Article Writing Stopwatch Strategy

Writing quality original articles is a great investment of time and when you use the “Stopwatch Strategy,” you’ll be amazed at how much time you can shave off the process of writing your next set of articles.

The Stopwatch Strategy: Get yourself an inexpensive stopwatch or desk clock. Become aware of your article writing baseline by simply timing how long it takes you to write, edit and then upload an article. Challenge yourself to shave 5-10 minutes off the process until you’re down into the 20-40 minutes per article range.

Why this strategy works: It helps to bring your focus on the task at hand. When we do research or have multiple interruptions, it becomes very difficult to write efficiently. Using the stopwatch strategy, you honor your time more effectively by being consciously aware if you’re on task or not…and then returning your focus to the task at hand to accomplish writing your next quality original article in less time.

If you write 250 articles in a year and you’re able to shave off 10 minutes per article due to becoming aware of your production rate, that becomes 41.6 hours you’ve just reclaimed that can be used to write more articles or go do something else you’d like to do.

Have you ever tried this strategy and has it worked for you?



Well first of all – great graphic! Do yo do those or have someone create them for you?

I’ve never used a stop watch tho it is a good idea. I just check the time on my computer when I start and the time after I have submitted the article. KNOWING I can write, edit and submit a great article in 20 – 30 minutes keeps me focused on the task at hand and allows me to write as much as I do.

If I give you credit, can I teach your “Stopwatch Strategy” in my upcoming Article Writing and Marketing Secrets course?

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 2:53 PM


Audrey Okaneko writes:

Some articles I write, the words just pour out of me. Other articles, I need to look up facts, or do a bit of research. So…some articles are done in 10 minutes, others can take an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever taken more than an hour to write one article.

After they are written, I put them away and then read them a few days later. Often I need to change a few words to be a bit more clear in my message.

Then I send them off.

Audrey :)

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:04 PM




Sure, you can use this strategy with your clients.

We have a few talented folks in-house that can create some pretty cool graphics with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:06 PM




Can you send me one of those nice EzineArticles stop watches you use to illustrate here. Preferably gratis because I’m such a nice guy, or for a nice low and affordable price.

With your ‘work watch on the table beside me, I can do even better.

If you can’t produce these, how about a nice software version of your stop-watch, made by your wonderful programmers you have?

I’m for real here!

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:14 PM


Ronald Doherty writes:

Great idea and great habit to get into.

Another great idea, as used by Stephen King, is to sit down and write 1000 words a day. I did it for 6 months and it is the best single thing I have ever done for my writing.

At first it took about 8 hours and had lots of “I have now writtne, (that is a typo) written, (but it counts in the word count), 750 words, so I have 250 to go.”
By the end of the 6 months, most times I would go into “flow” and write 1000 high quality words in about 35 minutes.

The stop watch idea is uses the same sort of application and focusing.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:15 PM


Josh Spaulding writes:

I’ve never done it exactly like that, but it’s a great idea. I can normally write and submit an article in about 30 minutes but when I first began the stop-watch method would have been great.

Great advice!

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:17 PM



Hello from beautiuful Montana:

I recently attended the Mega Book thing in LA and Alex Mandosian said that his income tripled when he started giving himself a block of 50 uninterrupted focus minutes to work on a project. When the timer went off, he got up and walked around, went to the bathroom, had a snack etc. He said when he realized how much he was scattering his minutes and focus, it was an eye-opener. So I have been trying it and it works!! I do 50 minutes of research and then take a 10 minute break. I write for 50 minutes without checking email or answering the phone and I can really crank it out.

I am so far behind in my article writing, I am just about to set the timer for a 50 minute focus on that! Expect a bunch of stuff coming in Chris.

Judy H. Wright

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:26 PM


JoAnn Dahan writes:

I do use that strategy when I teach my puppy training classes for children. I time the children to train their puppies for five minutes and no longer. It keeps the kids sharp and the puppy alert. I also use that method when I’m cleaning the house for when someone is coming over it makes me work fast without getting too picky. I never thought to use it when writing, I’ll give it a try.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:31 PM


Irvin Young writes:

Outstanding idea! Time management is everso important. How long have you been using this technique?

Thanks for sharing this information, it will come in mighty handy for me.


Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 3:56 PM




I’ve used this strategy myself for at least the past decade.

Whenever I’m writing copy, producing email newsletters, writing new blog entries, or when I’m completing other tasks that are time-intensive… this helps me to focus my attention on getting the job done quicker.

You can also apply this strategy to NEW ARTICLE IDEA BRAINSTORMING or DECISION MAKING applications… so rather than go for an unlimited amount of time, you force yourself or hold yourself accountable to a defined and realistic time frame.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 4:03 PM


Edward Weiss writes:

I actually like Ronald’s idea better. There are 2 ways you can “do” a task. By setting the time as in Chris’s example, or by setting the task as in Ronalds’ goal of writing 1000 words a day.

I find the task aspect easier and more effective. When I write articles my task is to find a subject, create a spiffy headline and blast out 350 words or so. This usually takes me no more than 10 minutes.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 4:23 PM




Over the course of many years I have written my thousand words a day, a meditation a day, and so on. I have kept myself working a certain amount of minutes.

Of course the goal is to do concentrated work. But I have found that PASSION is the best way to go. I make sure that other things do not get in the way when a writing idea is pushing through me to be expressed.

Therefore I don’t have to time myself or concentrate myself. I don’t use ego. I use source energy. What I am meant to write I write. I don’t have an external goal to make money first and to write for making money. I write the creative ideas coming through me. If they are important to me they will be important to someone else.

The same is true for my exercise. I used to practice Aikido in the dojo at least three times a week. I made myself go. However, finally I came to the place where I enjoyed it. So at 73 I still try to play tennis three times a week and do sword practice almost every day in the back yard. I do this healthy exercise because I enjoy it.

It just has to be said also that there may be a better way, the creative way, the way of the creator, which is to open to passion and write when and as long as needed. My sessions can be somewhat structured according to plan. I write every day, but I write because I have something to say from deep inside me.

Therefore I recommend to writers that they develop writing from Passion, when the fire strikes write. Don’t eat, don’t pick up the kids, don’t make love, don’t go shopping, don’t go to bed, don’t sleep, don’t make it to an appointment, unless you absolutely have to, don’t answer the phone or emails, write!


We are talking about years of living life and creating. Evaluate what you take on as life-long habits. You could hurt yourself.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 4:50 PM



Hi Chris!

I think this Stopwatch Strategy is useful when we have to write too much about too many subjects, but I don’t like it. Writing with an eye in the watch is not my style! If I had to write many articles this way I would feel like a machine! I prefer to write fewer articles but very good ones than many of them but without really useful information. Of course, the best is to write many good articles in only a few minutes! But if it’s not possible, I believe we have to care more for their quality. This way we are respecting our readers, working in order to help them and give them the information they need – not only trying to sell our product. They can perceive this intention!

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 4:56 PM


WAI WONG writes:


Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 6:34 PM


Doc Kane writes:


I too employ this method and, indeed, it does allow one to focus immensely on the task at hand as well as track with incredible accuracy the time it takes to do just about anything. I began using the technique as a sales guy after listening to a talk by Hans Florine, the world’s fastest climber.

Whenever I start a new process I always have my stopwatch nearby so I can learn just how long it takes me to do something. Then with that knowledge, I can quote more accurately AND schedule my projects more accurately.

There’s nothing better than knowing exactly how long it will take to do a project when a prospective client comes to me and says: “Hey, I have some work for you. . .can you help? And how much time do you think you’ll need?”

9 out of 10 times I can give them an estimate on time that is right on schedule. I love my stopwatch!


Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 7:00 PM



Strephon & All,

I polled our editors before I sent today’s post because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being unrealistic with the 20-40 minute window for article creation.

They came back with that it was totally realistic especially when you’re *in flow* and oooooozing with words that just have to get out of your brain and into electrons in your article document.

This thread is about balance because obviously we don’t want articles hammered out for the sake of doing them as fast as possible with no concerns over quality. That’s not going to cut it because the crap level is so high these days that marginal or ‘thin’ articles just aren’t going to cut it any more.

The message is: Write as passionate and as fast as you can crank out QUALITY original articles that after you submit, you can rest easily at night knowing that your reader will think highly of you.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 7:04 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

You can write a decent 350 – 400 word article in 10 minutes and edit in another 5 – 6 minutes, no problem. I have found when I try to keep the total under ten minutes that the articles come out a little screwy. So, it is best to think in terms of 45 minutes and under then when you get better go for 30 minutes and when you get really good you can handle 20-25, but I will tell you it takes a lot of practice to stay consistently under 20 minutes. You can do it when you are in the zone, but the trick is consistency too.

Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 8:54 PM


Jan Verhoeff writes:

The majority of articles I write are done in ten to fifteen minutes. I spend about five minutes editing, rephrasing, formatting, and publish 3 – 5 times in the next ten minutes.

Usually, this is all first thing in the morning, however, lately I’ve been randomly pulling an hour out of the day to write articles.

Sunday morning, I wrote an ebook, edited it, and published it in three hours, and managed to get to church for the early service. I’m not telling you what time I woke up, but I didn’t skip breakfast either.

I also use a stop watch – timer. Set the timer for whatever action I intend to pursue and go for the ticker.

I set the stop watch for three hours Sunday morning – expecting to just get the first several chapters out — I ended up with more than 15 pages, detailed and formatted, ready to publish.

I was using a five point article as the foundation for the ebook, so all my headings were already written.

IF you want to see my handy work – it’s a freeby for my new site, click on my name above.


Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 11:51 PM



Go Jan go!


Comment provided April 25, 2007 at 11:57 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

One Tip I Would Like To Share is that when I write an eBook I make a title page real quick and put a picture on it. Then think about the subject a little bit and write the Table of Contents, using a “Template” and then as I am writing the Table of contents, I create all the headings in the table of contents with a mini-space paragraph between each for formatting. Next, I go into each of the Sub-chapters and slip in other sub-titles between them. As you write the book each sub-title of each sub-chapter of each chapter can be an article.

The reason I mention this is because you get two for one. Also realize if each article you write is placed in different categories on then they are spread out and mixed up all over the place as bite size articles and cannot be pieced together incase you choose to sell the eBook online. My current eBook is 228 pages and I will be done in less than an hour. A four-day exercise that has turned into 5-days with editing.

What Jan is describing also works well, I TOTALLY agree, make an article and use bullets and lists in it. Then use this to make your table of contents from. Then each bullet becomes a chapter, which can be flushed out with sub-headings, sub-chapters and sub-titles. You know once you do a few you can get really good at it. I find it takes more time to edit them and format them so they break right and the pictures look good. And folks if you do not have the new Microsoft Word 2007, then get it, it helps.

Some of the sub-titles or sub-headings make decent blog content with a little extra “happiness” friendly talk mixed in. Now you get “Three for One” as you get maybe 5-10 blog post topics, 50 articles and one eBook. Do not waste time otherwise you will forever be making excuses for yourself. This is not to say that you should live by the clock, but rather to say that you should respect yourself, your friends, your country, your money, your time and children of the world.

eBook Example: Above go ahead and click on my name.

Comment provided April 26, 2007 at 12:55 AM


Valentin writes:

Thanks God! I see term “strategy” used as it is!
“Acumulate resources to achieve the long term objective.”
Time is money…
Tactical planning of the number of resouces is another story…

Comment provided April 26, 2007 at 12:59 AM


Effie Mor writes:

I learned to use timers as a chef for training methods and general use, and now i find it brings the same results in writing. So, Yes I’ve discovered that putting time limits on my work creates a more serious focus towards the project. The timer also seems to encourage more intense effort than just watching the clock. It’s a way of controlling the work schedule to pump out the most productivity. So yeah I love this method to help with an outlined project piece.

Comment provided April 26, 2007 at 2:10 AM



Hey Lance!
To borrow from the “Guinness-in-the-bottle commercials”……brilliant!

Would you be willing to share with us the “template” you use for the table of contents?


Comment provided April 26, 2007 at 5:23 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Absolutely, I am willing to share that with anyone interesting in making eBooks.

The Template I use is from Microsoft Office 2007 Templates Online, which I modified using a Thesis Template Style so I can add in the information for research, not everyone will wish to do this, but for the types of stuff that I do, I need it incase someone challenges me on anything, I have a back-up and references in the back.

I like the Template I use and am willing to email it to anyone who wants it in a Word 2007 file and they need to understand that it is a “.docx” rather than a “.doc” so if they have an old version of Word they will not be able to use my modified template format.

However if someone has MS Word 2007 then I can mail them anyone one of my eBooks and they can simply change the title page to “Item – page number” and use that as their permanent template for all their eBooks. I have a system now I created and it works killer. For instance if I am writing on a subject I know a lot about. I simply start typing and leave space to check facts, references and keep going.

For those who specialize in a certain business they can do the same thing very easily. To email me click on my name above. And then at the bottom of that page on my website is an email link;

“Ask Lance a Question”

And I will email you the MS 2007 Word template and an eBook in a word file if you prefer that to modify it to make your own template like I did. Glad to help out where I can, I too had the same issue and I had to do it myself and learn the hard way and that caused me to procrastinate on writing these eBooks previously, but not anymore. Because once you have the tools you can kick butt. And you also will have tons more articles if you use my other concept of “Triple Play” usage of your “Key Strokes” and that in itself ought to be a whole article. Never waste Key-strokes, when returning emails, write in paragraphs and lift the text onto a word file and save it for article content later. I never waste anything. Total efficiency. Anyone can do it, all they have to do is think; “Efficiency and Performance” and then use the right tools.

Oh and BTW Jeff, if you want to write an eBook on “How to Write eBooks” then we ought to put our minds together and really create something killer that will work for everyone. More articles, multiple formats to get information out, blog post material. Man it is ALL Good!

Comment provided April 26, 2007 at 5:59 AM


Jan Verhoeff writes:

All the successful people I know work a lot on pre-dawn time… lol

Lance, I have that template on my other computers, but the Microsoft Word/Office program I have won’t translate to the new computer, so I haven’t upgraded this one yet. I work in Works only on this one. My daughter’s laptop only has a basic TEXT program though, and I’ve ‘created’ on all three. The ebook I posted on my site (available for FREE with a sign up for my newsletter) is How to Write Your Own Ebook – in ANY word processor.

I offer basic details about formatting and editing, using very simple technology. I do give information about adding photos, but even that is a simple procedure and almost any text processor will handle it.

Of course it gets a little wordy, because it is written as a basic format, introducing tips and ideas, without the jamming of information, to show that anyone, technical or not, can create an ebook with value. (And my writing is a little wordy anyways – I like to talk – and I crave attention – my admission for the day.)

Jeff, you’re welcome to review the ebook if you’d like.

I also have a very detailed ebook going about How to Create an Ebook — with more information, jam packed with articles, ideas, subtitles, and more. If you two might be interested in collaborating?


Comment provided April 26, 2007 at 6:26 AM




My main source of marketing is through this vehicle of Article Writing. Thanks for the tip, I’m going to try it out this morning.

One of the problems I had when I started was dealing with all the other ideas I had come up while writing. Everytime I sit down to write an article I will easily get at least 5 new article ideas. I will even find myself getting new product or website ideas as I write. This can be very distracting and causes me to ‘bounce around’ instead of focusing on the article at hand.

I finally implemented a simple way of capturing those new projects, while they were fresh. So, now I’m free to very quickly record all my ideas in one place, so I don’t loose them. I’m also able to stay on track now and see my family business articles come to completion much more quickly.

Thanks for your great sites!
Joe Shaw – The Family Business Guy

Comment provided April 26, 2007 at 9:54 AM


Robert D writes:

Sheesh… I think there’s something seriously wrong with me… It takes me a half an hour just to bang out a good headline. Reading some of the posts here… 10 minutes per article??? 5 minutes to edit??? Man oh man, all I can say is ‘WOW’.

I also think Ronald’s [Stephen King] idea of writing 1000 words a day is great. Does writing “I’m the best writer on the face of the earth” 100 times every day count? ..heh heh… :o)

Comment provided April 29, 2007 at 10:30 AM


Jan Verhoeff writes:

Robert — Don’t get too excited over how long it currently takes you to write an article. Learning to write great articles at high speed takes a bit of time.


Comment provided April 29, 2007 at 10:33 PM


Audrey Okaneko writes:


I have weeks I don’t write at all. There are just no words. Other days, I sit down and the next thing I know I have 10 articles.

Right now, I have about 6 articles started…a title and a first paragraph. I don’t force myself to write. Reading this thread maybe I should LOL. When I next feel creative in my writing, I’ll pull out those 6 articles and finish them off.

Audrey :)

Comment provided April 30, 2007 at 10:21 AM




Even though I’ve written thousands of articles over the years, I’ve never been able to crank out a quality article under 40 minutes including editing time.

Usually my best 800+ word articles take a full hour to 90 minutes with editing… with 400+ word articles taking about 25-40 minutes.

Comment provided April 30, 2007 at 11:54 AM



I’ve being thinking about article writing! And it’s interesting to read what my colleague writers (that are in the net for a long time) have to say about it, because I’m a newbie. So, I have a lot to learn. However, I’m a very old writer! Thinking again about the stopwatch and writing articles in only 15 minutes, I believe it depends on the article’s style. If it is only exposing a problem or some facts, it can be done in 15 minutes, but if it is solving a problem, giving new interesting information to its readers and especially giving advices, the article can take 3 hours! I prefer the second kind of article that takes time, but gives solutions to the people that care about reading them.

Comment provided April 30, 2007 at 12:09 PM


Robert D writes:

I was just going to say the same thing, Chris.

Although I haven’t written thousands of articles, for me, it’s just a matter of sheer physical labor. I can only type about 35 words per minute –which isn’t that bad really. I remember 30 WPM was enough to pass a high school typing course I took several decades ago so I don’t think I’m that bad of a typist. So, crunching the numbers here, at 35 WPM I can crank out about 350 words in ten minutes.

BUT… and this is a big BUT… those 350 words would have to be PURE GOLD right from the get-go every single time and I honestly don’t think I could ever do that. I might get lucky once in a blue moon but to pull it off consistently… Hmmmm…

So personally speaking –and with all due respect– I find it hard to believe anyone could be at the top of their game writing articles consistently within a 10 minute time limit. To write passable articles, sure, but to be at one’s absolute creative best consistently within 10 minutes…. I don’t know.. Hats off to you if you can pull it off. I doubt I could ever do that though.

That being said, I would definitely like to reduce my article writing time as I think my 2 hour average is too long.

Comment provided April 30, 2007 at 12:14 PM



To All,

What about quality?

I’ve never heard of doing writing before based on the least amount of time you could put into doing a piece?

To me it says something about the quality of life today. The fastest, the mostest, the better.

My articles burn at fifteen minutes to half an hour first draft. Then I have to listen to them read to me by the computer as I make corrections and add things. So half an hour to 57 minutes is what it takes me.

Seriously though, can someone explain the statistics used for authors here?

Rankings? What does that mean? Number of readers? Seems like it can’t mean much becuase there is no comparison to a determined standard.

If an aricle gets 47 views and another 3000 views, I wonder if there is a way to compare to orther ezine writers here, or in a subject field. Am I in the middle somewhere?

Divide total views of all aritcles by number of articles and you get something.

What is an average read over six months for a ‘poor’ article? 20 views? For a really appreciated article? 3000 views?

Tennis pros get ranked with a system. They think it works.

I just don’t see a rank based on standards here. I’m not saying it’s not here, I just don’t know about it.

It’s another kind of question but relevant. An article can be made of quality and quantity.

Whose is the biggest brain in the community?

The only major statistic seems to be who has written the most articles? That’s easy. Who has lived the longest on earth? But what does it say about the writer or the quality of the work output, or the quality of the life lived?

I have my own standards of course, but still!

Comment provided April 30, 2007 at 1:38 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

To Robert D,

I agree with your summation totally and since I have the most practice and was a barely passable typist in HS, although today, I must be at least 50-60 WPM now (practice – not choice). I would say that it is not easy to “Consistently” do articles in 10-minutes, although I have done them before. Sometimes you get luckly and your words are perfect or just flow.

Luckily I think in terms of pictures – visual and just try to get all the words out onto the page as fast as I think and try to keep up just a little bit. I can sit down and do 15-18 minute articles for hours on end now consistently. Again practice, but 10-minute articles is tough, sometimes you can get a string of them going, but not for hours on end. Nor should you try unless your brain is on fire and screaming at redline, then by all means KEEP GOING.

Robert, you are totally correct. 10-minutes consistently is a tough nut to crack. I suppose it is NOT impossible, but I cannot do it yet. So, I absolutely agree with you.

Comment provided April 30, 2007 at 2:55 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

To: Strephon Kaplan-Williams

Strephon, I tend to agree with what you are saying and I suppose that a Reporter who is always on Deadline perpetually might be able to keep the quality and the speed up on each article, through training, reflex and practice, like your fast sword routines. But just like that, certainly not easy.

With regards to a standard rating system. That too is tough, as remember in the US the average reading level is 8th grade. Sometimes people tell me my articles are too basic? Well, tell the reader, because they read them. Likewise you comments on which articles get the most article views is irrelevant to quality because most articles that are titled well and popular internet subjects people are searching for get the most traffic.

I had one with two mistakes in it and it got 67,000 article views on hair style. Silly really, and article quality has nothing to do with the reality of quality of wordsmithmanship. Any formula which took into consideration such things using an AI computer would be problematic and if it is done by a human, well they are arbitrary and very slow in grading (cost prohibitive).

Also if you graded on spelling and sentence structure then all the newest articles with Industry buzz words would get a bad grade due to words not in the dictionary and the computer would assume mistakes or bad sentence structure plus bad spelling too.

Indeed like you, a thinking man, I am not saying it cannot be done, fore it may be possible and we could design a standardized, fairly tough to manipulate Artificially Intelligent grading systems, but it would take a lot of thinking. If the system was too hard to cheat then no one would bother to try, because for that amount of effort they could go legit and simply write a better article, thus tilting the scale in their favor anyway.

I would say that NO component of the AI Article Grading Systems (AIAGS) should take into consideration article views, unless the article views were pitted against only articles in an averaging sequence of ALL article in that specific category first and then taking that component or numerical value and adding it to the other components to be graded and then averaging those too on a reasonable common sense scale. So, perhaps it can be done, but it would take some solid math and clear headed reality based thinking to do it. Maybe we should try?

Comment provided April 30, 2007 at 3:12 PM



Lance, yes, I agree with there might be a way as you describe.

First, there are statistical analyses, I believe that separate categories. Like in measurement tests, such as IQ tests. Are there mutually exclusive categories? If the numbers show this then you see how these numbers and categories relate to the external world.

So are the ezine directory categories here mutually exclusive where the carry over into other related subject areas is less than the concentration traits of the subject area itself?

Writing for a category means it is statistically proven to be a mutually exclusive category.

Then within that category will be a number of articles by different writers. Take the sum total of the articles and views and divide one by the other to get average views per article. Then when you as a writer have this done for only you and not the category you see if you fall below or above the median of all writers in that category.

At least this way you would see probably that you are not the worst in the category.

Why put effort into something you do not do well in? But how many of us do this in life, forcing ourselves into categories that maybe are a waste of time for us and our talents and experience?

So, at least give us a statistic by categories. Both, the most articles written and the most views per writer and the average of views per articles written.

Do you have those statistics, Lance? Can you sleep at night. You have written the most articles, haven’t you? But do you then also have the most views of your wonderful mind, or not?

As long as we are going to do it, let’s have all sorts of statistics to play with.

We can all see how we compare to Christ, also.

Statistics is the best way to get into Article Heaven, isn’t it?

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 7:07 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Dear Strephon Kaplan-Williams,
I agree with your concept here.
If we took Categories and saw that the statistical differences in the sub-categories were less than 5% (+) (-) from each other on the average views per article, then we could go with the entire category for the “article view” component. Even though article views are more of a factor of title and key wording or popularity it still could be considered viable because a good title is an important aspect and shows the author is on the ball and is serious about the article. So, that in itself is a sort of give away on quality too.
Then this might be a 20% factor in determining the “TQC” value of the article – Total Quality Component.

You state; “Why put effort into something you do not do well in? But how many of us do this in life, forcing ourselves into categories that maybe are a waste of time for us and our talents and experience?”

I think Plato would agree with you, as do I, on that as one of the themes in “The Republic” and too that point I think society and the educational system for the most part expects folks to do such things.

You ask a dubious question: “Do you have those statistics, Lance? Can you sleep at night?”

I have now set up a 27-hour circadian rhythm formula for my sleep schedule. It works well.

You ask: “Statistics is the best way to get into Article Heaven, isn’t it?”

Heaven is going to have to wait, I have more articles to write. Ha ha ha, I like your sense of humor.

Comment provided May 1, 2007 at 7:59 PM


Jan writes:

Wait! Lance, I thought writing articles was heaven?

You mean we’re not there yet?


Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 3:22 AM



For your reading pleasure today, here’s an article by EzineArticles expert author Jim Estill:

How To Write An Article In 20 Minutes

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 2:16 PM



Hi Chris!

Jim’s article was very useful!
I only think he forgot to mention we can read and read and find more than too many ideas, always! This is my favorite method. I believe that if you have knowledge you can always write super articles! If you don’t have knowledge, it’s very easy to acquire it reading a lot. You can also choose the kind of article you’re going to write. Is it going to be the 20 minutes kind or will it take one hour or two? What do you want to show your reader? I always believe a writer has to care about the quality of his/her work more than anything else, but it’s really good to have a time limit if you have to write too much.

Best regards,

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 4:32 PM



Yes, it’s a good practical article. However, I still recommend QUALITY over QUANTITY.

For long-term learning and deep satisfaction try this:

Set your stop watch for 60 minutes and not 20. Why? because if you have written an article in twenty on a subject, imagine how much better you can make it in style and ideas if you then spent an additional 40 minutes editing and improving your article?

The lyric poet, Dylan Thomas told my father, his poetry agent in America, that he rewrote his poems up to 40 times. Yet they read so fresh and beautifully.

An article is not a poem, but doesn’t it deserve far more than 20 minutes to write? “Poor abandoned child!”

Let me suggest this: do not write an article on any subject that you can write only twenty minutes on. If your subject does not at least require 40 to 60 minutes to write a good article on, don’t write the article!!!

You will find as a writer you get far more readers in the long run, or far more quality readers, or qualified readers, if you write longer but better in writing your articles.

Be a bit careful of the American cultural attitude of belief in higher and higher numbers as the mark of success. Or the reverse also, as in times in sports, less and less to the number game.

I would go on to say if you write to make lots of money you are missing the point of being a culture bearer as a writer. Making a lot of money often indicates the person is wasting their time and their life on money-making, rather than using their precious life energy on quality pursuits that enhance humanity and themselves.

What a sorry sight it is to see Bill Gates and his wife trying to give away billions based on charging too much for their software when in fact they could have been using Microsoft to build better software and rake in less money. Now they have billions and they have to get rid of some of it. What work this must be?

The same way with using your minutes in writing. Take more minutes and go deeper, more creative with your writing. Don’t make numbers your goal in anything.

Shall we go on and talk about God as numbers, numbers of lovers, of dollars, of people, of famine victims, of war victims. Is this century going to be like the last century, a numbers game?

Doesn’t anyone insist on quality over quantity anymore?

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 5:49 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Bill and Melinda Gates have given more money and gifts to the Children of the World than anyone else in the history of mankind.

The intrensic value of their software is based on fundamental free-market principles and if you do not want it, then do not buy it, simple. Something is worth what someone else will pay for it and not a dollar more. Think of all the small business people who have become millionaires due to the efficiencies of the Microsoft Operating System?

I cannot say enough good things about Microsoft or Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffet who also chipped in a chunk of change. How much did you give to help the children of the World today? That is what I wish to know? Capitalism solves the problems of the world and the Entrepreneurial capitalists of our day are some of the finest of the human species. Thank you very much. I have facts, stories, and proof including myself to back up what I have said here, so that is the reality check for the day, with swords drawn and looking for a target. Deny it!

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 6:08 PM




It’s just not one or the other, but both.

We must have QUALITY to keep trust and reputation in a good place with the market and we must have QUANTITY to be comprehensive enough.

Even with more than 400k articles today, we’re vastly under serving the market demand for more long-tail information that answers a greater depth of problems and opportunities.

Then there’s the issue about how some experts don’t know how to write. What about their expertise? Do they deserve to be heard just because they can’t communicate in article form with the same style that a professional writer can?

Quality is also a very subjective thing. Example: Today I was searching the database to show some examples of excellent articles that represent the best of EzineArticles and I often found great articles that had a website in their resource box that was very embarrassing…for any number of reasons… leading me to think the article wasn’t quality based on that reason alone, even though the article quality was certainly high enough if a person didn’t take into consideration the resource box. Everyone wants something different.

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 6:54 PM


Jan writes:

I hesitate to jump into this mix, but only because my opinion is quite well formed and didn’t take me an hour to determine, or to write, or to form. While some folks take time to read up on the details or look up more information in order to come to a conclusion, I tend to base my opinions and conclusions on my experience and my grasp of information over time, rather than ‘what I can find today’.

I write much of the information I post on EzineArticles the same way. If I’m writing a complete report, ebook, or whitepaper, I do research, otherwise, chances are, I base my content on well grounded experience and knowledge.

I can’t imagine complaining about the money a family pours into ‘needy children’ or even complaining about the way they make their money when it’s earned through hard work and knowledge. As Americans, we take a beating from the world for our values, but that same world doesn’t hesitate to ask us for help. We give graciously and gladly, and will continue to do so.

I do think, perhaps, some of those who complain should take a word of advice from my well educated grandfather who was famous for saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, just say thank you.”

If you can’t appreciate what I write – please don’t waste your time reading it, whether it took me ten minutes, an hour, or ten years to write it.


Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 7:42 PM



Jan – Amen, and amen.

Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 7:59 PM



We are here trying to find the best way to write very good articles without wasting time. Everything is important: quality and quantity too, because this is a business. We are not writing for fun. I think the conclusion must be that we have to care more for our article’s quality, but that we have also to be very well organized if we want to do things perfectly. We better have a plan like the one Jim suggests, so that we’ll be more productive.


Comment provided May 2, 2007 at 8:13 PM


Robert D writes:

Re: Jim’s article..

Far be it from me to criticize a millionaire but if you “often incubate an article for a few days” then you’re not really writing it in 20 minutes. Nevertheless, a couple of good tips in that article.

Comment provided May 3, 2007 at 12:05 PM



Chris and Everybody,

Please don’t think I am taking only one side of things. I do feel the numbers game is far over-rated in the American mind.

Billions made but Billions spent for this and that. One statistic I read is that America uses 75 percent of the world’s resources, just like ancient Rome before its fatal decline.

Is America in decline? Social psychology might indicate that it is. When a people goes for quantity over quality then that is like scraping the surface of everything to get more and more for oneself. This is ego greed.

Sharing with others in a balanced way is more humane. Business goals should always be balanced with higher values that mark the human as human.

Power measured in dollars does not mark the human as human. How those dollars are made often does.

So I simply suggest, watch your numbers game. If you make numbers a part of your identity then it is part of your psychology as well.

I could have used Oprah instead of Bill and Melinda Gates because these are American cultural heros in an Age of Decline, maybe. She made a thing about going from poverty to riches with Larry King. What if she could go from poverty to simplicity and give up the symbolic identity of being a rich person and spending extravagantly?

It’s not the money you give away but the money you keep that influences you.

It’s still relevant to writing EzineArticles of quality and not just quantity. The principle is the same.

And of course, if you are truthful, no one writes a good article in twenty minutes. They all have to undergo preparation time to be realistic. So claiming too much with your numbers seems to me, a psychologist, a symptom of what you are identified with.

My real emphasis is honesty, see it as it really is, and living your life for higher values.

If you are rich don’t take that as a sign of success. Still live as simply as possible and use all that extra money to better humanity, not exploit them.

This is my bottom line. Leave this earth with nothing yourself. Leave this earth with what you came in with. A noble goal. Don’t let numbers fool you, is what I am saying quite simply.

With all due respect,


Comment provided May 4, 2007 at 8:56 AM


Steve Johnson writes:

Your original topic of using a stopwatch to keep an author’s attention focused on the task at hand — to not get distracted from doing the most important thing, writing a good quality article that will solve a problem — is excellent.
Life passes us by, and without keeping track of the hours speeding past us, we’re doomed to missing golden opportunities to help people who are deserately seeking information on the Web.
By setting an arbitrary amount of time — whether it is 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes — any writer can then focus his or her energies to digging down to express the best that the reader really needs.
Some of the comments here concern blog posts, some refer to articles.
I prefer blog posts that are quick, to the point, with a link to the main full story I can follow it I have time. I doubt these posts take more than 10-15 minutes.
But a creating a solid article that will help people solve a difficult problem needs time for research, for drafting, editing, spellcheck, and for uploading.
It’s not much different from working out at the gym: 20 minutes in and out, then on with the rest of the day. Not much time taken out of the day, but not really much value to the ultimate objective: to stay fit and healthy. Stretch that workout to one hour and you’re making long-term progress, becoming stronger, fitter, more credibile and admired by others.
I do appreciate the volume of writing many of the authors at EzineArticles exhibit, it’s amazing how much content they create. And the comments on this blog are very insightful and interesting to read.
In summary, your stopwatch idea is an important observation that caught my attention because whether authors write fast or slow, the important thing for me is that they write well.
Thanks for a great website!!!

Comment provided May 11, 2007 at 5:04 AM


Glen A. writes:

You guys are awesome. All of you created to much paragraphs just by replying to a certain comments. I myself can’t do that due to lack of skills on writing and more focus on to the flow of words.

I’m not that good because I’m from asia and working hard to be an article writer someday and somehow when the day come.

(look at my 2nd paragraph, I used “I’m” twice.)

Comment provided October 26, 2009 at 4:20 AM


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