7 Ways to Crank Out Articles
One of my best skills is being able to turn out a high number of articles each week. My output varies depending on the complexity and length of a story, but I can crank out anywhere from 3-6 articles a day — which doesn’t hurt the pocketbook.
But writing productivity doesn’t come easy. All writers grapple with procrastination: you know you should be writing right now, but you find a million other things to do instead.
It’s not an insurmountable obstacle. You can squash the distractions and procrastination and crank out articles like a maniac with some simple hacks.
Here are some of the best methods for writing productivity:
- Write first thing in the morning. When you wake up, don’t check email, don’t look and see how your blog is doing, and don’t read your feed reader. Find the most important or most urgent writing task on your to-do list, and get started on it. Once you crank that out, the rest of your day is golden!
- Shut off all distractions. Yes, an obvious one, but perhaps the most important of all. Shut off the Internet, first of all. Not just email or RSS or Twitter or IM, but the Internet. Do you need to do research? Well, do your research first, then shut everything down in order to write. Shut off cell phones and television and anything else that might distract you. Get into the no-interruption zone. And do NOT start fiddling with your to-do list or other similar tasks — do one thing, and focus.
- Brainstorm. If you’re facing a blank screen, it’s often hard to get started. Get your fingers pumping and your brain moving by making a list — brainstorm some ideas for the article, or do a bullet-point list with details to be filled out later, or do an outline. Whatever it is, get your ideas down fast, and things will start flowing.
Use a DarkRoom. The simplest writing tools are best. DarkRoom or its brethren, WriteRoom, are two of the best writing tools ever, because the only thing you can do with them is write. Go full-screen mode and just crank. Alternatively, use a very simple word processor, such as Google Docs or AbiWord. I’m using Google Docs as I write this, in full-screen mode, but I often use AbiWord if I want to be completely off-line.
- Reward yourself with email. Tell yourself that you cannot check email (or feeds or whatever distraction is a MUST for you) until you finish your article. If it’s a really long article, break it into 20-minute chunks, and give yourself a 5-minute break when you complete each chunk. The reward will keep you going, and the breaks will make a long article not so insurmountable.
- Be prepared. Writing is much easier to do if you have all your research done, your interviews done, your article outlined, your ideas listed out. Do all the prep work first, then get ready to write.
- Just get started. Yeah, you don’t feel like writing right now. But once you start typing, you’ll get into the flow of it. Stop procrastinating and just start typing – anything!
- Crank, then revise. Write a shitty first draft, as fast as you can, and then go back over it. But the key is just to get it out. Craft it lovingly afterwards, not during.