September 3, 2021

Getting Unstuck: How to Write Quickly and Beat Your Deadline

Many beginning writers do not have a regular writing schedule; they only sit down and get their words on paper when inspiration strikes. While this is a perfectly acceptable way of approaching writing as a hobby, it won't work for people who need to work with deadlines. Your clients will not understand if you don't have the blog post you promised because you weren't feeling like writing that day.

Writing articles to meet a deadline is practically an art form, something that you master with practice. You don't need to sit down for an entire day, polishing your sentences, writing and rewriting paragraphs so that they gleam properly. You could, but that won't make you very productive, and you're writing for businesses. Work on your efficiency—you need to get your ideas down, edit your sentences, and send them to your manager or client as quickly as possible. Here are tips that could help you write quickly when you have many things to do.

Don't Overthink, Just Start

Writing quickly means letting go of your doubts. When you second guess your writing constantly, you will eat away at the time you set aside for writing. If you're writing for a client or a business, you would have had preliminary meetings to discuss the articles' content. Your client should have also given you a brief detailing the brand voice, audience, service area, and sample blog posts from which you can draw inspiration. If you're writing SEO articles, you should also have your list of keywords. These things are enough to get you started.

If you think it's not easy to get past the first sentence, you are absolutely right! Writing is challenging, and getting the first words down is the hardest part of it. However, you won't accomplish anything if you succumb to that hurdle. Getting unstuck sometimes means writing down sentences you don't particularly like. It's okay. You can go back and edit it later. What matters is that you start, because that builds momentum.

Keep an Idea Journal or Folder

You need to have a place to write ideas for your posts and articles. Many bloggers or content creators find it hard to develop topics; it takes up most of the pre-writing process. Keep a list of ideas in a physical notebook, or have a document in your hard drive or the cloud where you have ideas for your blogs. When you do get an idea for an article, don't feel pressured to research or come up with details right away. It's best to let ideas sit for a while. You might find other ideas you could combine with the first one, making your article better.

That said, don't wait too long to flesh out an idea, especially if you're really excited about it. Many writers tend to 'hoard' blog post ideas, saving them for a later time. Ideas are not a finite resource; you can get great ones all the time. All it takes is openness, observation skills, and a willingness to combine topics from different disciplines.

Keep the Writing and Editing Separate

When you're writing an article, it can be tempting to polish every sentence after you've written it down. This will only make you work twice as long as you should. Keep your writing and editing separate. Get as much of your words on paper as possible, and then prune the article accordingly. Also, try to keep your post under 1,000 words. Article length is not the only indicator of quality; many posts online are short but contain more information than longer posts.

Keep Your Workspace Free from Distractions

Dedicate specific blocks of time to writing articles. If you eliminate distractions and devote 30 or 45 minutes to writing, you could surprise yourself with the amount of work you can do. Turn off your phone's notifications, put it in another room, and use site-blocking tools on your laptop or desktop computer to keep you on task. Only use the web browser for research.

You could also set a timer to help you pace yourself. One of the most popular time management techniques is Pomodoro, which breaks down a work sprint in intervals of 25:5—25 minutes of uninterrupted work, followed by five minutes of rest. With enough practice in this productivity technique, you can do longer intervals and devote 52 minutes to work and 17 minutes to rest.

Finally, if the words just aren't there, don't pressure yourself. Fretting about your inability to write will not make you get unstuck faster. You can start writing a different post or jump to another paragraph in the article you're currently writing. A change of scenery might be just what you need.

Conclusion

With enough practice, you'll be able to write quickly without compromising on article quality. Using the tips we outlined above will help, especially if you're just getting started with professional writing.

It can be challenging to juggle a content calendar with other aspects of running a business. Let Ranked handle your blog content—our SEO writing services help more than 2,500 businesses rank in multiple markets and locations, helping them build an online presence for the long term. Contact our team or activate your account today!

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