Time killing your pillar content creation? Not any more!

Welcome to week three of the pillar content challenge.

If you’re only just joining us, here’s what you missed so far:

Week 1: How to nail your blog’s pillar content in 4 weeks.
Week 2: Why headlines and outlines are key to your pillar content crown.

And you’re back (or carrying on because you read those posts already!) Fabulous!

As before, let’s assume that you did the steps suggested in the previous two posts and you come equipped with topics, headlines and outlines for the core of your pillar content. If you’re like most people and you skipped over the ‘do this and then do that’ part of the last two weeks, I seriously encourage you to go back and do them now.

The rest of this post will be painful without them.

So here’s where the fun really starts. Today is where you take your ideas, your cleverly crafted headlines and that all important outline, and start weaving your magic. It’s the fun part because you’ll end the process with lots of gorgeous words to show for all your effort, and that’s worth a smile right?

Getting it done

The good news is that with your headline and outline in place, writing the post is easy. You’ve done all the hard thinking work. You just need to sit down and get it done.

The bad news? You need to sit down and get it done!

Time for the much-cited but oft ignored advice …

    1. Turn off all distractions

Email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype … whatever your time drain of choice, if you want to get these pillar content posts done with the least time investment, it’s vital that you remove all distractions. This series was prepared and written using the advice given throughout with the exception of this one point.

While writing this I’m also in the process of cooking dinner, chatting via GTalk and checking the latest happenings on Twitter. The result? This paragraph took me three hours to write!

    1. Get your bum in the seat!

Sit there and write it already! Legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz had a killer technique for getting it done. He sat in his seat and was not allowed to get out of it until his timer went off, signalling the end of the allotted 33.33 minutes. Now that might not be the way for everyone but you can not argue with the rationale behind sticking around and just doing it.

And the most annoying thing of all? It works! That this post is finished owes much to Schwartz’s method. ;)

    1. Stop editing, keep writing

When you’re writing the first draft of anything, it’s just that, a first draft. The most effective way to nail any content creation is to get the words out as quickly as possible. Forget about correcting spelling, don’t worry that your finger slipped on an extra key, grammar can go out the window. This is your first draft baby and as such, none of these things is in the slightest bit important.

You have your headline in place so you know where your headed. With your outline by your side you also have a map of the journey. First drafts are about filling in the details and if you stop to change sentence construction along the way, not only are you in serious danger of cramping your own style, the whole process will take twice as long (and result in a less stupendous piece of writing!)

Now before anyone has a fit, I’m not suggesting that you then hit publish. No way! This is a first draft. You get your words out there and then you go and do something else. Have a cup of tea, read a book, go for a walk, call your favourite aunt and have a natter.

And then later (and yes, I know, ‘later’ is a very stretchy word!) you return to your first draft and you read it through, twice. The first time you read it through, do so from your blog’s dashboard. At this stage you’re really just looking for the glaringly obvious mistakes, typos, spelling mistakes, things that don’t seem to make sense.

It is in the second reading where the magic really happens.

The magic of you.

Save your blog post and then click ‘preview’ to read your post within the context of your site as a whole. But here’s the really magic bit … this time you’re going to read your post out loud. There is no single better way I know of spotting poorly constructed phrasing and fidgety grammar than this so I’m going to say it again …

Read your post out loud.

It is a beautiful way to make sure you sound like you (and if you’re not already using your own distinctive voice in your writing, this is something we can discuss another time) and it is the most simple way to check that your post reads like the wonderful work of art it deserves to be.

Rinse and Repeat

Follow the stops above and you’ll have finished one of your core blog posts. But it’s not time for snoozing yet. You’re creating a series remember? Go and have a break, stretch your legs, get some fresh air … then come back and do it all again.

And again. And again.

My God given talent is my ability to stick with training longer than anybody else.” – Herschel Walker

You may not be training for a football game but the ability to keep at it, to consistently come back and write some more, to stick with it until you’re done, this alone will make the difference between you and the guy pulling at your shirt to overtake you.

Next week … the final straight and putting it all together.

But first, what techniques do you already use for sticking with a task and getting it done?


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