It doesn’t matter how fast or how much you write if what you write is low quality. If it takes you a long time to create a quality article, it’s worth the effort. But, what can you do to speed up the process?
Capture Your Ideas Immediately
Set up ways to record every idea you have when you have it. An idea file on your computer and a notepad in your pocket will have you covered. When ideas come to you while writing, add them as paragraphs in what you’re writing and move them to your idea file at the next break.
If you’re new to article writing, create templates for different kinds of outlines. If you’ve been writing for a while, you already create articles in different formats on the fly. Keep your eyes open for new formats you haven’t used yet. When you find one, either create a template or write several articles to make it part of your skillset.
Know Your Subject
Even if you’ve already read textbooks or had training in your subject, keep learning. Reading what multiple authors have to say will give you many angles and insights on a subject. The more you can see the big picture, the more article ideas you will have.
Know Your Audience
If you’re writing for your own site, you can get an idea what your readers want based on the comments. If you’re writing for another site, read the articles. Knowing what readers are looking for is a great motivator.
Use Illustrations and Anecdotes
Stories and examples are a great way to throw some life into an informational article. This gives your readers one more way to think about the ideas you’re presenting. Stories from life also show that it’s a real person writing and help readers feel a connection.
If you write the same amount every day, you don’t have to “get in the mood”. You’ve already gotten in the habit. You should also know when to write.
For most people, the start of the day is their most creative time. For some, the end of the day is best. They can relax and write without worrying about the rest of their day. Try writing at different times to find what works for you.
Exhaust Your Subject
After you’ve researched your subject and read to the point where you’re not finding much new, write everything. Put your research notes and your first draft for the articles side by side.
One popular method is to write a list of article titles based on the research notes. Then, write the articles separately.
Another great method is to just write everything you know about the subject. When you think you’re done, read through your research notes for more ideas. Finish by reorganizing what you’ve written and pulling out the separate articles. First, break it into major sub-topics and then break those into articles.
When you’ve exhausted your subject, don’t exhaust your audience. If you have a blog, readers usually won’t appreciate 10 consecutive posts on the same subject. Post a few articles that are significantly different. The extra articles can be submitted to article directories or print magazines, as guest posts, or saved for posting on your blog at a later date.
Make Your Articles Easy to Read
Your first drafts can read like university papers. No problem. But your final drafts had better be something a 10 year old can understand. Your readers aren’t going to do research to understand what you say. They will just leave.
Break your articles down into simple ideas. There’s a bonus to this. One complicated article will often break down into several simple articles that people will enjoy more.
Break Up Long Articles
A good article length is between 500 and 2000 words. Anything over 1000 words is a good candidate for splitting. If there’s a list in the article, make it a separate list article. If you have several major headings, each may be its own article. When you break a long article into several smaller ones, the overall word count goes up too. Each article needs its own introduction and wrap up.
Don’t rely on your wordprocessor’s spellchecker. Ewe can rake lots of spooling errors that won’t get fragged. And there’s more to proofreading than spelling and grammar. Sentence length, paragraph length, document flow and slant are just a few other considerations. It’s worth taking the time to research proofreading.
The most important proofread is after you’ve been away from the piece for at least a day. You’ll be surprised at the errors you find.
End With a Good Summary
One good type of summary reviews the key points of the article in a few lines. If it’s a list style article, a one sentence paragraph reiterating the main idea makes a good summary. A how-to article may end with one or more calls to action. Take note of how other writers end their articles and develop a variety of techniques that work for you.
My goal in this article was to get you writing high quality articles fast. Some of these points will slow you down, but that’s the price of quality. If you haven’t been doing anything in the list, don’t try to do it all at once. That will bog you down. Just as you get faster at typing by going fast and making lots of mistakes, writing fast is also important. You can always re-write bad articles. You can’t re-write what you never got written. So get writing.
Article by Ivan Izo.