Since recently re-opening my coaching practice, I’ve had lots of conversations with writers, bloggers, influencers and content creators. One of the biggest issues I’ve seen among many of them is the inability to write faster.
More specifically, I find that they are wasting their time in a myriad of ways instead of actually putting the content out there. This inhibits your ability to get your marketing out, take on more client work and actually move the needle with your branding.
Since this seems to be an extremely common issue, I figured I’d share some of my tips on how content creators can write faster so they can earn more money.
1. Stop being a perfectionist.
Perfectionism kills your ability to make money. Period.
Granted, this doesn’t mean you should put shoddy work out there. What it does mean is you need to stop wasting hours agonizing over the use of one word. Quite frankly, 99.9 percent of people won’t even notice.
There’s a reason why the old saying “Done is better than perfect” rings true. It’s because most people use perfectionism as a means of procrastination.
2. Value yourself more.
Since I just mentioned perfectionism is a block to being able to write faster, it’s only fair that I dive into why perfection comes up in the first place: you’re not confident in your work.
I get it because I’ve been there. I’ve sat in on trainings I thought I needed only to end up thinking to myself, “Damn, I already know this. I should really be charging a heck of a lot more money for my time and expertise.”
Granted, I’m able to realize that I need to value myself more and then actually do it by asking for more money. But, sometimes people get stuck in a spiral and start taking training after training, consulting expert after expert and researching until their eyeballs fall out of their sockets.
The reality is none of this helps you write any faster. The key, therefore, is to find the balance between education and research and taking action. For many people, that looks like starting to value themselves more so they stop wasting time looking to everyone else for answers.
3. Have your sources ready to go.
One of the reasons I’ve been able to write faster and get so much done is because I have an entire database of sources I can reach out to for quotes. Once I’ve got the quotes, I basically work the story to highlight what they said. This is far less strenuous than trying to come up with content from scratch.
In total transparency, it’s taken me years to build these relationships to the point where I can get quotes at pretty much the drop of a hat. That’s why content creators should focus on networking and relationship building so they can eventually write faster.
4. Knock a draft out, then edit.
One of the keys to writing faster is to just knock a draft out instead of editing as you go along. Doing the latter only makes room for that perfectionist creative tendency to rear it’s ugly head.
Besides, we all know the editing takes the longest anyway. On the other hand, just getting ideas out on paper usually comes pretty easily. So focus on the latter.
5. Start timing yourself.
The ability to write faster is sometimes just a matter of practice. That’s why content creators may want to get in the habit of timing themselves. This is actually an exercise I have some of my coaching clients do if I find they are taking way too long creating content and therefore losing money.
Two things come of this exercise. First, they get better at writing faster because now it’s a challenge. Second, it may reveal that there’s something deeper going on that needs to be addressed.
For example, I recently had a coaching client only allow herself an hour per blog post for her own website. This included research and edits. The little experiment helped us determine that the reason she’s spending way too much time researching is because she’s being a perfectionist and not trusting her own expertise.
6. Jot down ideas as they come to you.
Every content creator can tell you that sometimes they get ideas out of nowhere. Furthermore, they may get ideas in the weirdest places or situations — like the shower.
That’s why content creators need to find a way to log these ideas as they come — be it a notebook or a phone app.
This way, when they have to sit down and actually write something, they don’t have to waste a lot of time because they’ve already jotted down ideas.
7. Re-pitch ideas that were rejected.
Let’s say content creation is a part of what you do for clients. This usually means you have to send over ideas for them to approve. It also means that it’s likely that not all ideas will be accepted.
This is where it’s your job to round up the rejects and pitch them somewhere else. You’ve already done the work to come up with an idea and jot down an outline and it’s likely that just because one client didn’t want it that another one will.
I’ve even done this for the same client that owns two different websites. My initial idea didn’t work for the first website, but it was a perfect fit for the second one. When they opened up the second website for pitches, I re-pitched the reject and they accepted it with no issue.
(Note: In this case I did let them know it had initially been rejected but that I reworked it for the new site because it may be a good fit.)
Coming up with an idea and writing the pitch is half the battle in content creation anyway. It’s also often the most time-consuming. Make it easier for yourself by working with what you already have so you can write faster.
Writing faster is equal parts valuing your work, working smarter and practicing getting better at a skill. Keep this in mind and you’ll soon be able to write as fast as the best of them.