If you want to make money online, you’re going to need to create content. The most successful among us are those who are consistently delivering content and increasing their binge-able backlog for newcomers to devour.
When you’re new to the blogging game, the task of creating content consistently can feel like an uphill battle.
You may feel like you’re forcing out your content, spending hours upon hours, only to find yourself distracted by the random little things.
So how to do you stay focused, write a lot, be extremely prolific and never run out of ideas?
As someone who writes for a living, here are my trade secrets.
How I write around 3k words daily
I write a lot. I usually start work at around 10:30am, after dropping the toddler off to daycare, maybe pick up some groceries, come back home, have brunch and then wrap my fingers around a good mug of coffee for a few minutes.
By the time it’s 11:30am, I usually have at least one thousand words completed – either here on dechalert.co, on Medium or for a client I’ve scheduled to deliver content.
If it’s a technical piece that requires research and fact-checking, then it usually sits at around 450 to 750 for the first hour of work.
The second and third hour is usually spent finishing off the piece, refining it with edits, moving paragraphs around and making sure that the flow works. By this time, I usually have a short pause to make a quick lunch, finish off any graphics for the post and then send it along its way down the digital publishing pipeline.
The word count usually sits at around 1500 to 2000 by the time I hit publish or send a piece off to a client.
With the first portion of the day gone, I look at my clock and usually find that it’s getting close to 3pm – which means toddler pick up time.
I don’t pick up the digital pen again, maybe until around 7:30pm to 8pm. During the late afternoon and bedtime routines with the toddler, my subconscious worked up another article for me to unleash.
I sit down, start the timer and write. Within the hour, I usually have another 1000 to 1200 words ready to roll out. At the end of the day, I usually hit around 3000 words – give or take – depending on the complexity and number of associated graphics required.
By the time everything is done, I head off to bed and call it a day. The total hours worked sit at around 4 to 5 hours daily, spread out between the hours of 10:30am to 2:30pm and 7:30pm to 8:30pm.
While the hours may feel like I’m working all day, the actual total hours spent writing is much less than what I’d be doing if I was working a traditional 9 to 5.
The perk of being able to set my own hours means that a good portion of it is spent with the person that set me down this path of making money online – the toddler.
My process for writing quickly
A lot of people tell me that I write quickly. My words often flow from brain to fingertips within the instant once I’m in my flow state.
So what’s my secret for writing effective copy quickly?
The first thing is…routine.
I used to write whenever I can. But since the toddler started going to daycare and giving me a solid block of uninterrupted time during daylight hours, I was able to establish a writing routine for myself.
Over time, writing at a particular time became a habit – and when things turn into habits, the friction against the action is significantly reduced.
This is because we don’t have to think much about the task and our brains jump into an automated mode of working. It reduced my need to think about what I should be doing next – because I already knew the process.
I can write a lot and very quickly because I’ve been practicing it almost daily for the past 11 months.
It wasn’t easy at first – sort of like running on the treadmill for the first time. But as I got better and mentally fitter at pushing out words in a coherent manner, the quality and speed of my writing increased accordingly.
The ability to be prolific is also based on how much practice you’ve had at creating a particular volume of content consistently. Stephen King, for example, who has over 40 novels published, routinely begins writing at 8am and consistently produces words until he reaches a minimum of at least 2000 words.
The second thing is…structure.
Writing is like cooking. When you’re winging a dish without a recipe, you have to figure out the components and parts to make the food taste good.
The more you cook, the more you begin to see certain elements and patterns that will guarantee a particular outcome.
It’s the same with writing.
Structure is like the hidden recipe that makes your writing unique.
When I write, I tend to start off with the introduction, followed by section headlines that outlines what a particular set of paragraphs will go over.
There are usually 3 to 4 headlines, with the potential of subheadlines if I think the section needs them to properly support the main headline.
This post, for example, works on this headline and subheadline structure.
I do this because it lets me quickly see the direction of the article and let my subconscious brain do some of the work and prepare for the next sections while I’m actively typing out the paragraphs.
It also lets me review the work I’ve written quickly and ensure that it’s going in the right direction.
The best thing to do is find a structure that works for you. Figure out your personal recipe and be the master chef for it.
The third thing is…knowledge.
It’s a lot easier to write about topics you know about. This is because you don’t get constantly stumped on a particular sentence or paragraph trying to explain something you don’t know enough about.
That’s why some of my technical pieces and fact-based articles tend to take longer. This is because while I know what I’m writing about, I still need to verify that what I’ve written is correct.
If you get stuck about what to write, draw from your own experiences and write from your experiences.
This piece, for example, is based on my personal experiences, making it extremely easy to write and informative at the same time.
How to find inspiration and never run out of ideas
Another thing that contributes greatly to being a prolific content creator is that I struggle to run out of ideas.
Like training myself to write consistently through routines, I’ve also trained myself to come up with at least a couple of ideas every day.
A lot of us wait for inspiration. However, there is a misconception towards what inspiration looks like.
Inspiration is an active state and it often happens when we are curious about something. They are the constant what if? moments that seemingly appear out of nowhere.
And if you’re struggling to get them, you need to take a step back and examine your chosen niche for a few moments.
Create questions surrounding your niche. Be specific and targetted. You might need to do some initial research for it first, but that’s good time spent expanding what you know about a particular topic – making it easier the next time you write around the subject again.
Getting into the habit of writing your ideas down can also clear out the mental space that’s being used to generate new ideas. When you’ve dumped your ideas out onto the page, your brain can safely temporarily ‘forget’ about it and generate new ones in its place.
While this may sound slightly scientific, this very personal experience of journalling down ideas has worked well for me, especially when it comes the time to review the jotted down ideas and selecting one that appeals most to you at that particular moment.
Learning to write a lot takes time and consistency – but it can be done.
You just need to set up a routine for yourself to write every day and things will eventually become easier – from the ideas generation process to the act of writing itself.
This is essentially my process and how I get things done every day -mostly by showing up every day.