Hands up who wants to learn how to write blog posts faster?
While it takes time to build our writing muscles—and the more we write, the more we flex and develop that muscle—there are a few techniques and tools we can use to improve our blog writing speed no matter what stage we’re at in our writing journey.
Think of these writing techniques and tools like guzzling raw eggs after a workout to help recover and build muscle mass without the horror of actually having to guzzle raw eggs.
To improve our blog writing speed, there are 3 aspects to consider:
- Planning —brainstorming, batching, and outsourcing blog content.
- The physical act of writing faster—touch typing and voice typing.
- Staying focused—killing your inner editor to maintain flow.
Outline your blog posts
I wrote this post after I outlined it.
I created a series of headings and added bullet points under each topic that I used as basis to expand upon while writing. I’ve written a whole other post about how to outline a blog post the smart way.
After writing a blog post outline, it’s easy at this point to check the overall flow and make sure the structure works well for what I’m trying to say.
While I think we all need to experiment and find our own way of doing things that fits our writing style and works best for us, I still think creating an outline is an absolute must-do for all people.
Even if you’re a pantser who loves to meander without a plan, bear with me. Outlining can help you write faster, too. And you wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t want to write faster.
A good blog outline helps me get my ideas down and structure them well before I start writing. This means less time spent editing and restructuring my posts. It also means there are less gaps to fill because I’ve done a pretty solid brain dump of ideas before I start writing.
I leave a blog post outline for a day or 2 or even longer so my subconscious does the heavy lifting in the background—my brain writes the blog post while I sleep or watch telly or go on my daily morning stroll. By letting it sit at least overnight, your brain will write it for you.
When it’s time to write, it feels like I’m cheating by simply filling in the gaps. It’s like paint by numbers but for writing.
When I’m writing the post, my focus is on connecting the ideas and choosing the words to express myself. I’m not drained by doing that AND coming up with the big picture. That’s already done.
This leaves me freer to write.
And it takes way less time than if I didn’t do that upfront planning and thinking.
I produce a high-quality blog post so much faster when I outline.
Get a copy of my FREE Better Blogging Template
Batch your blog post creation
Create a long list of blog topics
When you come up up with a big bunch of blog post ideas during a single sitting, you’ll save yourself a lot of time.
It’s so much harder to come up with something to write about on the spot and we’re less likely to blog if we don’t know what we’re going to blog about.
That’s why a single brainstorming session where you come up with a range of blog topics you can write is smart. I did this recently and came up with 62 blog post topics. I won’t turn all of them into blog posts. Some might become condensed and appear in a single, related blog post. But at least I now have a bank of ideas I can draw from.
When we’re not switching from task-to-task, we can get loads more work done. Put in the time upfront and you’ll save time later. Batching is a productive way of working.
Supplement your list of topics with keyword and other research to flesh out your ideas. You want to make sure there is an audience AND an appetite for what you have to say.
Get together with a business buddy, schedule it into your calendar, and brainstorm together on a video chat. It could be fun and you can inspire each other. You’ll also have an accountability partner to keep you on track and motivated. Once it’s booked and in your calendar and not on that mythical one-day-I’ll-get-around-to-it-to-do list, you’ll get it done. ✔️
Outline your blog posts
Once you have your list of ideas, choose a few and write blog outlines for them during the one outlining session. Keep it simple and top level. The point of an outline is not to stew about it for hours, but to do a brain vomit of your ideas in a matter of minutes. ??
Staying on the batching bandwagon, if you can wrangle and schedule the time, do it and write several blog posts in one day. You can then stagger their release.
You’ll find that when you’re in the zone and not task hopping, your overall productivity improves. The time it takes to create your blog posts decreases significantly.
Batch create graphics
A task that I always underestimate is creating the graphics to go with my blog posts. First I have to source the key image from DepositPhotos. Then I have to create the banner graphic and a Pinterest pin via RelayThat.
Once you know the topics you’ll be working on, create all the graphics you’ll need for these upcoming blog posts in a single session, saving you time because you don’t have jump between different headspaces, log into those sites every single time. Once you’re in graphic creation mode, you pump those images faster than Rocky’s right hook.
Outsource writing and writing-related tasks
Perhaps one of the best ways to become a faster writer is to outsource tasks.
You could outsource:
- keyword research to an SEO pro like Nat Alleblas
- the writing of your blog post to someone like me who specialises in content marketing and can write to your outline
- the editing and proofreading
- the publishing of the post in your CMS because formatting posts takes time and we often understimate how much
- the sourcing and creation of your graphics
- the whole thing to me! ?
Learn to touch type
When I was in Year 10, it was the late 1980s and I learnt to touch type on a rickety old typewriter. We had these black, tea-towel-like things we had to place over our hands as we learnt the placement of the keys.
I’m so glad I chose that class over woodwork or graphics. I might not have ended up with one of nifty wooden pencil boxes, but I gained a skill for life that has served me well every single day.
While at uni, I worked as a media monitor and had to summarise news bulletins. My touch typing speed doubled in a matter of weeks out of sheer need and repetition.
Perhaps the most obvious way to learn how to write faster is to focus on upping your typing speed. While my brother is quite speedy with his 4-finger efforts, he eats my dust. If only he’d learned to touch type with all of his digits, he’d be a match for me. I type like Rocky attacking a speedball.
There are plenty of free online programs that can help you learn how to touch type. And plenty more that offer speed tests. Check your typing speed. When I’m on a roll, I’m in the 100+ wpm zone.
Use 2 screens
Using 2 monitors changed my life. I turned up to a new job back in 2008 with 2 monitors set up on my desk. I could never go back and hate working on my laptop with its small, single screen when I’m away from home.
It saves me so much time because there is much less flicking between tabs and programs while I’m working.
When writing, I work with Scrivener, MS Word, or the WordPress editor on one screen, and access my research and data on the other.
It prevents disruption to my flow, making me write faster.
Monitors have come down in price that they’re quire cheap these days. When we set up our home office last year after returning from our 3-year stint in Korea, we paid around $A150 for each monitor.
If you’re working from a laptop now, adding a second monitor will have the same benefits, helping you improve your writing speed by reducing the need to switch between programs and tabs.
Dictate your words
We can all speak much faster than we can write.
But can we truly ‘write’ via the spoken word faster than we can type? I’m not sure.
Speaking our words rather than typing them are 2 very different ways of using our brains. It can take some time to adjust to dictating your words and I’m not there yet. Have a conversation with me and you’ll soon realise that I write much more eloquently than I speak!
You might find, like me, that the time you gain while dictating your words is lost if you have to do more revision. Still, it can be a good way to maximise your time and dictate your thoughts while doing other non-brain-draining tasks like walking or vacuuming.
There are some fabulous free tools around for dictating our words, like Otter.ai or the voice typing function in Google Docs, and even Word now offers a Dictate function.
Kill your inner editor
First drafts are meant to be crap. Words to live by.
If you want to improve your writing speed, then ditch revisions until you’ve finished your first draft. Writing and editing are 2 completely different brain tasks and switching between the 2 processes slows your writing down.
I used to get stuck thinking of a particular word and couldn’t move on until I found it. But to keep up my flow, I now type a ridiculous word or phrase that I can search for and replace later—like ‘sparkly giraffe’ or ‘lampshade footwear’. To keep your flow going in these situations, choose an odd expression and stick with it in your document. Just keep the momentum going.
How to write faster and better
Challenge yourself to a word sprint with another writer or colleague. There’s nothing quite like a bit of healthy competition to get your speed up and ditch the revision process.
Use a pomodoro timer and see how many words you can smash out in 25 minutes. Have a short break and then do it again. I do this with some of business friends when I need help to stay accountable and focused.
To help me write better by picking up pesky typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors, I use ProWritingAid. I like it a lot more than Grammarly.
I use HemingwayApp to help me pick up instances where I’ve used the passive voice, or to check sentence length.
VisibleThread is my favourite tool for making sure I meet readability targets when working on client projects.
What are your tips for smashing out a blog post faster?
This post contains affiliate links for products I use and love: DepositPhotos and ProWritingAid. If you click the link and buy from the provider, I end up with a small commission at no extra cost to you.