It was tough for me to digest the fact that 54% bloggers take less than two hours to write a blog post. I use to take much more time than what the least fraction of writers mentioned in the chart would take (sometimes I took days to finish my article). But I used my embarrassment to target my weakness as an attack point and slowly crawled into the elite club of writers who takes just 2 hours to write an article.
Here is how I did it.
How to write an article in less than two hours
How much time you take to write an article is inversely proportional to the depth of planning you have done for it. A well researched and a planned article takes less time for writing. On average, planning takes 15% of the time.
Maintain an Idea file
It can be a physical folder or an online app like Evernote or Pocket to jot down every inspirational post, article, or idea in one place. Sift through the thoughts and start collecting exciting and relevant information about the most topic as and when you come across it. So when you are ready to write on a subject, you already have some reading material to refer. It will drastically cut down your time spent on planning.
Outline your article
Begin with structuring and start writing all the titles and subheadings in the document. Ease of structuring your article is directly proportional to the time and effort you spent in your planning. An exhaustive planning yields a more logical flow of information and chances of loose ends are mitigated.
Where to write
Before we discuss how to write an article, let us talk where to write one. I use to write in Microsoft word till I came to know about Google Docs as a web-based service. Google Docs is available on any desktop platform with a modern browser. That includes Windows, OS X, Linux, Chrome OS, and (in some cases) even mobile platforms running in compatibility mode.
Since then, I am in love with Google Docs For writing.
Believe me, once you start using Google Docs, you will never feel like going back to Microsoft Word. The advantages are abundant.
Working in Google Docs means you are working on the cloud, and all your work is automatically being saved. It says you need not carry your document in pen drive or keep it mailing to your proofreaders or co-authors. It becomes super easy to access your work from anywhere with any device.
Yea, it’s safe to have your article on cloud unless you are writing something very fishy that country’s secret agency wants to have a look at. Or if your luck is too bad that Google’s servers go down.
If you are co-authoring an article, then Google Docs also give an option where multiple people can work on the same document at the same point in time.
Another fantastic feature of Google Docs is to make search queries on the web from the article editing window… ( Tools->Explore). It saves quality time while you are switching between several windows.
Inserting images in Google docs is super cool. Go to Insert-> image. Unlike Microsoft Word, you can get your image at the right place from various resources in one go.
Writing the main body
Once the skeleton of your article is ready, it becomes a cakewalk to fill the mass into the pre-defined body. The detailing of the material takes around 2 hours for writing 1000-2000 words.
Let your thoughts flow freely and don’t get too much bothered about the grammar and spellings part. You are writing your first draft which would eventually go through subsequent rounds of editing and proofreading. However, you may need some good reference to fuel your thinking process. So, instead of switching tabs, again and again, you can have the most relevant windows together in a single view window.
Well! This is something entirely different from writing. Experts suggest, do not mix writing and editing. Editing should only be done once you have finished writing. On an average, it takes
17 minutes per 1000 words to proofread twice,
1-2.5 hours per 1000 words to edit (That includes rewriting ambiguous sentences and restructuring paragraph and sections) and
About 2.5-4 hours per 1000 words to do Major editing. In addition to the normal editing, it also includes checking external links and adding information that was committed.
I use Grammarly to help me edit my work. Not only it is free it has all the features to help you write flawlessly. From Grammar checking to proofreading to plagiarism detection, it is a complete package.
Editing and proofreading take the maximum chunk of time budget you have for article writing. Many professional bloggers set aside a budget for outsourcing editing and proofreading. There are many freelancing sites on which you can hire editing professionals.
Just writing a blog will not help unless it reaches out your target customers. Social media is the biggest way of promoting your article. Social networking sites act as word of mouth or more accurately, e-word of mouth. Hootsuite is one of many tools referred to as a “Social Media Management System” or tool. It helps you keep track and manage your social network channels. You can view streams from multiple networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and post updates or reply directly. Thus, it becomes super convenient to schedule your posts on different channels for different timings of the day.
Tips to speed up
Timing that suits you
Always or anytime is never the best time to write. We all have a particular time during which we are most productive. I hope you know what time it is for you. If no then observe yourself for just two days, and you can soon come to know.
I had always been a morning person. I am most productive in the early morning hours when there is the least noise, no friend sitting online and bugging you, no calls and on top of all when my tiny tot is sleeping.
Sitting posture and position of your hands on the keyboard also decides how fast you can write. Following six ways may help you to write faster:
Improving Typing Speed
Practice. Practice and Practice!! No secret here. You can refine your typing speed by daily practising it. There are specific online platforms to improve your typing speed:
Typing Test – Check your typing speed and accuracy with this free complete typing test.
Typing.com – Another free typing resource to work on your typing right from a beginner to advanced level.
Communication speed is three times higher if you use dictation method. This is my article, but literally, I haven’t written it. Confused? As you are reading this article, I am not the actual who is typing. I was just speaking my mind, and Google was doing all the typing work for me. As I am expressing my mind, Google is writing it down for me. This is one more useful feature of Google Docs.
Though, a little extra effort is required to edit the dictated document as it might contain some errors. But definitely worth it. It rescues you from the tedious task of typing most prominently when you are not great at it. Apart from that, there also other voice to writing tools available Like Dragon Naturally Speaking and Word talk. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a paid tool and has extra features like learning a language over time, Controlling your computer with accuracy and speed. Though it is pricey users say its worth it.
If you are using the dictation method, I would recommend you to go through your article once you have finished writing quickly. You may find many places the software has misunderstood you. Again a free tool like Grammarly can take the burden of proofreading off your shoulders. Grammarly is one of the most prominent tools present in the arsenal of almost every blogger. If you are not a blogger, Grammarly can still make a huge difference in your overall personality and image (we shall discuss this in another post maybe).
Having a writing buddy by your side can be a blessing as the other guy can monitor your typing posture and prevents you from procrastination.
Short breaks are boosters. Taking short breaks of 5 minutes after 15 minutes can increase your writing efficiency manifold. You get time to plan your next 15 minutes and moreover short breaks boost you with new ideas. But make sure that breaks are small and not something like chatting on Facebook for hours after writing five lines.
For this purpose, you may also use the Pomodoro Technique. It is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
Many a time professional blogger outsource a lot of their work that includes editing, marketing, etc. so that they can solely concentrate on the writing. If your pocket allows the budget for it, then as discussed above, there are some very cool freelancing sites where you can get editors and marketers for social media marketing. After reviewing the competitive quotes, you may negotiate with them. If you give them regular work, they can give you more competitive quotes.
With these tips, I believe you might have got some clarity on how to write an article fast even when you are not an expert writer. Shoot me a message if you found the tips helpful. Let me know in comments your way of doing things fast.