There is a real quick way to sharpen your thinking and get a story out of you head pronto – it involves an editor yelling at you from across the room that you have 15 minutes to hit the send key or he’ll find someone else who can. The adrenalin levels soar and the words flow and you focus on saying what you have to say because you have no choice. Some of your best writing emerges.
The challenge of blogs and blogging on your own or for your business is that there is seldom a true deadline. You know you want to get it done and you know it should be done, but you have a client to call or another article to read. When you finally do settle it, you seldom feel a sense of urgency. You have time and you start to over think what you’re trying to say. How should this piece start? Should there be an “and” in that sentence? Would it sound better with “so?”
With little pressure to pound out the copy, you tinker and dilly dally and write around, up and about, but not with necessarily with extreme clarity. You can easily start to over think and second guess yourself. You read and reread what you have written a few too many times. What might have been good starts to sound out of whack because you’ve looked at it too closely for too long.
It’s hard to replicate the pressure of a newsroom where you really do have to turn in your copy on time or risk having your story cut or throwing off the entire schedule. There are a few things you can do however:
- Create a sense of urgency. If you want to build readership, you have to give people something to read. Picture those readers at their computer, eager to get their hands on your latest idea.
- Make a deadline. Don’t just pick a day on which you want to post, pick a time. Say by 11 a.m. on Tuesday mornings.
- Write when you don’t really have the time to do it. Start your post 30 minutes before you have to leave for a meeting or make a phone call and tell yourself you’re going to post something, anything, before you leave.
- Find a blogging buddy and challenge each other to get your posts done by a time certain. The one who doesn’t has to buy the beer.
- Go short if you have to. It’s better to get at least a few words up than letting weeks slip by with no word.
When you are on deadline, take a deep breath, push out of your mind everything but the topic at hand. Don’t think about what you will say at the meeting, don’t think about a bill that has to be paid, don’t think about what you’re going to eat for dinner. Just think about the subject and ask yourself what you want to say about it. What’s the most important thing your readers should hear? What three things do they need to know about it? Now write, write like your next meal depends on it.
And, have fun.