Although coding, networking and responding to comments can all be time-consuming tasks for a blogger, writing is often the thing that takes the most time…as it should be!
I often write 5,000 words or more each week, so I’ve had to be very intentional about looking for ways to write faster without sacrificing quality. (And to be honest, there have been times I’ve rushed and sacrificed quality, which is a disservice to readers and leaves me feeling pretty uninspired).
You want to know my secret?
It’s simple really: I prewrite posts — first in my head, then as an outline on paper — well before I sit down to actually write them.
My Prewriting Method
Each week, I look ahead to the next week’s editorial calendar and begin thinking through the topics that I’ll be writing about. I think about what I want to say as I go about the routine tasks of my day: folding laundry, washing dishes, stirring something on the stove, taking a shower.
A few days before I plan to write, I actually write a rough outline for the post. I write down the main points I want to make, examples, subpoints, etc. This is easy because I’ve already been thinking about it for a few days, and it literally takes just 5 minutes or so per post.
Then I sit on it for another day or two.
When I’m finally ready to sit down and write, the post is basically written. That means I don’t have to stop to think about what I want to write; I just write.
Any good writer will tell you that the key to writing well is to just write without worrying about how it sounds, proper structure or correct grammar.
As you write this way, the words begin to flow and you actually write better. You still have to edit and tweak when you’re done, of course, but your posts are more complete and more eloquent than if you over-analyze every word while you write.
It’s really hard to do that in non-fiction writing if you don’t know what you want to say ahead of time because you have to stop and think about it often.
However, when you’ve spent time thinking through what you want to say and the important points you want to make, it flows much easier, which means writing the post is much faster and, as a bonus, a lot less frustrating!
Do you “pre-write” posts in your head or on paper? Do you notice a different when you do or don’t?