Writing is a creative process at its core. However, the product of that process is a practical necessity for many of us. We need written content, and we need it on a consistent basis. If you’re producing that content yourself, that puts a lot of pressure on you—especially if you don’t consider yourself a creative person.
Everyone can produce a good piece of content once, even the “uncreative.” But creating any content on a regular basis (let alone good content) is difficult.
Fortunately, there are ways to take that pressure off.
1. Follow a schedule
If you need content on a regular, recurring basis, then you need to produce it on a regular, recurring basis. It’s as simple as that.
Pick a schedule and stick to it.
For example, here’s mine:
- I plan my content for the coming month on the last Sunday of each month
- I write my long form content for the coming week every Saturday
- I repurpose that content the following Sunday
- I post my long form content that Wednesday
- I post my short form content every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
This is what works for me. Depending on your audience’s needs and your needs, you might post once a month, or once a day, or whatever. Choose what works for you and create a schedule you know you can adhere to.
2. Getting started is always the hardest part
But once you start, everything gets easier.
Seriously, that’s all I want you to walk away from after you’re done reading this. There are some nifty tips and tricks that I’ve picked up of course, but if all you walk away from after reading is that one simple notion, I’ll have done my job.
Getting started is the hardest and most important part.
The best thing you can do for writing content (or writing anything at all, I imagine) is putting yourself down in front of a computer, a notepad, a smartphone, a digital recorder or even a freaking typewriter, and staying there until words appear.
Even if the words aren’t very good.
Here’s why that’s not a bad thing:
3. Editing is more important than writing
Did you know that for a given 90 minute movie, 18 hours of footage will be shot? And that’s a figure from back in the days of film. Now, with storage as cheap as it is, the ratio is even higher. On digital, 30 or even 45 hours of footage will be shot for every one hour of screen time. It’s absolutely bananas.
Now—I’m not saying that you should expect yourself to hit the same metrics when writing. That would be like writing an entire novel for a 2,000 word blog post. Fortunately, the written word is a lot more efficient. But the point remains: the person who makes the movie isn’t the camera operator. It really isn’t even the director. The editor is the one who takes all those raw materials and turns it into something consumable.
Writing is very much the same. However garbage your first draft is, you’ll always be able to edit it and turn it into something a little easier to digest.
4. Give yourself permission to suck
This plays right into the previous thought. Your first draft is allowed to be garbage, because you’re able to edit it.
Allowing yourself to produce garbage on your initial pass will make the prospect of starting SO much less daunting. That’s why getting started is scary for most—because they expect themselves to produce perfection on the first go round. And that’s just not how… well, anything that’s creative in nature works.
In addition to being a barrier to beginning, perfectionism often creates weak results. If you’re afraid to take risks, you’ll… Well, that’s how you end up sounding like ChatGPT. Paragraphs of grammatically flawless sentences, perfect spelling, and entirely logical structure. But also some of the most robotic, boring and soulless drudgery a person can read.
That’s what makes words written by real humans so much more enticing. Because they were written by humans, and humans are chaotic. We hate following the rules, we hate being predictable, and we especially hate making sense. We may do all of those things, but every once in a while we’ll take an opportunity to be rebellious and act a little weird. If that natural human tendency is missing from your writing, it will show.
So give yourself permission to be a little bit of a spaz when you’re at the keyboard. If you go too far, you can always edit it later.
5. Start long, then repurpose
This is a trick I learned from Dan Koe’s 2 Hour Writer course (not sponsored, but highly recommended).
What he does is produce one piece of long-form content each week and then repurpose it into a series of short form content pieces that he then disseminates across his social media platforms. This trick is HUGELY useful for producing continuous content based on only one real product.
By producing a long-form article and then breaking it down into tweets, Instagram posts, YouTube Shorts, and image carousels, you can produce an entire week’s worth of content—multiple posts per day— and drive more traffic to your main content.
If you then deliver that long-form piece through an email newsletter like this, you can use your short form content to drive traffic to an opt-in page and grow an audience on a platform that YOU own (your mailing list) rather than one that you don’t, such as Facebook. This is something that Dan does better than nearly anyone.
And there we go. You now have tools to mitigate the two most stressful parts of content creation: the never-ending flow of time, and the oppressive expectations of perfectionism. You have tools to create content regularly, to create enough content to keep up with demand, and to overcome your reluctance to create content in the first place.
Whether you use these tools is entirely your call. But I implore you: please use them. And if you don’t like them, find other ones and use those instead. And if you don’t, just write and share it with us.
Because you have a voice and a perspective that nobody else has, and the world would be a better place if you gave that gift.