Okay – it’s a new year. You’ve taken stock of your blogging & writing efforts from last year. Maybe you’re thinking that you’ve done pretty well. You’ve delivered valuable content consistently.
Or maybe you’re disappointed in your writing efforts. Secretly you know that you’ve avoided writing and blogging because it took so much time.
Regardless of where you are on the writing satisfaction spectrum, this post will help you to up your productivity by using some tried and proven writing productivity techniques.
Two of the techniques involve timers. The other technique is more like the slow food movement – except it is the slow writing movement. You’ll write key elements for a post or article over 4 or 5 days.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Fransesco Cirillo. He named it Pomodoro (Italian for tomato) after a tomato-shaped timer he used when he wrote. The Pomodoro Technique is a 6-step writing system. Here’s how it works:
- Begin by selecting your writing task – I recommend that you know ahead of time the task you want to complete.
- Set a physical timer for 25 minutes. I use my cell phone’s timer.
- Focus on the writing task. Don’t do anything else. Write until that timer rings.
- Check mark your work – I don’t do this. I don’t need the satisfaction. But you can certainly do it.
- Take a break from your writing environment. Get up, walk around, refill your coffee cup. But break your concentration for a few minutes.
- If you have a longish writing assignment, take a longer break after 4 Pomodoros – it’s kind of like taking a full coffee break.
Schwartz Writing System
I learned about the Schwartz writing system on a podcast with Demian Farnsworth on Copyblogger. Robert Bruce wrote about it on Copyblogger here. Eugene Schwartz’s writing system is dead simple but it’s not easy – especially in this age of distractions. Think email, social media, chat, Skype, FaceTime.
We were probably always distractible but the thing is, now we’re so reachable! Anyway, I digress.
Schwartz’s system worked like this. By the time he sat down to write, he had a sketchy outline and a ton of research. Then he set a timer for 33.33 minutes. I’m wondering how he did that – I can’t get that precise with my timer.
Once the timer started Schwartz did not allow himself to get up off his chair until the timer went off. According to Farnsworth, Schwartz had a few rules to write by:
- He could drink coffee
- He could stare out the window, or at the wall
- He could sit and do absolutely nothing for 33.33 minutes
- He could write the ad
- He could not leave the chair for any reason
- He could not do anything else
Demian Farnsworth contends that it was boredom that motivated him to get writing. He simply didn’t allow himself to do anything else – well, except stare. Whatever it was that pushed the writing button, this system worked for him. And it’s worked for many other writers.
For the last two weeks, I have practiced this technique every day. And you know what it pretty much works. Problem is … Me. The biggest challenge to this system is myself. But hey, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try.
The Slow Writing Technique
The last writing technique I want to write about is the slow technique. I really like this system. It has worked well for me for my own blog. Between the demands of client work and email, I feel guilty if I spend too much time on one writing task for my business.
Blogging would be a good example of that. I don’t feel that I have 3 hours to create a post. When you’re blogging, it’s not just the writing part, it’s all the other additional tasks like creating images in Canva, optimizing your images, adding “tweetable” quotes, and promoting your posts on social media.
With the slow writing technique you write over several days – using only 30 minutes snippets to work.
- Day 1: Determine your topic and write a few headlines.
- Day 2: Create your outline – including your subheadings and some thoughts in point form.
- Day 3: Write the content for each section of the post or article.
- Day 4: Edit that baby – preferably read your post out loud so you can hear any grammar errors. Or if you have a willing colleague who will give your piece a once over – that works too.
- Day 5: Create your awesome image and share it on social media sites where you know your readers hang out.
Here’s what I’ve learned
Each technique can help boost your writing productivity. I like the slow technique for article writing and for blogging. Pomodoro and Schwartz work for me when I am writing for clients. These two techniques help me to focus on the task at hand to the exclusion of any other.
How about you? Any writing techniques you use that turn you into a Writing Boss?