a ton easier to write each individual post. The time spent doing the outlines saves twice as much when I sit down to actually write, and my words tend to flow much better at that point.

    Thanks for the great suggestions. I’ll be implementing a few of the others as well. I hope you have a truly outstanding week!

    ~Barry

  8. Besides what you recommend Daniel I find it useful to use the artistic creative concept. That is when an idea strikes you for an article start to make notes on that thought or actually sit down and start the article while you are in the brainstorm with the concept in mind.

  9. I’m a marketing copywriter, and I also have my own blog that I update 1-2 times weekly…I’ve found that with my own writing, I have to just sit down and free-write until I can’t think any more–and then I go back and read through until I can figure out what story I was trying to tell. Then I refine from there.

    With copywriting, however, I’ve taken up two new methods: 1) closing the computer, and 2) mind mapping.

    I started writing all of my drafts and thoughts on legal pads. There are no distractions on a white piece of paper (unless you’re a doodler!). There is also no “delete” button, so I have to keep moving forward, and I can go back and re-read initial ideas when I start to get stuck.

    I also love mind-mapping. I’m a visual person, so I need pictures to help me create and understand relationships. I’m still new at it, so I’m just testing the waters, but it’s really helped on the articles I’ve written thus far….

  10. Hi Daniel,

    These are really great tips. I tend to do my writing as quickly as possible. I don’t edit until I have everything down and then I make it looks pretty, do a bit of SEO , add pictures and syndicate it.

    Great blog you have, hope to connect with you some time. I’m hosting a blog post challenge at the moment so I know there will be a lot of bloggers that will welcome this.

    Beth :)

  11. Hi Daniel

    Being a copywriter I tend to write for 2-3 hours at a time, sometimes more. (It’s the way I work, especially when working for clients on a deadline.) Also, when I’m on a train of thought it’s hard to stop, or I’ll lose flow. But I hear ya regarding distractions!! Especially social media!! Arrrgh… lol

    Great post as always Daniel. Checklist? Wow, that’s way too organised for me haha!

    Cheers!
    Lil

    • Hey Lillian,

      Yeas, it’s really great once you start writing and you feel the inspiration and the words just start flowing. And yeah, a checklist might seem a step too far, but it is actually giving me a huge helping hand to avoid those nasty distractions.

      Thanks for stopping by Lillian, hope you are doing well! :)
      Daniel

  12. Praveen Soni says:

    Hello Daniel Sharkov,
    Writing more content while spending less time is a challenging task in the blogosphere. With the above points we can write more content, I can say that I agree with all your points like to create a checklist before starting a week, keep away from distractions etc. Daniel we can install Zenwriter it will provide us distraction free writing so we can create more content, what would you like to say?
    Thanks for sharing ;)

    • Hey Praveen,

      Zenwriter… I haven’t heard of that one, but I might check it out. What makes the tool different from other word processors?

      Cheers!
      Daniel

      • Praveen Soni says:

        This is a tool which allow you to write your content without any distractions(GMail, Facebook etc). One of my friend told me about this tool, i am using it and found its very useful for me. you should also try this.
        Happy Weekend Daniel :)

        • Hi,

          I like ZenWriter, too – another tip is to use the full screen option that’s available on most word processors, including the WordPress visual editor – you can also use the F11 key to get full screen when you’re in many applications, including when you’re online – it’s great for minimizing distractions.

          As well as planning a list of posts ahead of time, just planning each post carefully in advance also makes the actual writing process quicker, I find.

          Thanks for a great post,

          Sue

          • Hey Sue,

            I do agree about using full screen – it’s indeed an awesome way to steer away from all kinds of distractions and just write. Planning does help as well. Some say spontaneity is important, but having the “wireframe” of the post prewritten is useful.

            Thanks for stopping by!
            Daniel