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Achieve Your Writing Dream in Just 25 Minutes A Day

What’s your writing dream?

Do you want to write a book, but you have no idea how you’d find the time?

Do you have a great idea for an online course, but work priorities keep putting it on the back burner?

Have you wanted to write just for fun, but you’re too overwhelmed to start?

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8 Ways to Keep Writing When You’re Running on Creative Fumes

It started last Thursday.

I woke up and immediately noticed that I felt “off.” I spent a good half of the weekend on the couch, remote control in hand. And working out today was no fun.

No, I’m not sick. I’m running on creative fumes. I’ve been writing so fast and furious that I can feel my body screaming, “Uh, can we have a little break here?”

Can you relate? There are times when all deadlines seem to converge – no matter how organized you are, or how judiciously you plan your time. Instead of going from one project to another in a relaxed flow, everything is urgent, high priority and due right now.

This situation is something any Web copy writer – from freelance SEO copywriter to in-house content marketer – deals with from time to time. At first, working such a fast pace is exciting. You’re balancing multiple projects and never feeling bored.

Then, about halfway through the projects, you start to lose momentum. You look at your copy and wonder, “Is this any good? Or does it sound exactly like what I just wrote yesterday.” You go home feeling exhausted. Television or a good book is about all you can handle. Talking….not so much.

Good news: Your writing quality probably isn’t suffering at this point (yet). But your psyche is. You’re writing too much in too short a time – and it’s taking a toll.

Exhausting, isn’t it? Looking back at the last two weeks, I’m not surprised I went for some quality couch-time last weekend. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing (obviously – I’m writing this post!). I’ve just learned how to manage my energy better. Here’s how you can, too.

  • Admit where you are. Some folks have it in their heads that writers should “always” be able to write, no matter what. The reality is, there are good days – and there are bad days. Saying, “I’m a little frazzled right now,” is OK. You don’t have to be 100 percent “on” all the time. No one is.
  • Be picky about what you put into your body. I used to manage these “running on creative fumes” times with a two-pronged approach: Starbucks double-shot latte (which would make it the sixth espresso shot of the day) and a cupcake. I can almost feel the sugar high just by typing this! Then one day, I felt my blood sugar spike and crash within a very short period of time. It was uncomfortable, made it impossible to write and was more than a little bit scary. Now, I focus on protein during high-stress times and always have food like almonds nearby.
  • Recognize your energy flows. Even during my creatively frazzled times, there are still some hours where the writing is easy and effortless. I’ve learned to embrace that time and write when I’m feeling “on.” If I’m checking email every five minutes and blankly staring at my computer screen, I’m not working (or being productive.) I’m wasting time.  At the same time, even if I’m in an “up” energy flow, I’ve learned to…
  • Slice production expectations during busy times. I can write super-fast when the Muse is with me, and I tend to pack my to-do list accordingly. When multiple deadlines are crashing down and I can feel myself starting to burn out, I start slicing items off my to-do list. Ask yourself what’s priority to do right now, versus what can wait until tomorrow. Do you really need to write that Web page now, or can it wait? The more you can conserve energy, the easier it will be to get through your deadlines.
  • Obsessively plan your writing. Sure, if you weren’t as busy, you may be able to sit down and write perfect Web copy without much prep work. But when you’ve been writing way too much in too short of time, your brain just can’t perform on a dime like that. Your best bet is to take time to outline every Web page before you start writing, and have your keyphrase research easily accessible. Spending a little “prep time” now can help prevent you from blankly staring at the screen later.
  • Take time to relax every day. It’s important to spend even 30 minutes away from the computer and doing something relaxing. Maybe that means reading a book. Maybe that means staring at the window and watching the people go by. It seems counter-intuitive that you need to stop work in order to work more efficiently – but it’s true. Try it and see.
  • Enjoy yourself. I know it’s easy to gripe and moan about “deadlines” and “burnout.” I’ve done it too. At the same time – you can also look at this time as a fun creative challenge. Think about it: If you weren’t so darn good, you wouldn’t have this problem. Enjoy the moment.
  • Rest when the crunch time is over. Congratulations! You made it through. Take a few writing days off and focus on doing other things. By the time you sit back down at your computer, you’ll be seeing your work with fresh eyes – and your writing will flow without flagging.

Need Blog Post Ideas? Have You Tried These Tips…?

Let’s face it. Magically coming up with blog post ideas is grueling. Sure, you can schedule time to brainstorm post ideas (here’s how to generate over 3,000 a year!). But what about those days when the ideas don’t come, you’re on deadline, and you feel like you’ve written it all before?

Don’t get stuck – get inspired, instead! Here are 5 ways you can generate blog post ideas.

Portent’s Content Idea Generator

How could I have not written about this gem before? This tool is brought to you by the good folks at Portent, run by Ian Lurie (if you don’t follow Ian Lurie, do it now. You’re in for a snarky treat.)

Simply type in your general post idea and let the Content Idea Generator do all the work. For instance, I typed in one of the most boring topics I could dream up: screw compressors. Years ago, I used to handle the marketing for a company that made flash freezers for fishing boats. I often had to  come up with sexy press angles about screw compressors.

Yes. Pity me.

Here’s what the Idea Generator came up with:

Content Idea Generator

The verdict? Not bad. If you’re in an industry that makes, needs or sells screw compressors, you could easily come up with a list of 18 things. Well done, Content Idea Generator!

Use forums for fun and profit

Some people think forums are old school. I mean, aren’t all the cool kids hanging out on Google + now (OK, OK…I had to make that joke.) Seriously, it’s amazing how many people forget about forums as great idea generators. Plus, all you need to do is some quick Google searches to make it happen.

Simply type [forum:your topic] into Google and see what comes up. In this case, I used the search term [food cart]. Us Portlanders really love our food carts.

forum_food_cart_-_Google_Search

Voila! You’re rewarded with a plethora of post ideas! If this is too overwhelming, you can search inside the forums. Try using search terms like:

  • I hate it when
  • can’t find
  • need advice
  • question about
  • can anyone help me

(H/T to Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income blog for the search terms tip.)

Check out industry conference topics

Conference organizers spend hours figuring out the best session topics for their events. Why? Because they know the right session topics (read: the ones that people want to know about) will drive ticket sales. Plus, many conferences now crowdsource their session ideas and ask people to vote on their favorites – virtually guaranteeing that the topics are spot-on.

For instance, sensory deprivation float tanks are all the rage right now (heck, I was even interviewed for a piece in The Nation about float tanks!) The float industry has an annual conference held in Portland, OR for float enthusiasts, float tank center owners and people in the industry. One of the days is an intensive workshop geared towards owners:

Float_Center_Workshop

This page alone provides scads of blog post ideas, from, “how to soundproof your float tank room” to “how to use social media to promote your float business.” If you’re stuck for topic ideas, conference pages will shake loose some great ideas.

As a side note, I’ve never read any other post discussing this tip (although one may be out there.) So, by using it, you may have an inside track on your competition. You’re welcome.

Webinar Q & A sessions

Here’s another idea I’m surprised isn’t utilized more. You know how you’re tempted to boogie out of a webinar session when the Q & A kicks in? Yes, I know you have things to do, and you’ve already learned what you want to learn…

…but by walking away from the Q & A, you’re missing out on a bevy of blog post ideas.

dreamstime_14382654

Think about it. People in your target audience are asking questions. Some (if not most) of those questions could turn into a blog post idea. Heck, you could even write the title like a headline, for instance, “How can I find float tank regulations for my city?” That’s SEO copy gold, baby!

Plus, if you include the webinar presenter’s answer in your blog post, you can send them a note and let them know you cited her. BOOM, now an influencer may tweet your post to the masses.

You can use this blog post idea hack during conferences, too. While other people are filing out of the room, you can smile knowing you have enough blog post fodder to last you for a long time.

Podcasts

“I don’t have time to listen to podcasts!” I get it. I love the idea of podcasts, but I don’t always have the 10-20 minutes to listen to them. Fortunately, this tip is less about listening to a podcast (although you certainly can) and more about learning from their descriptions.

For instance, Jeff Goins includes show highlights on his site (where you can also listen to his podcast.) Just look at all these tasty topics:

How_to_Write_Fiction_for_a_Living_with_Stacy_Claflin

Look – there are 11 bullet points you could transform into a meaty blog post! What are you waiting for? You should start writing right now!

Granted, not all podcasters post their talking points on their blog. In that case, even checking out iTunes provides some good information. Do a keyword search for what you want to know more about and check out the podcasts that come back. For instance, if I search for [make money blogging], the ProBlogger Podcast pops up. Here’s a screen shot:

Podcast

If the podcast titles don’t birth a brainstorm, the podcast descriptions will. Just hover over the “information” button in iTunes to get the scoop.

Plus, this technique is a great way to find podcasting influencers you may not have heard of before. I hadn’t heard of some of the [make money blogging] podcasters that iTunes returned – but now they’re on my radar.

Blogging day in and day out can be a chore. Hopefully, these five tips will help expand your topic horizons and make the generating blog idea process a little less painful.

Inspired? Let me know in the comments! Or, feel free to post a tip. I’d love to read it!

Freelance Writers: Are You Making This Costly Mistake?

You answer emails within five minutes of them hitting your inbox.

You race to pick up the phone by the third ring, no matter what you’re doing (or writing.)

A client emails you Saturday night at 10:45 and you immediately return their note. Even if that means taking time away from your family.

And you’re always exhausted and wondering how you can work an 11-hour day with nothing to show for it.

Sound familiar? If so, quit it! You’re hurting your productivity by being so available (and hurting your business, too.)

Here’s why:

If you don’t value your time, why should your client?

Have you ever experienced the Friday “drop and go?” This is when a client emails you late on a Friday and writes, “I’m heading out for the weekend, but I need this first thing on Monday.

Ouch.  Suddenly, you realize that your weekend plans are now on hold until you can get the client stuff squared away.

No fun.

I’ve gone through this before. I actually had a prospect demand a proposal on Christmas Eve (really!). Did I do it? Yes. And the client didn’t look at the proposal until mid-January. Yeah. I learned my lesson.

The truth is, we train our clients how to treat us. If we’re always available and accommodating, it’s not the client’s fault for thinking we could handle a weekend project. Or a rush job. Or we’d drop everything so we could complete “just this one thing.”

That’s why setting client boundaries is so important. Yes, be available within reason. And yes, there may be those times when you do work a weekend to take care of a good client. But it shouldn’t be an expectation.

Being overly available kills your productivity

“I can’t get everything done” is a common freelance writer frustration. If this is a frustration of yours, here’s a reality check:

If you’re bouncing from email to client project to phone calls, you’ll never have enough time. It will take you ten times longer to finish a fast project. You’re doing it to yourself – even if it feels like it’s being done to you. You’re multitasking yourself into an unproductive frenzy. 

So here’s what to do about it:

1. Train yourself to NOT respond every time you hear the phone ring or your email ding. Turn off the ringer. Mute the notifications. Close the door. Do everything you can to give yourself some uninterrupted work time. It’s OK. People will leave a message. You can call/email them back.

2. Tell your clients when you are available.  Most clients don’t require (or expect) an instant response. They just want to know that you’ll get back to them within a reasonable amount of time. It’s even OK to write, “I received this and I’ll look into it later today,” so they know you’re on it.

3. Practice saying, “I’m happy to do this. There will be a rush fee of X.” It’s amazing how clients will suddenly value your time much more when they know there’s an extra cost involved. :) Plus, if you do work a rush job, you know you’ll be well compensated for your time.

Try implementing these strategies. I guarantee you’ll feel more centered, energetic and focused during the day. Plus, you’ll probably see a nice productivity spike – which could mean more money in your pocket. Bonus!

What do you do to keep yourself on track? Please leave a comment with your favorite boundary-setting strategies!

What’s Holding You Back?

Who knew that my post, “Why do freelance writers hate SEO copywriting” would stir up so many comments?

After the post, I received a bunch of emails and blog comments like this one:

I like being able to work from home, but I really do despise the articles that I write. I would run away from these articles as quickly as possible if I had a client willing to pay a decent wage for excellent content.

Unfortunately, I cannot find these clients. To be honest, I don’t really know where to look because the only thing I find are the companies wanting quantity and care very little about quality.

Ugh. This writer is obviously in misery. Writing bad copy for low wages can’t be fun – at all.

But here’s the deal: If you’re in an uncomfortable situation, the only person holding you back is you.

That’s not an indictment. I have certainly been in scads of situations where I felt hopeless. Every day, I would wake up with a knot in my stomach. Instead of feeling excited about my day, I’d feel a huge sense of dread. Sometimes, I’d hear my father’s voice asking, “How long are you going to put up with this?”  There were times that I immediately snapped to and quickly changed my situation. But there were many more times that I didn’t.

Why? I may have hated where I was – but I was comfortable. The misery I knew was better than “putting myself out there” and doing something else. That seemed way too scary (and in my depressive way, I figured that it wouldn’t work out anyway.)

In short, I was stuck.

If this is you, I encourage you to change your outlook right now.  There is always something you can do to change your situation and exercise your “control what you can control” muscles. That power is always available to you.  You may not be able to do much…but you can take baby steps towards a goal

For instance, let’s consider the “I’m writing stuff I hate for hardly any money” situation. Here are some steps that person can take:

– Figure out his copywriting niche. What type of client does he want to work with?

– Figure out his value proposition. How can he demonstrate to his prospects that he produces extremely valuable work (hint: testimonials, case studies and testimonials can certainly help.)

– Determine his income goals. He’ll want to figure out hisyearly income goals – and how to break them down into attainable bite-size chunks.

– Develop a fantastic website. If he wants web clients, he’ll need to have a killer site with compelling copy. ‘Nuff said.

– Figure out how to reach his desired market. Is his target market on Twitter? LinkedIn? Or is direct mail better?

– Develop an airtight sales strategy. What will he say to prospects? What’s his process?

Is this easy? No. Will it take some time? Yes. Could it mean some hard decisions and sacrifies? You bet. But it’s taking action. It’s moving forward towards a goal. It’s using smart planning and baby step momentum to propel him in the right direction.

In short, it’s exercising the power he already has.

So, next time you’re feeling stuck, consider what you want the end goal to look like.

Do you want to lose weight?

Do you want to make more money?

Do you want to take a long vacation?

Do you want a better relationship with your partner?

Then, consider the things that you can do that are within your control. That could be signing up for an exercise class. Or working with a consultant to help you improve your income. Make a list of all the little tasks you can take towards your goal – big and small.

Then, start taking those baby steps towards your goal. Every day. No negotiation. No “Well, I don’t feel like it today.” Do it. That’s when you’ll start seeing results.

I guarantee that taking action – and reclaiming your power – will make you much happier.

Plus, you’ll make so much progress towards your goal that you’ll start feeling in control. You’ll know that you pulled yourself out of an uncomfortable situation and made it better. You’ll have exercised those “control what you can control” muscles and made them bigger and stronger. Next time you face a challenge, you’ll be that much better prepared to deal with it.

And that’s a wonderful thing.

How I Beat Writer’s Block By Interviewing Myself

I have a confession.

You know those tasks you put on your to-do list — but you never do them? You keep carrying them over day after day thinking, “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”

For the last few months, I’ve been sitting slack-jawed in front of my laptop every time I tried to start a writing project. I’d write a few words, hate them all and put it off for another day.

The project? My “About Us” bio page.

The bio I had was…OK. It did what it did to do, but I felt that it didn’t have much pizzaz. Nor did it reflect my personality. It was mechanically correct, but flat from a copywriting perspective.

Never was that issue so in my face than when I redesigned the site. When I asked people to review it, one of the top comments was, “You don’t really showcase who you are or what you’ve done. You’re an expert. You need to put that front and center.”

Sadly, I knew they were right.

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How Percolation Time Can Make You a Better Writer

I’ve been reading a few posts about how meditation can help the writing process.  One person insists that meditation will make you a better writer. Another person uses it for business brainstorms.

I would agree with these statements. Shutting down your external thoughts – even for a short time – can lead to transformative results.

The challenge is, the word “meditation” means different things to different people. For some people, meditation is like “coming home” and an important part of their day. Others may have tried meditation and found it frustrating – after all, sitting still for 20 minutes can be hard. Instead of sticking with it, they figured that they weren’t cut out for this meditation stuff, got frustrated and stopped trying.

If the second scenario sounds familiar, then this blog post is for you.

Taking time to be quiet is crucial in today’s online marketing space. We are bombarded by news, ads and “stuff” every second that we’re online. Our brains are trying to process what we see, plus keep track of what we’re supposed to do. Is it any wonder that we’re so exhausted at the end of the day (yet sometimes, we have a hard time sleeping?). It’s like our minds are constantly running on a high-speed treadmill.

Rather than forcing yourself to spend 20+ minutes a day meditating, why not spend some “percolation time” instead?

For instance, before I start writing for a client, I spend about 10-15 minutes thinking about the project. If a really fantastic sentence pops into my brain, I write it down. If I think of an interesting angle or tone and feel tweak, I write that down too. I’m not at my computer when I do this. I’m usually somewhere else (typically my couch or a cafe) far away from my laptop.

I may initially think that “I don’t have percolation time to spare.” And heck, it can be hard to come down from a go-go-go mindset some days. But the more I sit, the more I relax – and the creative solutions start flowing.

I’ll spend entire days in percolation mode. When my brain gets too jammed up with “stuff,” I take the day off. I don’t check email or respond to Tweets. Instead, I find things to do that are quiet and relaxing, like getting a massage or going to a museum (or both!). I may start the day by telling myself, “I would like to figure out the solution to X issue,” but I don’t really think about work.

I let whatever is going on in my brain percolate. And at the end of the day – or the next morning – I have my answer. It’s a form of meditation for me (and, oddly, I’ve found that the more “percolation time” I have, the easier it is for me to meditate. Go figure.)

This is something that you can easily try before your next writing assignment.  Simply spend a little bit of time away from your computer and allow your mind to drift. Write down whatever comes to mind without analyzing it. Then, when you feel that the process is “done” (yes, you’ll know,) check out your notes and see what you find.

I can guarantee that you’ll find some gems that will give you new perspective on your writing – and sometimes, even your life. I took yesterday off and came up with a  business insight that slapped me across the face, hard. But in a good way.

Percolation is powerful like that.

Try it and let me know how it goes. I guarantee that it will become part of your ongoing process.

How to Turn Your Creativity up to 11

I’m often asked, “Heather, how do you write so much content without burning out?”

Um, good question. I could talk about how I’ve spent almost half of my life studying copywriting (ack, that’s scary to type.) Or how I force myself to write online copy, even when I don’t feel like writing. Or how I’m just plain stubborn.

But what’s the real secret of my success?

I force myself to take breaks – long, soul-renewing breaks – and let my creative juices do their thing.

I wasn’t always like this. Up until a year ago, I was working, working, working all the time. My day would start at 7 a.m. and end at 9 p.m. I’d finish one task and immediately move to the next one. I wasn’t taking vacations or many breaks during the day. Or if I was “taking a break,” I was playing on my phone or surfing on my iPad. Which, yeah, isn’t really a break.

I was intense.

During this time, I wasn’t really digging what I was writing. Sure, it was OK – but I wasn’t having those brilliant flashes of creativity that makes a writer’s life worthwhile. I wasn’t looking at my sentence structure thinking, “Damn, that’s goooood.” Was I feeling burnt out? Hell yeah. But I pushed through (sound familiar?).

In short, I wasn’t writing in the flow anymore – and that bugged me.

Then one day, I had to write a blog post after an acupuncture appointment. I thought I was “too relaxed” to write, but I sat down and did it anyway – part of that stubborn streak I have. What flowed (and yes, it flowed) was my “SEO copywriting tips in Haiku” post – and it remains as one of my most popular posts.

Aha! I made the connection. A more relaxed Heather means better writing.  When I’m feeling good, I can turn my creativity up to a Spinal Tap 11. Got it.

Turns out other folks are making the same connection. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame wrote an article about the benefits of soul-crushing boredom (props to @acteeple for the great link). The Huffington Post had a post today that discussed how “cyberloafing” at work can actually boost productivity. There’s even a National Relaxation Day on August 15th (Did you miss it and work instead? Yeah, me too.)

Plus, many writers report having their best ideas when they’re doing something else – taking a bath, enjoying a walk, or even just spacing out. Think about this in your own life. After all, have you ever had a brilliant flash of insight after working a 12-hour day?

Nope, didn’t think so.

Taking breaks actually encourages (and protects) your creativity. If you’re a freelance copywriter, Web designer, or do anything that’s more creative in nature, you NEED to chill out. You NEED to protect your creativity like a surgeon protects her hands.

Without our creativity, we’re lost.

If you’re feeling scrunched from all sides, building in some downtime could be just the ticket.  You may not be able to plan a 2-week cruise right now – but you can at least take steps to regain some work/life balance. For instance:

  • If you finish a task, take a 15 minute break away from the computer before moving to the next one.
  • Rather than fiddling with your phone when you’re bored, put it away and enjoy the moment. Even if it’s a boring moment.
  • Take time to do something “nonproductive” like walking, cooking or just staring off into space.
  • Spend at least one day a week away from your computer, iPad, iPod – you know, all those technological toys that we “can’t live without.” Guess what? You’ll be able to live without them.
  • Try something completely new. I love climbing into sensory deprivation float tanks and enjoying total darkness for 90 minutes. It sounds weird and scary – but damn, it’s been transformative.

This blog post lists other ways to step away from the screen give yourself a break.

Taking a chill pill doesn’t mean that you’re being lazy (I can hear my father’s voice telling me to “Get up and do something” every time I take a break!). Nor does it mean that you’re stupid or you’re not working “hard enough” (whatever that means.)

It means that you’re taking care of your creativity.

And you’ll find that your creativity has been cranked way, way up to  11. Who can beat that?

Next year, I’ll be taking over 2 weeks off to raft the Grand Canyon. There will be no phone. There will be no laptop or television. It’s freakin’ scary to know that I’ll be that unplugged, but I’m also looking forward to the experiment. Who knows where my creativity will take me – or how life-changing unplugging will be. I may go nuts the first couple days, but I know the experience will be well worth it.

Now isn’t it time to step away from the computer and take a break?  But before you go, post a comment on your fave ways to “chill out” and rejuvenate yourself. You may spark an idea for someone else.

The ‘No Time’ Myth

I recently attended my 25th high school reunion (You want to feel old? Go to your 25th reunion. Wow.) :) All in all, it was a very fun experience. I got to see people who I haven’t seen in years. I chatted with folks I didn’t know well back in the day. And I learned how everyone was balancing work/home/family/other obligations.

One of the sentiments frequently expressed was, “I would love to do X, but I don’t have time.” Some of the “X’s” were as simple as getting away for the weekend or reading a new book. Others were more serious. I don’t know how many conversations I had with people who said, “My doctor said that I should work out more, but I don’t have the time.”

The discussions made me think of how many site owners and marketing departments want to launch an SEO content initiative – but their excuse is “no time.”

  • Instead of rewriting sales pages with super-high bounce rates, they let them sit on the site because “they don’t have time.”
  • Instead of finally starting an organic SEO campaign, they do what they’ve always done because “they don’t have time.”
  • Instead of outsourcing their writing to update their years-old Web copy – or hiring a freelance SEO copywriter to help produce pages – folks get stuck and do nothing.  Why? You guessed it. They don’t even feel like they have time to figure out a plan, much less do anything else.

I get it. I really do. We’re all doing more with less and time is at a premium. If you have a choice between cranking out a new sales page and leaving the office at a decent hour, what sounds the most appealing?

It’s amazing how we can find the time – if we really want to.

I used to fall into this trap. Heck, before I met my husband, I said that “I didn’t have time to date.” Then I met my man – and suddenly, I made time. Hanging out with him became a priority. Needless to say, my life took a major turn for the better – and I really did have the time to make it happen.

Then, I used to say that I “didn’t have time to work out.” After a major paradigm shift, I worked working out into my daily routine. Today, I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been. Sure, my workday can be crunchy some days – but I found that I do have the time.

You’ve probably experienced the same thing. You find that you do have the time for certain things – and when you do them, you feel so, so much better (and see some amazing results.)

Your SEO copywriting challenge…

Today, I challenge you to pinpoint ONE SEO content-related thing that “you don’t have time for” and see how you CAN make time for it.

  • Maybe that means you spend 25 minutes a day working towards your goal (check out my post on the Pomodoro technique – it’s a great way to baby-step your goals.)
  • Maybe that means you outsource some writing so you can realize the benefits a bit faster.
  • Maybe that means slicing your non-productive Google+/Twitter/Facebook/Angry Birds usage so you can free up a few minutes here and there.

The trick is: You identify what you want to accomplish, and figure out how to make it happen.

What’s cool about this technique is – it’s addictive. Once you’ve sliced one longstanding to-do off your list and realized the results, other opportunities seem much more “do-able.” There’s nothing like seeing the fruits (and profits) of your labor to shake you out of your “no time” comfort zone and help you see new opportunities.

So, choose one “no time” task to focus on this August and get ‘er done. If you’d like, post your to-do in the comments field (after all, writing down your goals and holding yourself accountable is a great way to start.) Hopefully, you’ll see that you can make time to focus on these highly-important tasks – and you’ll start seeing more traffic, more followers – and yes, more of that Internet money.

‘Cause who doesn’t have time for more money? :)

Enjoy this post? “Like” it and tell your friends! Thank you!

How A Kitchen Timer Can Improve Your SEO Copywriting

Are you looking for ways to free up some additional time? There’s a rarely talked-about writing technique that can actually help you write better, more engaging Web content – in less time.

And all you’ll need is a kitchen timer (or a timer app) to make it happen. No expensive software or time-management classes necessary.

Here’s all you have to do: Set the timer for a certain time period (I use 25 minutes,) and write. That’s it. Sounds easy, right…?

Well, it’s not – not at first. A big writing efficiency-killer is our tendency to fidget and multitask. We may check email when we’re writing a web page. We may pop over and surf Twitter when our online writing flow starts to flag. Or – and every writer can identify with this one – we realize, “Oops, I don’t have everything I need to write this article.” Then, the information gathering process begins. You surf for stats. You check your project emails. You’re doing everything but…well…writing.

Sound familiar?

I know this pain far too well. My brain often goes in 10 different directions in any given moment, and multitasking is second nature to me. Then, I tried the Pomodoro Technique (which is the basis of the “kitchen timer method”) My writing life literally changed after reading the guide – which you can download for free.

The kitchen timer writing method forces you to have your stuff together before you start. That means your notes are accessible, your email notifications are set to “off” and your office door is closed. For writers who tend to multitask, this part alone can be incredibly challenging (very challenging!).

After using this method for one day, I saw some fantastic results. I was writing more in 25% less time. And this was quality work – not a scattered rough draft.

Granted, it wasn’t easy. I wanted to do something – anything – but write during those first five minutes. There were a couple times when I caught myself tabbing over to email (old habits die hard!). By the fourth 25-minute writing block, I only tried to stop once. From there, it was smooth sailing.

I never realized the mental toll multi-tasking had on my psyche. Spending focused writing time kept me feeling good and staying calm. I wasn’t mentally drained by 5 p.m. (with three more hours of work time to go.) My energy levels stayed high. I wasn’t riding an adrenaline wave. Life felt much more…even.

I’d highly recommend leveraging this technique. If you’re a freelance writer, writing faster means you can take on more projects and make more money. If you work in-house, increasing your efficiency allows you to finish projects earlier and gain additional free time.

Plus, having more time allows you to leverage more of your content marketing strategy, faster – you’ll finally have the time to launch a new initiative or rewrite some Web content.

So try the kitchen timer technique and let me know how it goes. Who knew that such a low-tech tool could help us with our high-tech writing lifestyles?