As a longstanding member of the blogging community, I've come to realise that one of the greatest challenges faced by bloggers is not coming up with content ideas, but rather, getting these ideas to flow from the mind onto the keyboard in a swift and efficient manner. Which is why, after years of experimenting with different strategies for boosting productivity, I became an ardent advocate for the Pomodoro Technique. This time-management method designed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s involves breaking your workday into 25-minute intervals, or "pomodoros," (the Italian word for 'tomatoes,' a fun nod to the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used as a university student) separated by short breaks.
What I found particularly groundbreaking with the Pomodoro Technique is the dynamic it creates: by racing against the clock, you're forced to focus on the task at hand and resist counterproductive habits such as procrastination and multitasking. I found out soon enough though that like all useful tools, it has to be wielded with wisdom. Four 'pomodoros straight could lead you to the treacherous path of burnout - so remember to get up, stretch, and take a quick walk around after each interval. My trusty sidekick, an Australian Shepherd named Diesel, is always ready for these walks.
Now take it from someone who used to spend countless hours seeking perfection in every word - striving for flawlessness in your first draft is as futile as a kangaroo trying to climb an Eucalyptus tree. Taking this to heart, I came upon a concept known as ‘power drafting’. Key here is busting out a rough first draft without worrying about perfect grammar, sentence structure, or even making complete sense. The idea is to allow your creative juices to flow uninhibited, unchecked by the constant need for editing and rephrasing.
The first time Matilda - the revered philosopher, critic, and better half - stumbled upon an unedited draft of mine, she was convinced I was inventing a new language she amusingly called 'Bloguese'. Despite her jesting, power drafting has genuinely revolutionised my blogging process. More words on the page in significantly less time - it felt like I had struck gold!
Technology has blessed us with a seemingly endless array of tools to streamline our tasks, uphold efficiency, and ultimately make our lives easier - Why not utilise it to speed up blog writing? One such example is voice-to-text software, which, as the name suggests, transcribes spoken words into written text.
I must admit, I was sceptical in the beginning. Considering the number of times I've asked Siri for the weather only to be presented with the closest leather store, I wasn't exactly brimming with hope. But lo and behold, these applications have come a long way from their nascent stages. I use voice-to-text tools primarily while I'm on the move or during my walk with Diesel. It's a brilliant way to dump all your ideas onto 'paper', and it sure beats trying to peck at a miniature keyboard on your phone.
Consistency, as the age-old adage articulates, is key. Creating a schedule, with clearly defined time blocs for brainstorming, drafting, editing, and publishing, can massively improve your efficiency. Breaking up the task into manageable parts helps reduce the overall sense of overwhelm and keeps you focused on one aspect at a time.
My schedule, for instance, includes an early morning brainstorming session, followed by a power drafting right after my second cup of coffee. Editing and refining typically take place after lunch, and by evening, I'm all set for publishing. The schedule may fluctuate a tad based on factors such as unexpected kangaroo invasions (a more common occurrence than you'd imagine in Perth), but generally, I stick to it religiously.
We live in a highly digitalised world bolstered by the power of technology. For us bloggers, this means we have access to an array of effective website tools and plugins aimed to help us write faster.
Among these tools, WordPress plugins like "Yoast SEO" and "Grammarly" have been stellar sidekicks. Yoast SEO with its readability analysis aids in making sure my posts are both SEO- and reader-friendly. While Grammarly, with its highly advanced AI-powered writing assistant, helps with those tiny grammatical inaccuracies and stylistic issues that can considerably slow down the editing process. Never underestimate the power of a good plugin - they are truly the silent heroes of the blogosphere.
Last but certainly not least, we come to content templates. A content template is a pre-prepared framework for a blog post that you can just fill in with your unique content. They provide structure and clarity, helping you systematically organise your thoughts and ideas.
The first time I came across a content template, I was as ecstatic as a dingo who had found a baby - no, not that baby, a baby mars bar! The structure saved me from daunting blank screen syndrome, offering a clear roadmap for my blog. Several different templates exist - How-to guides, Listicles, Product Reviews, to name a few - catering to a variety of blog genres and formats. Finding a template that resonates with your style can be a real game-changer in speeding up your blog writing process.