Curing Slow Writeritus

Buffy writes, “My problem is that it can take me several days to write even one short article. How in the world am I ever going to be able to do this article marketing thing if it takes me forever to write a single article?”

Good question… let’s put on our night running shoes and go slay some writers block demons: First, if you are taking several days to write a short 500 word article, girlfriend what are you doing with your time? Do this: Get a stop watch near your computer. Set an intention and goal to write 200 words per hour (to start with). Break it up into 50 words per 15 minute segments if you have to. Force yourself to crank out the first 15 minutes of this writing exercise.

Writing articles is like any muscle…the more you use it, the stronger you become at writing quality content very quickly. Personally, the only time I slow down my writing pace is when I’m lost, unfocused, and don’t have a clear purpose for why I’m writing. When that happens, I take a few steps back, look at the big picture to consider why the article I’m writing is important and who I’m hoping to influence or impact with the content.

How about you? Do you have a cure for the slow article writing blues?

22 Comments »


1
David Saunders writes:

When I feel stuck, I put on my headset and use the voice dictation software built into Windows XP. No matter how much I train it, the recognition is so-so at best, but the up side is that I can speak 500 words standing on my head! Next, I do an extensive editing process. The words are most likely spelled correctly even though they’re not the words you really said. This means you don’t have Word’s little red squiggles to give you clues as to where there might be a problem. Sometimes decoding a sentence is a chore, but I think the net-time spent is less and I enjoy how the articles come out.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 6:39 AM

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2
Tammy writes:

That’s great advice, Chris. I’d add these ideas:

– Don’t worry about writing in sequence. Start anywhere that motivates you. I often start somewhere in the middle of the article and write the beginning at the end.

– Find a different place to write. If you have a laptop, take it outside, to the local coffee shop, to your favorite inspirational spot.

– Write a lot. When I started blogging, I sometimes struggled to come up with new ideas. Within a few months I almost couldn’t contain the list of ideas I have for topics. More writing creates more ideas.

Hope these help!

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 6:41 AM

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3

I trained myself to write short articles in the least amount of time by reading articles over and over. (Actually they were Chris’s Top 7 articles from Top7Business.com.) Try it as a warmup before penning yours… it may just do the trick.

This works because a “properly written” Top 7 article has a distinct rhythm or beat to it. After reading about 10 of them, you start to “feel” this beat, or shall I say “hear the voice” of the short, list-style article.

A Top 7 Article is simply a list of 7 points, each containing two or three supporting sentences. Tack on an intro and a conclusion, and you’ve got yourself a solid Web article.

It occurred to me that I had been writing this type of copy for many years, only the companies I worked for didn’t call it an “article.” It’s very similar to informative catalog copy.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 7:05 AM

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4
Bill Gluth writes:

I find that research on the topic I am writing about really helps get me unstuck.

New ideas is the water in the river of article writing I think. Taking them in will inspire and motivate anyone with new thoughts and inspiration.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 7:28 AM

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5
Michael Russell writes:

When all else fails – hire someone :-)

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 7:40 AM

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6
Edward Weiss writes:

You have to get past the internal critic first. At least that’s the way I see it. When I write articles, I don’t care if they’re good, bad, whatever. I just write it out first, then edit (barely) afterwards. Usually what I do is just pick a title I want to write about then bang out the article.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 10:59 AM

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7
Lance Winslow writes:

My thoughts on this are;

1.) Tell yourself writers block does not exist; deny its existence.

2.) When you think of something to write about; write down a title at that instant and three sentences of why you want to write the article. No matter where you are carry a pad and pen. When you get home make the title and space out the three sentences down the page about equal distance to a paragraph or so. It will remind you of your points while you are writing. Remember you talk at 100 to 180 words per minute and you think in pictures at some 500 words a second, so you have to write it down and elabotate later.

3.) Choose topics in your area of interests, which you find ironic, others will find interest in this stuff too, thus better topics then use the ‚¬“write down the title first theory‚¬

4.) When something gets you angry start writing about it. It is easy to transfer negative energy into positive energy. For instance if you see people suffering from Hurricane Katrina, someone littering, being mean to their pet, acting rude or kids on skateboards being thrown out of shopping centers write about it. Use those experiences as analogies in your business articles, self-help or describing another situation.

5.) Start your article by asking questions, then proceed to answer them and you elaborate on them and you will have written a paragraph of questions before you know it and it will take you several more to answer them.

6.) When children ask you simple questions, find the brilliance in those questions and make your answers into articles. Explain the answers in simple English and write about them.

7.) When your friends tell you stories about their observations or customers ask you questions about your business; answer them and then make them into articles.

8.) Take your emails to friends and use those to get your articles going. Take a paragraph or two out of the email and elaborate or attempt to use it in an article in a creative way. Doing this is simple it is like finishing an already written email or thought.

9.) Dina’s summation of writing Top 7 articles is correct, they are truly easy to do. Write 1-7 and start filling them in with one to two sentences each. You may find that most of them with proper elaboration and examples or stories behind them will end up entire 4-5 paragraph articles by themselves, plus you already have the 1-7 articles by adding an intro-paragraph in the beginning and a summary paragraph at the end.

10.) If you ask yourself questions, then answer your own question you will have an article very quickly. Write down the question and then think of a instance or situation that occurred to illustrate that point.

11.) If you are hung up on writing write about yourself or an event that happened to you or a scenario you dealt with, write it as a story from another perspective as if it was someone else and you were telling the story. People do this all the time and often these stories make good articles.

12.) When you forget you articles direction, put yourself back in time and place to where you were when you considered writing the story, it should all come back to you, this works if you forgot to write that thought down.

13.) Always have 10-100 article titles and three lines each in word files in a folder on your computer. When you are stuck, simply pick the one you think would be the most fun to write. Start writing, if you come to a point where you cannot write anymore close it and open another. I have had 150 articles half done at times and then one day when I am in a major writing mood, I simply go finish 20-40 of them all in the same day.

14.) Read more articles, magazines in your industry, books and keep that notepad nearby, it is very easy to go from reading to writing within minutes, especially when you have a brilliant thought.

15.) Turn on the Discovery Channel and watch for 15-20 minutes, see if you can use a circumstance on TV as a way to explain your topic as an example or similarity, then turn off TV and start writing immediately.

These are simply a few of the many ways I have discovered to stay in the zone. You must experiment for yourself, but remember; Everything is an article and you must deny writer’s block. Pretend it does not exist. This post will be turned into 16 articles. Do you see my points?

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 3:27 PM

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8
Audrey Okaneko writes:

Many of my articles are about scrapbooking. I felt like I could not possibly come up with one more topic. I was offered an awesome suggestion. Find and read message boards about scrapbooking. Read the questions being asked. If someone is asking the question, there’s a darn good chance someone else is searching for that very answer, so write an article that answers the question. I’ve found a few topics by doing just that.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 4:33 PM

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9
Pamela Beers writes:

Keep a journal. Write about whateer pops into your head. You can start with one sentence a day. Then two the next day. Pretty soon you’ll be getting into the habit of writing every day.

Look out the window, and write about what your see and hear, using your senses (sight, sound. touch, taste, & smell) can create some interesting prose.

Write about what you do best. If it’s cooking, share your favorite 30-minute meal. (Or in my case, 5-minute meal.)

Just remember, there is a story around every corner with loads of information to match.

Check out my website for more writing tips. http://www.pamelabeers.com

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 5:04 PM

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10
Lance Winslow writes:

Audrey Okaneko,

I put my scrapbooks online for PR reasons for our company. Write an article about that? Without the scrapbooks, I would never have had all the material to do this. Should small businesses have scrapbooks? Can scrapbooks be used tell a company history? Converting your scrapbooks to digital for your MySpace.com site. There are hundreds of more articles for scrapbooks. “Why I love Scrapbooks”; “How to Use Scrapbooks in Your Small Business”; “Using Scrapbooks to help you get funding for your company”; “Scrapbooks can tell a story for your Non-Profit”; “Without a Scrapbook how will your grandchildren’s kids know you?” If you do not write these articles; I will! Because these are good articles that people will like to read!

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 5:22 PM

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11

An even more off/on topic question: Is there enough demand for us to add a “Scrapbooking” category by itself?

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 5:25 PM

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12
Lance Winslow writes:

Personally Chris, I think Audrey has really hit on something here. Scrapbooking is HUGE these days. I know my Mom started me early and bought scrapbooks and put stuff in for me, after HS I continued them. Soooo many people do scrapbooks. I really believe that Audrey’s Industry Sub-sector needs its own category. She mentioned “Scrapbook Forums” and having been in the Franchising Industry; I know there are Scrapbook Franchisees and many GREAT Business Opportunities in Scrapbooking. There is demand, readership and it would make sense. Hey, BTW- I was checking out Audrey’s articles, can authors nominate article writers for the “Author Spotlight” as I am learning a lot about Scrapbooking from her articles, but now I have even more questions. Audrey’s comments on how to find questions by reading forum posts and using those for Article Subjects is brilliant. I think I am going to use that advice myself to get new article subjects.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 5:45 PM

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13
Audrey Okaneko writes:

Lance,

Thanks for the compliments. You are my motivation to write 8000 articles. I’ve read many of your articles and love them. They are short, right to the point and offer a suggestion, idea or perspective to consider.

Chris,

Some of the directories I submit to do have a scrapbooking category, some do not.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 6:43 PM

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14
Edward Weiss writes:

Scrapbooking is HUGE! I wish I was into it so I create a website and gather the flocks unto me. I would definitely include scrapbooking as a category.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 6:53 PM

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15

Consider it done. Scrapbooking will be a new future category.

We’re working on multiple new site redesigns for the past few weeks to figure out how we can add more categories without looking really crappy.

If ya’all will be patient with us, I think you’ll be blown away with what we have on deck.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 7:01 PM

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16
Audrey Okaneko writes:

Chris,

Will my aticles automatically be moved to the new category?

Lance,

I’ve written two articles tonight on topics you suggested. Give me a few days to submit them. I really like them to sit two days, then reread them, make changes and then submit.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 7:04 PM

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17

Yes, but patience grasshopper. :-)

We’ll be dedicating a few dozen hours of editorial labor to move articles around as new and more narrowly-defined sub-categories are introduced.

Hint: We’ll be doing article title searches looking for scrapbooking keywords and those will get moved.

But, know this: It really doesn’t matter in the big picture of things. If we thought adding more categories would lead to more traffic to your articles, we’d have thousands of categories right now. It’s not completely illrelevant, but more relevant to author perceived value than actual technical traffic attraction value due to the way our site attracts and generates traffic.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 7:11 PM

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18
Audrey Okaneko writes:

Ok Lance, I wrote 5 articles tonight. I need them to sit a day or two and then correct my typos and add words where I knew what I was saying but someone else might not LOL. Thank you so much for your thought starters….two of the 5 articles are about business scrapbooks.

I know many of your articles are on business, http://www.aardvarkbusiness.net/chat/index.php here’s a forum I’ve belonged to for several years now. You’ll find lots of great topics there.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 8:04 PM

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19
Angie Pedersen writes:

GREAT idea for an article category! Lance and Audrey are right — scrapbooking IS huge! Like $3 billion industry huge. I’m actually preparing to teach at a scrapbooking trade show in October, and thousands of people will be there.

Chris, I would consider putting out a press release about the addition of a scrapbooking article category. I don’t think there’s another ‘mainstream’ article directory that has a category specifically for scrapbooking. Arts & Crafts, yes. Hobbies, yes. Specifically scrapbooking, no.

Now I just need to get my material together for this new category! ;)

[Thanks for the heads up on this discussion, Dina!]

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 9:07 PM

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20
Lance Winslow writes:

Audrey, thanks, yes that is a cool site to read threads and get ideas. Smart thinking this will help me fill up my Business Article Categories. The more I think about it the more I love this idea of reading Forum Questions and Comments.

Audrey and thanks for mentioning Scrapbooking, as it is something that so many business entrepreneurs do not consider. I digitized many of my Scrapbook articles and put them onto my website. We call it the Car Wash Guys Museum;

http://www.carwashguys.com/history/museum1.shtml

Most small businesses do not take advantage of this, although I see some businesses do and have a scrapbook on their counter with special non-acid pages and laminate to protect their scraps, articles and pictures. It is smart for all businesses to do this. ALL businesses should keep a ScrapBook History, you never know when it can help you with funding for growth of your business or increase your goodwill with important or relatively new clientele. It is like a portfolio for an artists and therefore it tells a story in pictures. I am Very PRO-Scrapbooking and it is also kind of fun to go throw incase you ever forget who you are or from Hense you came. It is all good to me.

Oh and BTW – Audrey you are wise to allow your articles dwell time, it makes for cleaner articles. In Fleet Washing of Company Truck Fleets and Buses our company always calculated the dwell time for a perfect job. I believe with articles it is the same thing, so 2-3 days to think them over and come back for pecise editing makes a lot of sense to me.

Comment provided August 29, 2006 at 11:25 PM

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21
Audrey Okaneko writes:

Lance,

I flipped through your articles and saw one with a title of “Montecito”. Coincidence I wondered? Nope, not at all. I live in Santa Barbara. We are neighbors :)

Comment provided August 30, 2006 at 5:52 AM

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22
Lance Winslow writes:

Audrey, I love Santa Barbara and have done much business there on both sides of town, my brother use to own Java Jones Coffee Shop in Isla Vista. Great weather in Santa Barbara and fun stuff to do on State Street and the Beaches are great, mountains close by, everything is great in Santa Barabara.

Comment provided August 30, 2006 at 11:54 AM

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