Blank screen and a ticking clock.
This is the combination you hate – yet, this is what you are experiencing right now.
You figured that you could write a guest post for a big blog before going to work, but look what happened: after 20 minutes, you are staring at your laptop’s screen without any idea what to write about.
Your mind is just wandering around. When you think you have written a great starting sentence for your post, you delete the line quickly as your internal critic is telling you that the sentence is no good.
Needless to say, you are angered and frustrated over this experience and wonder how these other top bloggers are able to write such awesome posts with seemingly much less effort.
As you ponder this, you take a look a quick look at your watch: it’s already time to go to work.
You feel depressed because you couldn’t get anything done and you blame yourself for your inefficiency.
Not a great way to start your day.
Taking action without planning
I’m willing to bet that many bloggers have experienced the same thing as in the example above.
Yes, me too.
When I analyzed the situation further, I realized that my way of working wasn’t as effective as it could be.
First, even if I had a topic to write about on my mind, I didn’t still “get” it: I didn’t understand the complexity of the topic I was writing about.
The same applies to you too: no matter if you get a fancy idea to write about, do you honestly know what type of knowledge is required to produce a decent blog post in a decent period of time?
Well, I didn’t understand this part of writing at all and as I occasionally spent a lot of time in writing a post, I made the assumption that I was failing.
But let’s face it: if I wasn’t knowledgeable about the topic I was about to write and I had to do some research in order to create the post, was it any wonder that it took so long to create that piece of content?
Nope, it wasn’t.
Second, I didn’t prepare myself for the writing event itself. Sometimes I just turned on my computer and started figuring out what to write when instead, I should have known this information in advance.
This was yet another weak point for me and it can happen to many other bloggers too: wasting time on pondering what to write rather than knowing that in advance and getting started with writing – as soon as your computer is up and running.
Finally, when I wasn’t fully rested, my focus was lost. My mind was just wandering around and I couldn’t produce anything meaningful – no matter if I had the time to do the work.
These are quite a few of obstacles to deal with – especially if you want to create your guest posts in a decent time frame, don’t you think?
Did you forget this important habit?
When you aren’t doing any preparation for your guest posts in advance, you are clearly weakening your possibilities of writing your next masterpiece in a decent time.
The planning should be a daily habit and as a result of this action, you should have a rough outline of your guest post ready – before you hit the bed.
When you fail to do this small activity (which takes 15-20 minutes at the most), your writing focus weakens. It’s no wonder that your mind is wandering around when instead you should be banging your keyboard with words and sentences.
Without any structure and a plan to follow, you have “all the options open” when you start your writing work. This increases the likelihood of lacking the focus and wasting your time.
What about your writing environment then? Is it noisy? Do you get interrupted a lot?
If you answered “yes” to either one of those questions, then that is yet another reason to put you off track and cause you to lose valuable time.
No matter if you are ready to do your writing – the environment should be right as well. Otherwise you are not able to concentrate on your work, which may lead to frustration, self-blame and sometimes even anger.
Get your next guest post done without time waste
To get that next guest post done without any delays and time wasting, check out this advice that I’m about to tell you.
First and foremost, get mentally ready for the writing event. If you know that some additional research is required, then prepare for it. This sets your expectations right away and you don’t feel like blaming yourself, if you didn’t produce that guest post in a decent time.
Then, set all your working equipment up and get it ready for your writing. Make sure that your computer is waiting for you on your desk, as well as getting your other material (for example books, notepad, pens …) you might need and making sure it is also available during your writing time.
Next, do some planning in advance.
This planning comes in two parts. First, know what posts you want to write on a weekly basis. Have some idea what posts you will write, when you will write them and put those tasks into your task list for the coming week.
Second, the night before the actual writing, create a rough outline of your post – before going to bed. This puts the topic and other ideas into your subconscious as your mind starts to process them further.
As a result of this process, you might get some new insights and ideas for your posts – something you didn’t realize before.
Lastly, if you think that you environment is “haunting” you, then take appropriate steps to fix this. Isolate yourself physically if need be for the writing time. This improves your writing focus and eliminates the time wasted.
Step-by-step plan for creating your next guest post fast
1. Brainstorm on the go
Do you know how I get my best post ideas? While I’m on the go!
Nope, I don’t stare my computer screen and try to figure out what to write. Instead, I shutdown my laptop and do something completely different than work related stuff. This keeps my brain working in the background and I get ideas about what to write about – all the time.
Brainstorm on the go and have note taking equipment with you, so that you can capture your ideas as soon as you get them. Then, create an account in any cloud-based services (Google Docs, EverNote …) and maintain a guest post idea list there.
2. Use a system
To speed things up, I recommend that you follow a system to write your guest posts.
I’m using the Write Like Freddy (WLF) approach, where every post follows this simple structure:
- Root of the problem
- Implementing the solution
In fact, I have taken this idea a bit further and I created a WLF template (which I have stored on Google Docs) which I use for my posts. This helps me to structure and outline my posts faster.
If you want to learn more about this system, check out Danny’s post on CopyBlogger for more information.
3. Have a weekly plan.
I plan my coming week in advance.
Every Sunday I decide the guest posts I’m going to write about the next week. This helps me to mentally prepare for the topics in advance.
4. Outline the post
Once I have decided the topics to write about with a solid system, I outline my posts the night before the actual writing day.
I take my WLF template I mentioned in step 3 and start filling in the blanks: I create my hook, problem description, root cause and solution in advance, so that it’s easier for me get started with the actual writing part.
This simple activity takes 20 minutes at the most, but helps me a lot the next morning when I start to write my guest posts.
5. Set your mindset right and prepare to investigate
Sometimes it’s not possible to finish a post in a short time frame. I just accept the fact that some posts take longer to write, while others are quicker ones to create.
You may need to investigate your topic further and this is just the part of the writing process. If you are not sure about the facts you are writing about, it’s your responsibility to make sure to check them before going live with the post.
6. Make sure the environment is ready for you
Make sure that the environment is ready when you write.
If your home environment is noisy, wake up a bit earlier so that you can write without interruptions (I wake up around 05.30 every morning).
You can also decide to isolate yourself temporarily by writing in a public library, coffee shop or outside in the nature.
Some get work done in solitude, while others are more productive in a noisy environment. You’ll just have to test things and see which environment is perfect for you.
7. Work with a timer
To improve your writing focus even further, I recommend using a timer.
A timer gives you an extra focus to your writing. It’s like setting a mini-deadline for your task, which you are trying to complete in a given time frame.
There are many obstacles on your path when you want to become a faster writer. However, with some preparation you can improve your performance a lot.
Just make sure that you understand that not all the guest posts are created equal. For some posts it takes hours and hours to finish it, while on others you can create in less than an hour.
However, with these steps I mentioned above, you should be able to create your posts faster than before.
Finally, realize that this information can be used for regular posts as well. I just wanted to reveal how I have been able to write over 40 guest posts already this year, so that’s why the focus was on guest posting.
Over to you
What are your tips for writing posts faster? Do you follow a system when you create a guest post?
Share your experiences and comments on the comment area.
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to improve your blogging productivity, grab his free e-book, 61 Ways for Supercharging Blogging Productivity.