As a blogger, I have plenty to do. Continuously coming up with creative ideas and content. Doing research. Reading news articles. Listening to relevant podcasts, and all to stay abreast of current and trending topics. Then there is the content on the written craft itself. Sometimes I feel disorganized and scatter-brained. Sometimes, I wonder how I get it all done? I mean, I haven’t even written the piece yet and I got a full plate. Well, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that help me to write better, faster and save time.
Well Organized Writer
Many of you know I am a well organized person. This includes my personal and professional life. Thank God for parents who drove this principle home when I was a child because it has served me well. Admittedly, I get a little anal and when I do I try to stop, slow down and breathe. The world won’t end if I don’t get it all done today.
However, strongly leaning toward organization helps me be a happier and more fulfill writer. So, I am passing on knowledge because it brings power. If you can get a little organized in your writing you will be more productive. You will write better, faster and save time. Now, let’s go!
1. Create an editorial calendar.
When I started professional blogging in 2013, I created a calendar. I got the idea from when I was a former freelance writer and pitched to magazines. Many publications had an editorial calendar for topics and themes coming up they were going to publish. You could read this calendar and know what story ideas to pitch.
So, I took that same concept and applied it here. I was writing a weekly blog post for my employer and I jotted down ideas for about a month or two. This method kept me organized, my mind clear and writing effective.
2. Keep track of updates, news and trends in your niche.
Reading articles, newsletters and other blog post will give you fresh ideas to write about. They will also keep you current so when you write, your stories have relevance.
For example, I checkout the National Holiday Calendar. I got the idea to write this post because Thursday, Oct. 20 is The National Day on Writing®. This day celebrates writing—and the many places, reasons and ways we write each day—as an essential component of literacy. Since 2009, #WhyIWrite has encouraged thousands of people to lift their voices to the things that matter most to them.
I also subscribe to Google Alerts. I made a list of key words in my industry and everyday Google sends me an email with current news items on that topic. I use all of these resources to keep a running list of blog ideas. Having this list will ensure you don’t dry out. Or if an idea doesn’t work your list will provide a plethora to choose from.
3. Get on a schedule.
This is not a hard and fast rule. What I mean is look at your day or week and plan things out. Keep in mind life happens and stuff comes up. But if you have a schedule you are more likely to get your writing done and not be so distracted. Each day I make a mini list of things to do for the next day. I try hard to stay on track and leave any extras for after I have met my daily goals.
4. Use non writing time to think.
My best ideas come to me at three o’clock in the morning. But now that my sleeping is slowly improving I am not always awake that early. However, I have other moments I can call on for inspiration. Traveling on the bus to run errands are times when my mind wanders and ideas germinate. Walking on my treadmill and doing household chores are two other times in my day when writing ideas magically appear. Now, the challenge is to quickly jot those ideas down because I am usually not at my computer. I have relied on the recording app on my smartphone to dictate an idea or two before it permanently leaves.
5. Go offline.
This is a real battle. So many of us are addicted to our devices. And we gotta check social media or emails to maintain that fix. But to be a better, faster writer that saves time you must do it. So, turn off emails and social media while writing. Plus, you will be less distracted and more energized.
6. Set a timer
This is a new thing I recently tried. Do you know what? It actually worked. Having the clock ticking adds a little positive pressure to push and soldier through a writing project. I want to get done by the time the bell rings so I don’t let my mind wonder as much and I stay focused.
Now with that being said, I use the timer method for actual writing not for major editing, preparation or research. Although, now that I am thinking about it as I write this post, it might be good for that too. When I research I can go down a rabbit hole. Before I know it, time has passed and I’m still not done.
7. Create an outline.
An outline will help you know how to start and end. It will help your piece stay on course. Have you written an article or blog post only to recognize you are rambling and all over the place? I will be the first to raise my hand and say yes. But writing a little outline helps me avoid that pitfall.
In order to write that well-crafted or soon to be award- winning piece you got to be organized. This will lead to writing better, faster and save tons of time.