3 ways writers can spend less time writing and more time being creative
I hate writing.
First off, there’s all those words to deal with.
They’re totally annoying.
Then you have to put all those words in sentences and paragraphs in such an order as to make sense.
Zzzzz. That’s boring.
And if that wasn’t dull enough, you have to pepper those sentences and paragraphs with weird little stops and commas and colons that mean one thing one moment and another thing the next.
Give me strength.
Indeed, all of this you suffer – and even then the thing you write might still be totally ignored or hated completely.
I mean, come on.
We’re supposed to be creative types – relaxing into our beanbags, drinking craft beers and dreaming up game-changing ideas.
Instead we’re glued to a laptop tippy-tapping away at a keyboard with a faded ‘e’ and ‘a’.
You and I, dear reader, we must have something wrong with us to do this copywriting gig for a living.
Of course, you and I also know that it’s the little loose screw in our heads that makes us interesting.
It gives us the drive and, dare I say, passion to write all this stuff, despite the fact it can be painful, time consuming and often seemingly unrewarding.
Sure, the thinking up new articles part.
The expressing of wild ideas in words part.
Again, it’s ace.
The marvelling at the great turn of phrase you just crafted out of base words.
But the actual ‘scribing’ of a bulk of blather on the page...
Ugh. It’s this part that keeps most of us writers up at night.
So, here’s what I want to do for you today...
I want to take some of the pain out of the actual writing.
I’m talking about the pen to paper moment, the fingers to keys writing, the hard graft of getting stuff down on the page.
If we can reduce that time, then you’ll be free to spend more time being creative.
And that’s good.
So, the following three tips are very simple and based on my own experience.
But if you put them into action, I’m positive they will help free up some of your time too.
Ready? Good. Here we go:
Tip #1: Don’t write until you know what you’re going to say
I know, I know. It sounds a bit like puffery. But so much of the graft that comes with writing is down to not quite knowing what to say.
Think of all the times you’ve been sat at your desk stumped and wasting time. Nine times out of ten it’ll be because you weren’t sure what to write.
But if you prepare well, if you research thoroughly and if you know the final point you’re aiming towards – the writing itself will always be much, much easier.
Tip #2: Set your margin to 13 and your font size to Courier New, Size 10
This is a technical tip I tell every writer I work with. It’s worth trying. Or at least applying to a document once you’ve written your first draft.
You see, when you lay out your word document like this (margin 13, courier new font, size 10), a funny thing happens.
As soon as a sentence runs over two lines, it becomes less readable. And as soon as a paragraph runs over four lines, it becomes much harder to follow.
Therefore, writing in this suggested template helps you edit naturally as you go along and saves a lot of time in the long run.
Tip #3: Read everything you write aloud
Again, this is almost too simple to qualify as genuine advice. But so few people actually do it, I find myself repeating it over and over again.
And frankly, I will continue to do so at every opportunity.
Because when you do read your stuff aloud it is an obscenely effective way of checking what you’ve written is readable (and a good way to spot mistakes too).
If you stutter, run out of breath or cringe whilst reading your own work – you need to stop and edit it there and then.
Do so, and you’ll have a much smoother piece of copy in a much shorter time than editing in a purely visual way.
And there we have it.
Three utterly simple and practically tips that – in my experience – will help you write faster and with a lot less strain.
I applied all three in writing this piece. So if you enjoyed it, perhaps accept this very piece as proof of theory.
Indeed, if you DID happen to find this piece useful and want to read more of my writing, you can check out my brand new book, The Art of the Click, which is full of more copywriting advice like this.
But if you thought the piece sucked – accept my apologies for still somehow engaging you to this point. Stop reading now. Please, before it gets any worse.
As I pointed out at the start, you suffer enough as a writer to be tortured by me any more.
You can follow Glenn on Twitter, at: @allgoodcopy