5 Tips for Writing Faster and Better
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t absolve you from having to write. Most small-business owners have a lot of writing to do. Whether it’s composing great content for social media, blog posts, books or client presentations, writing comes into an entrepreneur’s day in many ways.
It can also be one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish effectively. Here are five ways to cast aside your writer's block and write more prolifically.
1. Write in blocks.
Writing is all about achieving flow. It can be difficult to shift back and forth between writing and other tasks.
Chunk out several hour-long blocks on your calendar for writing. When the time comes, consider moving locations -- to a more comfortable chair or to a balcony with a great view, for example. Also, turn off your email, social media and text alerts, and minimize other distractions. Then, write as much as you can during that period.
This is my method for almost all of my writing, from blog posts to my book, The Entrepreneur Equation. You may find that it’s a bit difficult to get started, but once you do, keep going until you can get as much content down on paper (real or virtual) as possible.
2. Embrace the bullet.
You can be inspired to write at just about any time. Often it happens when you are not focused on writing -- like in bed, in the shower, in the car, etc. As topics occur to you for blogs, chapters and messages for a book or takeaways for a client report, keep them logged on paper (a notepad or on your smartphone, whatever your preferred method is).
Then, for each topic, write down a list of “bullets” that mirror the key points that you want to make in support of the main topic. It's much easier to write explanatory sentences once you have the main themes and issues sorted out.
For this blog, I had written down the topic and then added the five key points underneath in my list, so when I was ready to write it during my chunked time, I had the bulk of the content sorted out and I just needed to fill-in the detail around it.
3. Write with your mouth.
There are some people who are great speakers and verbal story tellers, but have difficulty translating their points into written form. If you prefer to talk, then do just that. Get a dictation software (there is a free one that comes with most Windows-based computers or you can look into something like Dragon Naturally Speaking or other Dragon dictation software). Or, have someone interview you and record it, and have the results transcribed.
Once you have the transcript of what you have said, you can edit it into a final product. As a bonus, you speak much more quickly than you can write, so this approach can help those who prefer to speak get a significant amount of content out in a short period of time.
4. Focus on function instead of form.
When you start to write, just write. Put down on the paper anything and everything that you can think of to support your message. Then, go back and move sentences around, restate them and do additional editing. If you focus too much on the form of the piece, such as what should come first, how you should order the information, etc., you may never get to the content. Focus on the content first.
5. When in doubt, curate.
A final way to generate great new content is through shifting from content creator to curator. That's right -- find others with great information, stories and examples and let them submit it to you. Once you embrace this crowd-sourced content, you can then arrange that content, add an introduction, a final takeaway and have a great piece of work without bearing the burden of doing the bulk of the writing yourself.