I’ve written hundreds of blog posts over the past ten years for myself and clients, and by now, I’m pretty fast. Unless I have to do a lot of research, I can write an 800-word draft in 20 minutes.
Most of the time, I can write a blog post in under an hour with another quick edit right before I publish.
This comes from practice, of course, and from being a really fast typer, but I’ve also dialed in my process so that I minimize habits that slow me down.
It doesn’t have to take you forever to write a blog post! Here’s how I do it.
How I Write a Blog Post in under an hour
Step 1: The Dump Draft
This isn’t exactly a first draft, but a pre-draft. I call this a dump draft because I think of it like dumping all my material out so I can shape it later. Think of dumping clay on a table so you can start sculpting.
This step is the KEY to writing anything quickly. This immediately gets you past the blank page jitters, which can save you so much wasted time waffling about what to write!
The idea is to get all your ideas on paper, even if they’re out of order or misspelled or make no sense. No editing allowed! Just get it all out. Write anything you can think of about your topic, story, or ideas. Anything you want to mention in your post. Write it down now, even if it’s out of order. No room for perfectionism here.
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
― Shannon Hale
You might be freaking out right now because you’re probably a perfectionist and the idea of writing a messy draft is terrifying. Trust, me, I get it. It gets easier the more you do it.
Try these tips to get started if you’re just plain stuck.
Tips for writing your dump draft:
- Try making a really loose outline of your article. It’s okay if the points are out of order. Edit later.
- Freewrite on your topic for a few minutes.
- Start in the middle or start with the steps. The hardest part of writing an article is just starting it, so skip that part! It’s a lot easier to write an intro and conclusion after you’ve written the bulk of the article, so jump right to the good stuff first.
After you’ve gotten the bulk of the post on paper, write a simple introduction and conclusion. Think of this like a school essay: the intro tells your reader what the post is about and what to expect. The conclusion just wraps things up. You can even reiterate the introduction and add a new thought to leave with your reader.
Remember, it’s okay if your dump draft sucks! It’s supposed to. You can edit later.
Step 2: Organize
So much of writing is just organization.
After I dump out all my thoughts, I start lumping them together in an order that makes sense.
To do this, read through your dump draft and move sentences or paragraphs around to group like topics with like topics. Ask yourself what your reader would need to learn first, second, and third, and put your thoughts in that order.
Chances are, your thoughts are already somewhat in order, but things might still need to get moved around. There will probably be holes in your thoughts and things might feel disconnected, but don’t worry. We’ll fix that in the next step.
Step 3: Edit and Revise
This could be two steps, but I tend to do them at the same time. Read through your text and continue organizing, but this is the part where you start filling in holes.
Do you need to explain something a bit more? Do need to cut any unnecessary or repetitive parts? Should you include more examples? Would something made more sense if you reworded it?
Flesh out and clean up any confusing or under-explained parts. When you think you’ve done a pretty good job, it’s a good idea to let someone else read it and make sure it makes sense.
Step 4: Final Proofread
When you feel like your article is almost ready, do at least one more read-through to check for misspellings, grammatical errors, punctuation or capitalization mistakes, or usage errors.
I suggest taking some time away from your post before doing your final proofread because after you’ve read something 576 times, you stop seeing errors like typos. (Trust me, I’ve learned this one the hard way.)
I usually proofread after editing, but I ALWAYS do another pass right before publishing or sending off a client piece, and I almost always catch something I missed on the first pass.
Writing a Blog Post Doesn’t Have to be Hard
If this process seems intimidating, that’s okay. Writing, like everything else, gets easier with practice.
- Don’t edit while you draft.
- Don’t skip the dump draft.
- If the post doesn’t flow right, try moving sentences or paragraphs around.
- Do a final proofread before publishing.
Lastly, have fun with it. I know that sounds super corny, but it’s true. If you let yourself enjoy the process, your words will flow more freely. Blogging is a marketing tool, but it can also be a beautiful creative outlet!
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