Productivity is huge in freelance writing and blogging. Like, make or break your business huge.
What a lot of people don’t often realize is that any freelance writer actually has a ton of stuff to do.
First and foremost, there’s the actual work: the article writing/blogging/copywriting.
Then, there are clients to email. Prospects to Skype. Sources to interview. Other freelancers to communicate with. Invoices to send. Finances to keep track of. Health insurance to pay. Personal marketing to do.
I hope you’re getting the picture.
When you become a freelancer, your productive cannot be equal to your productivity at a cushy 9 to 5-er.
Nope. If so, I guarantee that you’ll fail as a freelancer and be out on the street within a month.
In short, to succeed in your choice of career, your writing productivity needs to skyrocket – otherwise, you’ll have little/no time to manage all the other aspects of your business. You’ll have less time, but you will need to produce more output.
Don’t know how to be productive?
No worries there – I’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of 3 writing techniques that will catapult your productivity through the roof.
1. Start with an Outline
It’s simple, it’s basic, you’ve heard it a million times, and this writing technique simply works.
At first, creating an outline for each post you write seems counterintuitive. After all, you’re trying to get more done in less time, and adding an outline to your existing workload doesn’t seem like the smartest idea.
However, once you actually try creating an outline, and then writing your blog posts or pieces of copy according to it, your writing speed will explode.
You won’t be constantly thinking about what’s gonna come next in your post, because your outline will have it all written down in order.
Now remember: you don’t have to get too detailed in your outline (if you do get too much in-depth, you could potentially offset your writing speed gains with time loss).
Try a simple format like the following example:
A. Attention-grabbing first sentence, title.
2. Main point #1
3. Main point #2
B. Link to research supporting main point #2
That’s basically it. No more, no less.
Once you start doing it, you’ll get faster and faster at drafting your outlines. Eventually, you’ll probably be only spending 2-3 minutes per outline, and reaping huge writing speed gains, dramatically boosting your overall productivity.
2. Set Time-Goals for Yourself
Nothing makes people work harder and faster than a ticking clock.
Just knowing that you’ve got a limited amount of time will instantly put the slightest amount of pressure on you to get the job done. Contrary to popular opinion, a little bit of pressure (not too much, mind you) is a good thing for writers.
First, set an achievable goal for yourself.
E.g. I will get this 500-word blog post done in 2 hours.
Next, set a timer/stopwatch (preferably one that makes an audible sound when the time is up) for the amount of time you’ve set in your goal. In this case, 2 hours.
Lastly, write. And don’t stop writing.
Some bloggers renounce this writing technique, claiming that the pressure of a timer will decrease the overall quality of the content.
In some cases, for some writers (not all), that can be true. But keep in mind, “the first draft of anything is trash”. (Ernest Hemingway’s paraphrased words).
For most though, you’ll find that the pressure will actually serve to keep your mind more on edge. This will make you sharper and thereby help you to write an even better piece of content.
3. Don’t Interrupt Your First Draft
Your first draft (and blogging in general) is not so much about perfect grammar and spelling as it is about ideation and the flow of your thoughts.
That’s why I recommend not interrupting your first draft (in any way) while you’re writing it. When you sit down to write something, do the first draft in one sitting.
Of course, this isn’t feasible for 10,000-word long industry guides, white papers, and the like. But for the average blog post, this writing technique will boost your productivity like nobody’s business.
Every time you get up and interrupt your draft, you’re basically stopping your previously free-flowing stream of thoughts and concentrating on something else – whether that be making coffee, getting something at the grocery store, or phoning a friend.
That action basically derails your thought process and will make it more difficult (and more time-consuming) to get back on track with your draft.
Which of these productivity tips do you think will be most useful for you as you seek to scale your writing efficiency to new heights? Got any more writing techniques to add to the list? Let’s hear your voice in the comments!