How to write good content quickly (and why you really do need to outline).

I’m a recovering perfectionist. I could spend days, weeks even, perfecting a post. Moving commas here and there and shifting paragraphs around.

Now I use strategies that allow me to consistently produce content that is useful for readers.

Whether it’s for your email list or for your blog, you can speed up the writing process and still create content that adds value and that your audience wants to read.

1. Write about what you know 

This may seem obvious, but one way you can ensure that your content will be engaging and useful is if you write about something you know well.

Don’t be afraid of sharing your own learning process. Readers don’t want to be intimidated by your knowledge; they will want to know the mistakes you have made and the steps you took to overcome your blocks.

2. Plan content in advance

One sure way to speed you the writing process is to know what you are going to write about before you sit down at your keyboard. You can plan out topics and working titles to suit your business goals or the action you want your readers to take.

Then when it comes time to sit down to write, the writing itself is so much easier because you’ll have already done the bulk of the thinking. 

If I’m working on a longer piece of work that I don’t finish in one sitting, then at the end of every session, I add to my ‘parking on a downhill’ document. This document tells me exactly where I finished in the previous session and what I’ll start writing the next day.

3. Write an outline

I used to have a romantic notion about waiting for inspiration to strike and then just letting the words flow. While this can be fun and freeing, I would spend so much time going back through what I had written to find ‘gems’ and then organising these into some sort of logical flow, that I never seemed to get anything out the door.

Now,  I prefer to start by writing a promise and a title. That way, I know what the point of the piece is, and what I want readers to learn or get from it.

I’ll then outline the points that will help my readers to get there with one or two word headings. These headings can be tweaked afterwards for subheadings for a chapter or a  blog posts.

For this post, I started with the following rough outline:

blogpost-outline
Outline your writing to speed up the writing process.

Once the outline is done, writing is so much easier. Having a clear outline also means that you can complete sections of writing in small pockets of time.

Planning to allow yourself these small wins will do wonders for your motivation!

4. Separate writing, editing and proofreading

Rather than spending the first 20 minutes of every session going back through what you wrote the day before and trying to perfect every sentence, get the content down first.

Leave the stylistic changes until the end. Once you’ve finished writing, look at editing the text. Do you need to move sections around?  Do you need to delete sections?

Once you’ve got the content in a logical order and deleted anything that’s irrelevant, you can go back through and make stylistic changes. 

Tweak the flow of the text on the sentence level, make sure you have the right words and check spelling, punctuation and grammar.

5. Set a timer

We concentrate best in small blocks of time. I like to set my timer for 25 minutes and write. During this time I will ignore all distractions where possible (the phone can wait, the emails, the research for a point I’m making and hopefully the kids).

It’s amazing what you can  achieve in 25 minutes if you concentrate fully. For me, four focused 25-minute blocks of work can be better than trying to concentrate for 8 hours.  

Stopwatch-write in short bursts
Why sit at the screen all day when you can just do two focused hours and get the same result?

So there you have itmy top tips for writing good content quickly.

Know your subject, plan and outline your content, focus, and remember—it doesn’t need to be perfect to add value, but it does need to be useful.

What are your tips for creating content quickly without compromising quality? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.

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