I recently heard that, ideally, writers should spend no more than 20 minutes per day blogging, and the same goes for social media. Yeah, I was surprised to hear that, too. Let’s just say, I spend way, way too much time doing both. It’s not good when the majority of my writing time is spent blogging, when it should be spent on my fiction manuscript. I’m working on ways to spend less time writing my blog. Here’s what I came up with.
- Create a list of topics
Sometimes I don’t know what to blog about, and I waste precious time trying to figure it out. There are great articles that can provide ideas of what to blog about, especially for authors. I’ve had pretty good luck writing whatever has been on my mind that day or that week, when it comes to writing gripes and challenges. I just have to trust, and hope, that other people may be thinking of the same things.
- Develop a schedule
Do you want to blog twice a week? Once a week? Or once a month? Committing to a schedule can keep things on track. It forces you to block out times to write, and to be more efficient during the process.
- “Borrow” ideas and make them your own
There are times when I search for something on Google, and I can’t find any good results? I take that as a sign that I should blog about it. Remember the last time that you had to read 18 articles or blog posts, instead of one, to get all of the information you need? Compile a list, add your own thoughts and unique pizazz, and include links to the articles that you sourced.
- Make an outline
Unless you write in a more stream-of-conscious style, it may be helpful to use a formula approach for writing your blog. This post gives a good idea of how to outline your blog posts.
- Flesh out the main points first, fill in the rest later
Sometimes it’s easier to start with the large thoughts. Get them down in front of you, then color in the details later.
- Stay focused until it’s done
If I’m doing research for a blog post, I may end up going down the Internet rabbit hole or the social media rabbit hole or…you get the point. I have to remind myself to stay focused to get it done faster.
- Set a timer
Have a hard time staying focused? Your mobile phone has a timer feature. Use it! (Sorry to be harsh. This bullet point was really meant for me.)
- Don’t overthink it
There are so many things to write about, so many things tossing around in our heads, that it’s hard to choose. I think our brains misinterpret that, leading us to believe that we have nothing to write about. It’s really the opposite. It’s just a matter of picking one thing and going with it.
- Consider writing in batches
Sometimes I get on a roll. I mean, I am red-hot-don’t-stop-me, not-even-if-you’re-my-uncle-and-you-just-baked-your-infamous-7-flavor-pound-cake. When those times happen, I will bang out two or three posts, or at least start them. That makes the writing time a lot shorter later.
- Write…then edit later
This is hard, especially when the delete and backspace buttons are easy to access, just a little pinky away. At least Mac computers don’t have the backspace option, so that helps. Editing slows us down. It bogs the process. Have you seen David Brubeck tickling the ivories? We writers need to be like that with our keyboards.
- Try not to be a perfectionist
It’s a blog, not a thesis paper—thank goodness. One of the reasons I started blogging was to revel in having total control with my writing, something that didn’t happen in my communications job, with all of the red tape, review, and approval processes. As a blogger, I get to be the reviewer, proofer, and approver. I don’t have to try to be a perfectionist anymore. Free yourself. It’s empowering.
What do you do to help reduce the amount of time you spend blogging? What tips do you have for writing faster?