5 Ways to Write High-Quality Content – Fast

5 Ways to Write High-Quality Content – Fast

Reader Comments (74)

  1. Hi Carol,
    You’ve always got some amazing tricks up your sleeve. I don’t know what I would do without and editorial calendar to look at and help steer my mind. As much as I would love to match my writing hours with my chronobiology – I can’t always do that. I write better late – no very late at night. But the problem is, if I’ve been up since 6am doing the school runs, there’s no way I can stay up that late. So when my ideas fade, I rely on randomness for fresh inspiration. I will look around and randomly select a topic, then I challenge myself to combine that with the main topic I’m supposed to be writing about.

    That usually gets my mind sparked – after I’m done twisting my face and asking myself “what the heck does that have to do with xyz…?” somehow ideas because popping into my mind. Then I hit the “write in batches” mode while I’m still not.

    Creating skeleton outlines ahead of time also help.

    • I have the same early-schoolbus problem, Keisha, which I sometimes beat with about a 10-minute nap at some point in the afternoon. Then it’s like a whole new day to me, and I can go until late. If it was good enough for Einstein, power napping is good enough for me.

  2. Thanks for these! I have a Windows Explorer version of your email folder – a potential blog posts folder.

    I’m often reading a forum thread, a post or a news article and something will jump out at me as a potential blog post. So I fire up Notepad, jot down the idea and save it.

    I find it helps to write out the angle I’m thinking of at the time (just a sentence), because I’d often visit my potential posts folder and wonder what the heck I was thinking of when I wrote that down!

    Thankfully that happens less often now 🙂



  3. There is nothing more valuable than a list of article ideas. I take the train to and from work every day and I have a little mini laptop that I use to write. I am sometimes able to get an entire blog post done in the hour that I am on the train because I already have the idea there. It can sometimes take ten or fifteen minutes to come up with an idea (and sometimes even longer than that). Being able to get the first draft done on the train allows me to read it over again the next day. If I was wasting a quarter of my train ride, I’d feel more rushed to get the article done and that would decrease the value of what I am providing. Love the post!

    • Thanks for adding a great strategy, Jacob! As a ferry rider myself, I’ve come to call these sort of little openings “interstitial time.” That time you spend waiting in the airport or on the bus or train, that most people use to space out or mindlessly surf LOLCats.

      Often that little half-hour can yield great stuff if you jump on it. I know people have written and sold novels they wrote on my ferry.

  4. I find it easier to produce content at night after I have had some experiences throughout the day; because my day is what gives me the inspiration to write most of my content for my blogs. I have plenty of post-it notes around me for when I am out driving or at the mall and pick up a topic that I want to write about. Once I get started, I’m usually kicking out two or three posts in a night. I try to save them as drafts for release on other days.

    The point about taking a day to go back and edit is essential. Every writer/blogger should take the time to edit, edit, and sometimes re-edit their content to make sure it is the best they can give.

  5. This is good stuff, Carol. Currently, I’m really struggling to write posts regularly — between a full-time job, familiy time and hobbies. I will definitely give “blog in batches” a try.

  6. Good solid tips, Carol. Here’s something that works for me: I have a list of what I think are the 13 types of posts which can be written. Choosing a type puts a structure onto the process which makes writing efficient, because I know the elements of the post type.

    • Great point Michael — thinking about your planned structure for the post can also help concentrate the mind. Often, when I ask people to send me an outline for a guest post they’re pitching for my own blog, I find they can’t do it. But blog posts benefit greatly from an outline.

  7. Carol, you are so on the money! Once I figured out that separating the “figuring out what to write” process from the writing it down bit, my productivity soared! It takes so much of the pressure off and allows me to use 100% of my focus on two very energy intensive tasks.

    Figuring out your own best work times is huge, too. It made me a bit sad to find out I’m not a cool, rock n’ roll night owl but a complete early bird. What a blow to my self image (but it also explains why I did so poorly in college)! I can get 3 times as much done with half the angst at 5 am than at 5 pm. Past 6? I need my Matlock and Ovaltine.

    Thanks for the great post – will be passing this on!

  8. I love your blog posts and learn a lot for my personal blog posts. How does one find gigs writing blog posts for others? I’m an empty nester with time and a love for writing. Thanks for any ideas.

  9. Great ideas Carol. First off, I can’t even imagine writing 60 posts/month. That’s some serious writing!

    I couldn’t agree more about figuring out what time of day is your own personal prime time. I’ve found that if I’m not in that writing sweet spot, it takes so much longer and the material isn’t as good as it could be. I like your idea about blogging in batches. Will have to try that. Thanks!

  10. Hi Carol,

    Great list of practical tips! My writing ritual consists of Pandora, Redbull and mac-n-cheese in the morning. Otherwise, I’m up very late at night writing, editing and scheduling a post to publish.

    I keep a moleskine notebook handy with me at all times. I jot down post titles then refer to them later as a possible headline for my posts. I’ll add bullet points to them as I review them. But I also use KISSinsights to get feedback from my readers on what they want me to write about next. It’s a simple form that sits on the site and reads: “What do you want us to write about next?” We get some pretty good feedback from that.

    Anyway, great write-up and excellent tips!

  11. Hi Carol, really like the thoughts you’ve put into this!

    Time and planning are both things I naturally don’t really think about. I want to do everything NOW, and I want to write everything on the spur of the moment. Which is great! but it doesn’t always mean productivity later on. A little organization goes a long way!

    • I think you spotlight a great point AD — a lot of people think of doing this kind of planning as counter to being a creative free spirit. To me, it’s the opposite — the planning provides the framework to maximize your creativity.

      Sure, you might get inspired and just dash off a post, and I still do. But the battle plan saves you for all the times spontaneous inspiration deserts you, and you’re staring a deadline in the face.

  12. Excellent advice! I just started doing theme based blogging (5 days/week) so the editorial calendar is an especially nice fit.

    I’m also training myself to write short. Previously my posts were 450, 600, even 1000 words. But it takes a lot out of me to write so long. Now I limit myself to 300 words or less (working around the 150 mark). I find I have a lot more energy to do something every day, and it’s a good lesson to pack meaning into fewer words.

  13. I like the idea of blogging in batches. I’ve been experimenting with such chunking strategies.

    Good for the overwhelm your crazy brain tries to impose upon you.

    Cool post.

  14. My problem, is keeping it short… I love to write and tend to write long posts then I have to reduce the content and narrow down so I end up taking a whole lot of time. But as I need to write many blog posts a months of my own plus writing for other blogs I need to learn to nip it i the bud. Perhaps you can write on how to write short and sweet posts to help some of us? or maybe you already did and I need to peruse through your archives… Thanks a bunch.

  15. Excellent advice, Carol. Thanks for sharing your experienced insights. Lately, I’ve been using Evernote to log notes, bookmark Web pages and save snipits of inspiration. Your tips will help me transform my list of ideas into quality content!

    • Once you take that Evernote log and lay it across a calendar and start asking, “When would be the best time for THIS idea to post?” it changes everything. I used to do something similar, and just had a mess of notes and links. Now, I have a game plan, and I know what I want to happen when.

      Especially helps if you have events or products you want to promote — you look at your ideas and say, well, what fits the theme of that product that I could write about just before that launch? Oh, month-end’s coming up, so I need my best-of post there…the next thing you know, you have a whole month’s worth of posts planned out and you can not only write them in groups, you can put them into a sequence that makes better sense to your readers.

      • I’ve been thinking about creating an editorial calendar for my blog content to keep me on track – I will defintely take your advice and weave my Evernote clips and my calendar together. Thanks, Carol!

  16. Great and helpful ideas!
    I find one of the most inspiring activities for me is reading other blogs. Mostly in my own niche, but any other blog that pops up as well. It helps me break out of my box and explore all the possibilities out there. It usually results in a long list of possible blog post ideas.
    Thanks for the advice!

  17. These are some great points, Carol. Here’s my strategy for what its worth: I’m currently sitting at two post per week, that’s about the limit I have time for right now. Most days I learn something new or have an idea for a blog post, when i get the idea i open up my wordpress admin panel and create a new post with the title and any other tidbits i can come up with quickly and save it as a draft. Now when I get some writing time, i can jump into the drafts and begin filling out the content. For the image portion, i generally populate those in batches (similar to your point 2), using sources such as http://www.sxc.hu or Flickr or sometimes my own. Finally, i schedule the posts to publish usually midweek and before 9am. That way, its in sync with my feedburner schedule and recipients get the fresh content soon after its published.

  18. I really like the idea of writing posts in batches, and it’s something that I need to try doing more. Writing one post at a time is inefficient. It would be better to write multiple drafts at a time once I’m in a groove. From there they can be polished and scheduled to be published.

    I also agree that hitting send immediately is a bad idea. The first writing creates a zero draft, and a zero draft is something that you don’t let the public see. After writing draft #1, it’s time to re-write if you want to write quality content, and one of the best ways to do that is to sleep on a post and look at it the next day. Sleeping on a post and then re-writing is a guaranteed way to make the post better.

  19. Hi Carol, I totally agree with point number 3. If you’re not in the mood for writing then do something else until you are. If you want to make the most of your time, slogging over a blog post is not the way to do it.

    I always write as many as I can when I’m ‘in the zone’ and do other tasks when the words just aren’t coming naturally.

    I’ve also found that people’s comments on my blog and other blogs I visit are a good source of ideas for articles and can save a lot of time researching online.

  20. Wonderful article Carol.

    I can especially agree with the “keep it simple” statement. This is a problem I frequently run into. Especially when your mind is throwing fast balls of ideas at you all at once! I guess it is important to always stick to the elementary school acronym, KISS (keep it simple stupid).

    There are times I find myself spawning new topics for an article WHILE I am in the middle of writing an article! Inspiration can truly come from anywhere at any time.

    Well written!

  21. Carol,

    Thank you for sharing this article. I like your attention to detail. Your analysis is terrific.

    However, I was surprised to find that you have omitted to mention anything about the power of the subconscious mind. As far as you are concerned, it seems, logic is the only way to go about writing. Hence, writing is all about discipline, plans, schedules, batching, etc. I think this is where your analysis misses the point.

    You seem to have lost sight of the fact that writing can also be free-flowing, natural, organic, and spontaneous. Ideas do not have to be regimented. You do not have to stick to a particular schedule or daily routine. There is no such law.
    Of course, your ideas do work for some people. For others, your ideas may seem way off the mark.

    For example: I am a writer. So, I always find myself looking around for ideas. I need to write an article, a guest blog, leave a comment or do something creative with words and ideas and images. However, I often find myself staring into the abyss of a screen with a blank expression on my face. It beats me how I will be able to write anything, because I have nothing to contribute. I hate to admit it, but what is the point in trying to hide a truth that is as clear as daylight.

    In such moments, I experience “writer’s block.” Then, I decide to go for a casual stroll in the park or hit the gym or go for a swim. Lo and behold: ideas I start to receive thick and fast and these ideas appear as if they have their own volition. It is almost as if they come out of nowhere. I am not even consciously thinking about trying to find any ideas for stories or articles. And yet, Ideas visit me like a long-lost, embittered friend who has felt hurt by my lack of attention or indifference.

    This is the “mind of no mind” in zen practice. Your mind is still. You experience the depths of silence. Your mind is like a clean slate. Your mind is the blank canvas of a Pablo Picasso. And then, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, ideas start to visit you. It is almost like a mystical experience. It is hard to explain, but it can be experienced. Many creative people have reported such experiences. Your mind becomes an antenna that receives signals from an unknown source. It is a mystery, really.

    That is why so many creative people practice one or another form of yoga or tend to cultivate hobbies and interests. That’s because you never really know when your best and brightest ideas are going to come from. It is not always a linear, logical, cause-effect process. There is an element of mystery about it. Have a good one. And cheers to you.

  22. Oh, I’m in no way saying don’t go with the flow and get inspired, Archan. If you click on that link above about scanning many sources for ideas, I think you’ll find take a walk, take a nap, and take a bath are high on my list of ways to find those ideas!

    The question is, once you have those ideas, how can you generate a lot of posts off of them that are brilliant in the shortest time? That, to me, requires organizational skills.

    If there’s somebody out there who’s tossing off their posts one at a time and it takes less time than doing it on a calendar and in batches, I’d love to hear from them, but most of the disorganized people I know are the ones on Twitter posting something like “#*&!@(*&! post due tomorrow and it’s not flowing…”

  23. Sometimes I have so much to say, I do a weeks worth of posts and preschedule them to post later in the week.

    Other times I have to go to my notebook, where I write down ideas as they come to me.

    It sort of depends- I have a lot of blogs (2 I post to regularly) and a social networking site to take care of….

    Have a great day!

  24. Carol,

    Awesome idears……You talked about an “Idea List”, do you keep something with you at all times, like a little notepad, or do you have a section on your blog where you list ideas?

    What do you guys do?

    • Personally, when I get an idea, I plug it straight into my editorial calendar in a likely publication spot. I can always move it around later (and often do!)…but I like to immediately assign it a possible slot. On some days I may have 5-6 ideas stacked up. When I get near that date I pick my favorite, move the others farther on, and keep rolling.

      I usually have something to write on somewhere nearby…but I don’t worry about it too much. If it’s really a great idea I’m not going to forget it on the walk home.

    • Hey Brad, I usually keep my ipod touch with me and built in notepad application is wonderful. It is easy to use and directly sync with email you assigned.

      Before my ipoad touch, I used to have small piece of paper in my wallet, so whenever I get an idea, I write down.

  25. Hi Carol,

    Awesome tips you got here. The bit about the editorial calendar really caught my attention and researching it will begin promptly after I post this comment. Not having a calendar to keep track of my ideas and when I want to post them is hurting me I think.

    I also like the part about chronobiology. Thinking back it totally makes sense. I do feel more creative and wiling to write during certain parts of the day. I just need to seize the moment and begin writing multiple posts like you suggest.


    • I was blown away by how helpful the editorial calendar plugin is. It’s great to see the upcoming weeks of content at a glance, and to help make sure everything is balanced (and that there’s a post for every day you want content!).

  26. As always, great post Carol!
    I love the way you clearly explain what can be quite a confusing concept for some ….and you’ve done it in such a way that everyone can benefit from your ideas and expertise. Chunking out multiple posts and copy drafts, client work and whatever else you need to do can be overwhelming, but by using tools like you have makes it so much simpler. Your productivity always soars with a bit of organisation.

  27. Yay Carol!

    I definitely needed this tips. I’ve begun working on more blogs and with more clients. There are times when I just can’t seem to get all my articles done. I’ll definitely start implementing these tips. I think they’ll help solve most of my problems.

  28. I’m always on the lookout for tips to improve, and this one has been bookmarked.

    I’m especially interested in the Editorial Calendar plugin. I’ll be checking that out.

    I’ve been experimenting with a few solutions to see which sticks, and thus far I’m not married on a single solution. Evernote works great for me recording my audio ideas while in the car. Google Docs works well when collaborating with others on a post. My whiteboard is my idea command center and mapper. Each has it’s other strengths and weeknesses, but the important thing is to keep working and refining my process to make it as good as it can get.

    Thanks for the post!

  29. Hi Carol! Thank you for coming-up with such a straightforward and practical approach in writing.

    I write personal blogs with desultory topics about my own experiences in my events management job, write-ups about plays and theatre studies, my testimonies of faith and different literary works. Yet despite, these broad range of interests, my creativity gets stomped once in awhile.

    Reading your blog post was more than a whiff of fresh air, it is a wind of inspiration that moves my inner Aeolian harp of creativity. This is actually what I love about reading Copyblogger and posts such as this – it provides information and ways to improve one’s writing even for people like me, who simply just loves to write.

    I’m not into copywriting. I just like to do blogs as a personal expression and also to spread God’s word and blessings through writing. And yet even if I’m not a professional writer/copywriter/marketing guru, a post like yours (and other articles here in Copyblogger) can be applied to most of my writing engagements/tasks. That’s why I’m grateful that you came up with such a helpful article.

    I’d like you to know that the writing practices you stated here will not only help me in writing my blogs but they will also aid me with my other writing tasks such as playwriting, script writing, even reports for my M.A. Theatre Arts class. And hopefully, if I get the nerve to do it – my novels 🙂

    MORE ON YOUR BLOG: I myself have been doing the first strategy you pointed about

    1. Always keep a stack of good ideas up your sleeve

    I keep all my stuff under My Ta-da list (http://tadalist.com/). Originally, I began using this site to simply list my goals, things to buy etc. later on I utilized it to put the different links and topics I might use in the future. It is my own thinking bank. So I guess the first one down pat. As for your other suggestions, I will start doing them as well.

    Thanks a lot for such a wonderful post. I will be applying your strategies. A.S.A.P. Salamat uli (Thanks again).

  30. Writing high quality content is always a challenge! Like fresh fruit, I suppose… Or flowers!! Nobody likes the old stuff….. And that’s where the super tips enclosed are really helpful. Thanks! Regardz, Gabz

  31. This post had made me realized that I havent found my chronobiology yet. Thanks to you Carol for this great post. Il be finding my own chronobiology soon. Not only that, il be using your great tips on how to effectively make use of your time. Im a freelance writer and I also write my own blog. This, for sure, would greatly help me in the future. Blogging in batches, il keep that in mind.. ;D

    Thanks and more power!!

  32. I think these are all great ideas, setting a structure, revising drafts, saving a stack of posts in a batch. I don’t know how old hat it is but setting up a few bullet points of major topics allows me to skeleton the concepts pretty quickly, and even work as a basic draft. If I can churn out a few main ideas in a 10 min brainstorm, I do myself a huge favor when I come back to it. Big time saver. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!


  33. Great tips. I’ve never thought about the ‘batch’ update idea before, very clever!

    I agree with #5 – simplicity is key. So many people start rambling and simply get carried away with themselves. Short and sweet is good *nods*

    I would also say stay up-to-date with your competitors/other industry bloggers etc – what are they talking about? How can you improve on what they are saying? Do you have a differing opinion? Keep these kind of questions in mind when reading their posts and it’ll help you to brainstorm effectively for your own.

  34. Hi Carol,

    I really needed to hear the bulk idea. Looking for photos in batches and posting them in a draft will save me SO much time! It’s what I usually push off to the end.
    I haven’t yet found my chronobiology yet (though I’m afraid it’s late at night) but I know I’m very guilty of putting my writing off so that I put out a lot of “rough drafts”.
    Thank you for the helpful hints and reminders!

  35. Hi, Carol!

    Happy to see you here again! 🙂

    Planning ahead with an editorial calendar also helps you hold yourself accountable for producing content consistently. I think we last spoke when I added the blog to my site, and I’m SO happy that I did!

    It’s no secret that the more you write, the more ideas you get. I love when a single topic ends up turning into multiple posts. If I didn’t maintain a writing schedule, sure I’d come up with ideas, but not nearly as many as I get when I’m writing all the time. Plus, the result is exactly what this post is about—I’m able to write high-quality, focused content a lot quicker.

    Following these tips really facilitates “active inspiration” that makes you a prolific writer, rather than passively waiting for inspiration to hit you.

  36. Excellent post Carol!

    This is just what I have been waiting for … for about a month now, I stopped blogging, freelance writing and all … because I got frustrated trying to find both ideas and time. It’s time I bounced back to work.

    Thanks once again

  37. Writing is not an easy task especially if we are talking about quality content and speed. But I must agree volume of good ideas help a lot, thoughts just keep coming out and you will be done in no time.

  38. I didn’t know there was a WP editorial calendar, this is perfect for me. I am constantly forgetting about seasonal things (mostly when what produce is in season) that are relevant to my blog. This will be great for me because I can add little reminders “June 3 is Donut Day” or “August is when Strawberries are the best” and then expand on them when I get there.

  39. Great tips. The 3 I follow regularly are:

    1. keeping a list ot topics readily available (always adding to the list);
    2. blogging in batches. Actually, some weeks I’m consistent by publishing 1 post a day. Then I get distracted when all of a sudden on a weekend I’ll crank out 4 to 10 posts in a sitting, and
    3. Chronobiology: I write much better and faster in the morning. I save the mundane admin for afternoons.

    When I’m on a writing roll, I just flow with it and crank out post after post figuring I’ll promote the post in the near future.

  40. Thanks for these great tips. Reading this post was definitely one of the moments where I went yikes.. I know I should be doing all of this.. Time to get myself in gear. Especially being ahead of schedule on posting. haha!

  41. Super helpful advice. Really need this right now.

    I keep bemoaning that I write slow and need several days to revise for my best work.

    Any tips on finding good fits for guest bloggers? I’ve found one. I’m sure there are dozen who love dogs and have related blogs but I’m new in town (Blog Town) and am not sure if anyone who writes quality content wants to write a post for Dog Leader Mysteries.

  42. I’ll echo what most everyone has said in front of me– this post is amazeballs. I’ll definitely have to look up the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin that Carol suggested and many of you guys seem to love. I’m also super excited about the idea of blogging in batches. Thus far I’ve been doing each post piecemeal and I’m tired of feeling like it’s second rate.
    To combat the pressing send on a post I finished writing 10 minutes ago I’ve started writing all of my rough drafts on paper. This allows me to type it all out fast without thinking and then read it all once it’s on screen to check for typos and awkward phrasing. I also find that reading my post out loud to myself helps me see where my writing needs tweaking.

  43. i agree with all the pointers you have there. May I add that what is really an effective post/content is to write something that is base on your own experience like for example in my case I’ve been to a tourist spot in my country that is difficult to get to. I have written a travel guide to reach the place including the do’s and dont’s or cheap hotels in the area. In return my readers comeback to my blog and send me some “thanks you” message. It is really cool to know that someone out there appreciate what you are doing. That appreciation will also keep you from creating quality content

  44. I agree specially with the ideas of writing series as that creates engagement and helps build loyal readers if you can make them interested.

This article's comments are closed.