The lazy person’s guide to writing great copy – fast!
Would you rather be hiking a wooded trail rather than writing your latest blog post?
Or taking a quick catnap on the couch?
Or catching up with friends?
You can. You just need to learn how to write content the lazy way.
“Lazy” doesn’t mean that you write poor-quality content. Or you don’t write at all. It means training your writing brain to write top-notch content, faster.
Writing more efficiently has some pretty cool benefits. If you freelance, this means more money in your pocket. If you work in-house, this means you can tackle more projects more quickly and move work off your desk.
I’ve outlined the 5-step process I follow and what I teach other writers. If you follow these 5 steps, you can write a blog post in one hour or less. That should give you plenty of time to do the things you really enjoy.
Yes, you can do this. Even if you’re new to the writing life.
Here’s how to do it.
– Gather everything you need before you start writing.
When I say “everything” I mean “everything.” You’ll want easy access to client interviews, product/service information, any notes you’ve taken and the competitive research. Having to stop what you’re writing to research one more keyphrase or check one more site is a huge time suck – plus, it breaks your flow.
– Don’t start writing until you’ve let the information “percolate.”
I spend about 10 minutes reviewing the material, making notes and determining how to approach the benefit statements or slant. If I have a brainstorm, I may even write some quick copy snippets. The goal during this phase isn’t to write the page. You just want to get some initial ideas on paper. Once you’ve finished …
– Set a time limit and write your copy.
Have you ever started writing a page around noon and – at 6 p.m. – it’s still not done? It’s a frustrating and tiring experience. Instead, set a timer for 25 minutes and write your draft. Don’t get into editing mode. Don’t worry if your paragraph structure is perfect. Just write. You’ll have time to edit it later.
(As a side note, it’s amazing how well we can write when there’s a time limit in place. There’s something about a ticking timer that gets our brains in gear.)
– Walk away from your draft.
Don’t edit it right away. Let it sit. You can come back to it in a couple hours, or even the next day.
– Tighten up your draft and send it out.
Again, I like to set a timer. I’ll review the content twice, spending 25 minutes each time. By the end of the second time block, I have a good-to-go final draft.
The more you tighten up your writing process, the easier it will be to write more content, faster. Finally, you’ll have more time for things you enjoy. Like sleeping. Or stepping away from your laptop and heading outside.
Photo thanks to Mark Vegas
Great approach, Heather. I like to condense the time by writing in the evening, sleeping on it, and then coming back to it the next morning. It certainly makes the work a lot stronger.
I don’t do the two, 25-minute editing sessions but rather one continuous session where I scan every line to see where I can cut words, connect some thoughts, or think of a fresher way of describing something. My attitude that morning is, “boy, that first draft really stunk. How am I going to save it?” As long as I’ve got the energy for that viewpoint, I know I’m likely to improve it. As soon as I start feeling like, “Oh, it’s good enough,” I know I’m no longer being effective.
That’s great, @Michael! I love how you circle back to your writing the next day. It’s amazing what we can see when we’re approaching our content with fresh eyes (and a rested brain!) :)
Thanks for your comment!
One of the problems which i have is not spending enough time reviewing the content, I think i’m going to try reviewing the content 24 hours after writing it, instead of reviewing it once i’ve finished writing it, might also try keeping track of how long i spend writing with an egg timer, something i’ve never tired before
@Craig, I LOVE the egg timer method. It’s helped me focus my efforts and not spend 3 hours writing one page. :)
Give it a try and let me know what you think! Thanks!
I always have such a hard time writing fast! Every text I tackle takes me way too long, and is obviously neither efficient nor cost-productive. This quick guide looks super helpful and it’s written in such a way that you just want to sit down and write a post – that’s how easy it sounds! :) Will give it a try for my next article. Thanks, Heather!
Thanks! I’ve just gone freelance with copywriting after being an in-house content manager for many years…but at least then I knew the issues related to what I was writing like the back of my hand! Am struggling right now with a brochure for an area that is a bit out of my comfort zone and I’m finding myself guilty of many of the things you’re saying not to do!
Tomorrow, I’m finishing off that draft by noon!!
Fantastic! Welcome to the wild and wooly world of freelancing!
Did you finish the draft? :)