Content writing is hard at the best of times, but content writing to a deadline can be torturous.
Keeping up the momentum when copywriting has never been harder, when we have so many distractions beckoning. It’s harder still if your deadline is self-imposed, because you’re that much more likely to break it, especially if you have other projects to work on.
The thing is, a hard deadline is one of the best things you have going for you; it gives you a cut off point to work towards, and an extra reason to write today rather than tomorrow. So if you’ve set yourself a deadline, you’re halfway there. You just need to keep yourself motivated enough to meet your deadline.
So how can you meet your copywriting target time after time? Here are a few tips to help you write faster and more consistently without sacrificing quality.
1. Prepare for a really rubbish first draft
As Ernest Hemingway once observed, “The first draft of anything is sh*t”. If a literary great can put aside his quest for perfection in the interest of getting the thing written, so can you. Focus on quantity over quality initially – the quality will follow in the edit.
2. Turn the Internet off
Once you’ve done the research for your copy, cut yourself off from the Internet, both on your phone and your laptop/PC. Emails and social media can wait for an hour. If you can’t trust yourself not to check them, try downloading a software such as SelfControl or Cold Turkey, that lock you out from distracting websites for a set amount of time.
3. Don’t edit as you go!
It might feel like you’re saving time by editing while you write, but your momentum is more likely to stall if you’re lingering over correct word meanings and grammar. Rather, get the bones of your post down in full before attempting even a rough edit. If you’re concerned you’ll miss something second time round, highlight or asterisk the word or sentence as you go.
4. Write first, research second
Sometimes when I’m really struggling to get up any enthusiasm for researching a piece I turn the process on its head – I write it first, then research second. It might sound ridiculous but getting an extremely basic framework down, even one you’ll end up rewriting, is exactly what’s needed to get up your own interest in the piece, and propelling research and the rewrite. When you don’t know where to start, just do something – even if it’s the wrong thing at least you’ve taken a step.
5. Turn off your spell check
I do this when proofreading too. I find it far more time efficient to spellcheck the entire article at the end than having the checker interrupt my thought flow during writing.
6. Break down the big deadline into lots of little ones
Writing a 46 page website is daunting. Writing one page is achievable. Break down your final deadline into several smaller more manageable ones. Even if you’re only writing one article or blog post, setting smaller targets can help to boost your momentum – for example ‘complete research in an hour’, ‘write 500 words in 45 minutes’, or if you’re having a really tough time motivating yourself, just ‘draft a single paragraph in 10 minutes’.
7. Tell other people about your intended activity
Let others know your proposed writing activity that day. The knowledge that other people are aware of your target will make it harder for you to lapse.
8. Snacks as rewards
Take yourself back to revision days, when you’d reward yourself for a chunk of revision with a visit to the fridge. We might now lack the metabolism we once had for coping with such generous rewards, but hey, even a few carrot sticks and cups of tea can break up the writing process and reward your progress.
Got any other ideas on how to write faster and meet your deadlines? Share them in the comments below.8 failsafe ways to hit your content writing deadline Click To Tweet