There have been many posts about social networking, link bait, and other promotional techniques, but not enough about focusing on the writing. Content is still king, no matter what anyone else says. One thing I am constantly asked as a blogger is how I maintain my schedule and produce so much content. The simple explanation is that I have found ways to refocus myself and break everything down into shorter blocks of high concentration and productivity.
I am sure you have all hear this before and so I wanted to go beyond that. Here are some things I do to focus on the writing.
Paper – I know it seems odd to include paper in this list, but writing with a pen to paper can increase how much you have written and for many people feels much more natural. It also is easier to keep a pen and paper on you than a laptop, allowing you the opportunity to jot down every great idea. Thord, a friend and co-worker, has recently started a site chronicling some fiction writing, and swears by his Moleskin notebook.
Brainstorming – Take some time before you write and come up with some ideas. I have lists for pretty much every site I write on with ten or twenty post ideas and this has allowed me to take from the well so to speak, when my brain comes up dry on what to write. As you are jotting ideas down, you will sometimes get into “the zone”, and find that the ideas will begin to pour from your mind, and you might even come up with powerful phrases you will want to use, things you need to research, and people you will want to contact.
When brainstorming goes really great, you can come up with hundreds of fully formed ideas that will help provide content to your blog for months.
Reposition – Sometimes sitting in your computer room or office can be stifling. Sitting in one place for too long can wear you down, and be counter productive to creativity and getting results. If you have a laptop, move to the couch for a while and work there.
I currently float around the house all day. I usually start in my office, move to the couch, the kitchen table, and sometimes even the bed. No reason to keep myself in one place, and each time I move, I start with a short break before getting back into the thick of things. The difference in atmosphere, temperature, brightness, and comfort will dictate how well you will do in each area, and as a result, how much content you can produce.
Bright Light or Sunshine – The ultimate way to get re-energized is to get the sun beaming down on you. If it isn’t too cold where you are living, grab your laptop and work outside. I have been known to take the car, get out of the city, and sit in the car by a forrest or near a lake and just write. Getting somewhere serene is just amazing.
If you can’t get outside, turn on some lights. I know we have to conserve electricity, but at the same time, being in a well lit, bright room can help bring your mood and energy back up. I have done this in the evenings when I am starting to feel worn down, and it does help. I sometimes swear that I am part house plant.
Music – Working from home has meant working alone, and working home alone means silence. This can sometimes be deafening and distract you from the work you want to do. Throw on some of your favorite songs and let the beat of the music help energize you. I suggest not putting it too loud or you can drown out your own thoughts, and waste a whole day trying to concentrate.
Edit Later – If you are the type of person that edits as you go through writing your post, you might want to wait until the end. Get your thoughts down, and then go back and edit. You will probably get more written and have better flowing articles.
I know that sometimes when I stop, and go back and re-write, edit or add onto an article before finishing it, I end up going off in a different direction than I originally intended, and it ends up reading like I tried to mash two articles together.
Enjoy it – If you are not enjoying your writing time, then you might want to re-think your reasons for writing. To write dozens of articles every week, you have to enjoy writing. A good example is my wife. She is a very passionate woman, and loves talking about certain topics, but despite her strong passion, she doesn’t like to write. She has tried it a few times, but she really doesn’t enjoy it.
As a blogger, this frustrates me because I know she has a unique perspective and could produce some great content, but without a passion for writing, only those she can talk to will ever hear what she has to say.
There is no magic to producing many, high quality articles every day. There is no system, tutorials, or tricks, but instead just some hard work, finding ways to focus on each task, and enjoying your writing time.