HOW TO GET MORE OUT OF YOUR LIMITED WRITING TIME

The facts up first: most of us bloggers write in our free time, along with our day jobs and our other duties that we may have at home. A constant challenge for us then, is time to blog regularly, and when you do find the time, the inspiration to create something that’s brilliant and readable.

During my conversations with other blogger friends, I have often found the second is like an elephant in the room. It is a killer. There you are, sitting in front of your computer / laptop, with an hour on hand, and nothing comes to mind. So what do you do? You get online and look for inspiration, read a couple of your favourite blogs, and before you know it, 35 minutes are up. The next task stares at you from the sidelines and you know you need to get writing… well, some of us manage to crank out something; most of us put it away till another day.

This post is about making the most of your one hour or half an hour or 15 minutes of time available to you. Before I go any further, let me also state that these guidelines are for people who are committed to their blogs.

Step 1: Think about your post first thing in the morning.
When you wake up in the morning, do a mental check of the thoughts that are top most in your mind and which of these issues you could address in your post for the day. I have found this mental exercise to be most helpful in the mornings, as the routine of the day has not dulled my mind yet. On days when I start my day thinking about my blog, I manage to have my post up by 10 am or so on that day. On other days, it may not happen at all. So think of your post, first thing in the morning.

Step 2: Thinking your article through in your head.
Once you have identified the topic you want to talk about, start forming your arguments in your head. Think about what points you want to highlight, what you want to say and how and why the story would be of interest to your readers. You will find thinking about your topic in your head, going through the pros and cons of your stance help you sort your thoughts out quite a bit before you actually get to the writing stage.

Step 3: Make time for writing.
If you are writing non-fiction, which means your post has to be easy to read and make sense, and you are aiming for something in the 500 word zone, be realistic – you will need about 30-40 minutes to work out a piece that’s post-able (I know that’s not a word, but you get the meaning!). Once you get down to writing, make it a concentrated effort. No checking mails, texts, What’s App messages – nothing. Doing a good job writing is about being in the zone, listening to the voice in your head and putting down on paper what is being dictated – that has been my experience.

The less you distract your mind, the better your post will be, and the faster you will get it out. Disturbances while you write lead to a break in the thought process and impact you flow of your article. This means, after taking longer to write, you will require a fair amount of edit time. So, my suggestion, write without disturbances, preferably in a closed room or with headphones playing white noise. Great for concentration!

Step 4: Edit and clean
Complete your article, read it through, correct the errors, and check for flow. If you are working in MS Word, look for the red and green lines under the words; make sure the spellings and construction is correct. Nobody likes to read a poorly drafted post, so do the edit.

Step 4: Publish
Once you are sure the article is ready for sharing, get on to your blog and post it. If you are going to use an image, do it now. Leave nothing for later. We, writers, have this terrible habit of completing what we believe is our task : namely writing, and leaving the art / visual part of our posts to do later. The reader today demands visual support to lead into the article. If you choose to put up your articles without images, you probably lose about 30-40% of your visitors. Images are important, but remember your content is the hero. Slot out about 15-20 minutes extra for the image search, and cap it at that. Remember to provide a reference to your image source in your post to avoid any unhappy situations in the blogosphere.

Also there is a method to picking up the right image, but then that’s a whole new post. I will share that with you guys soon as well.

Recap:
There you have it: think early, think it through, have the article almost ready in your head before you sit down to write it and when you do get down to writing, just write.
Final steps: edit, select image, publish. Do check out how your article appears once it has been published, look into any areas you feel need improvement, and do it immediately. The trick here is to complete the entire task and leave nothing for later. When you leave it for later, let me assure you it will not get done. So aim for 100% completion every time you sit down to post.

I have found this process works well for me. If you give this process a try, I would love to hear what your experience is. Also if you have some other methods that you use to get that post out of your head and on to your blog, do share. Till the next time, keep blogging!

~ Bharti Athray

Image source: www.tomevans.co

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