Writer’s block. Deadlines. Being creative on call.
These are things that make writers shudder, but if you blog professionally, this is not a luxury you can afford. There’s not enough time.
For writers challenged with producing quality content consistently despite timeframes that are less so (“a day or so,” “an hour or two,” and “we needed this yesterday” are common examples), I’ve crafted a list of five habits to develop so you’ll always be prepared to blog during a crunch. Editing and optimizing your post will take extra time, but heeding the advice below should make it possible to write the meat of a post in just 30 minutes when that’s all the time you have.
1. Stay informed
Get outside. Read the news. Go on YouTube if that’s your thing. Talk to people.
However your make it happen, be aware of the world around you. Keeping up with current events and cultural trends is key to having something interesting to say at any given moment. It also makes you an interesting conversationalist.
2. Be organized
Use an RSS feed reader. It’s the most convenient way to stay on top of current stories and makes it easier to find a good idea in a pinch. I like Google Reader, but there are plenty out there.
Though useful, there are two rules to using RSS readers and unless you like feeling overwhelmed, I suggest you mind them:
– Don’t subscribe to every ‘interesting’ feed
– Check your RSS reader regularly, at least 3x per week
It’s that simple. Focus on essentials and scan them often.
3. Have an opinion
Think about things, critically. Discuss stories and ideas with other people, preferably of varying backgrounds. Engage with life actively and form opinions on current events and culture. This will make it easier to blog quickly about almost anything.
A good rule of thumb is to have three stories or topics you follow at any time and two of them closely related to your industry. This almost guarantees access to a subject exciting enough to blog about without having to research or think too much about it first.
4. Stick to the point
Writing is often like uncovering a set of problems (or solutions). With the first sentence written, additional details, extraneous yet worthwhile points, and endless stylistic possibilities appear. While analytical is a good trait for writers to possess, if you need to blog quickly, choose and stick to a point.
Limiting yourself may sound painful, but putting your energy into the act of expressing rather than expanding upon one idea makes it easier to write quickly and pontificate less. Try it.
5. Be yourself
Don’t hold back. Add some humor. Let it flow.
When time is scarce, keep in mind authenticity rules over grammar and punctuation. If writing for a corporate (depending on the rules) or esteemed news blog, details like comma placement and avoidance of cliché matter. Still, most will remember a quirky turn of a phrase or the abandon with which you poured your thoughts onto the screen, not that you spell-checked (but spell check anyway).
Practice this advice and next time you find yourself writing on deadline and short on time, you’ll be full of ideas, armed with a plan of attack and ready to turn out a quality post.
Do you have any other blogging tips to share? Post them below!