Writing is an art but the productivity of it can be a science. Productivity can be measured in articles per hour or words per hour. The problem with that measure is the quality is equally important as the quantity. What we really want is great quality without taking too much time. It is a balance.
Google just released Penguin 4.0 which focusses on good content and strong sites (like Lifehack). This will increase the demand for truly good content.
Writing productivity is a function of the actual time spent on the article – not the total time. For example, it may take you a day to get the article completed but your time actually spent writing was only 40 minutes. The focus of this article is how to maximize the output for the actual time spent.
The following are some ideas to help you write well and quickly. Use any one of them or a combination of them to create good content quickly:
1. Keep an idea file.
It can be anything as simple as an old-fashioned paper notebook to an electronic file. When an idea inspires, write it down. And as other thoughts about that idea happens – simply add them in. Include URLs or scanned reference articles if that is relevant. I have often found that an article will flow easily when I have the idea and a collection of sub-ideas around it.
2. Write as fast as you can.
When in flow, ideas just pour onto the page. The first draft can often be done in minutes. Then go back and edit your work.
3. Use the leverage of having someone else read and suggest additions and edits.
The ideal partner for this is more than an editor or proofreader, it is someone who absorbs the actual content you have written and adds to the substance. Someone who contributes ideas.
4. Write perfectly the first time.
This is directly the opposite of the suggestion in 2 (above). The theory of this sort of perfection is it saves the editing time. Editing can be more time consuming than writing. Writing knowing you will always go back can make you lazy. Writing as if you will never go back can help you create better copy.
5. Start with a frame.
Write a few words on what each paragraph will say. Starting with this can allow you to see what the order and natural progression should be. With a frame, it is easier to flush things out. Research where you need to, add sub ideas and fill the article in.
6. Plant the seed.
To some extent, having the idea file does this. Planting the seed of an article and leaving it for a few days will keep it working in the background. I often will see relevant materials because I know I am writing an article about it. Ideas about the article often come to me when I am not thinking about it.
7. Keep it short.
Readers like succinctness. 500 word articles are more likely to get read than 2,000-word articles. And often adding words is not adding to the value being offered.
8. Use bullet points or numbered lists like this article.
It allows ideas to be somewhat disjointed but still tied together. Bulleted articles are faster to write and faster to read. They also help the reader to focus on the key points.
In the end, though, quality always trumps quantity. Sacrificing quality for the sake of time is never a good trade-off. Google Penguin knows this and so do people.
Your goal in writing should always be to add value to the reader. That is what true quality writing does.