The simple truth that will help you write blog posts faster

10 Comments

write blog posts fasterWant to write blog posts faster?

I’m going to tell you my little trick, but before I do – let me see if you know how this story ends.

He was a tiny little guy. Small in stature and not very strong. Every time he wanted to hang out with the other big strong guys at his school, they pushed him aside. He was an outcast. And nothing he could do would get him into the “in” crowd.

But then one day a very menacing evil entered the town. It was stronger than all the strong guys. And it was discovered that the only way to defeat this evil was to use a special device. But the device was stored in a tiny little room, with a tiny little door.

What happens next?

Did you guess that the tiny little guy was the only one able to get inside the tiny little door? And that he did, and got the device, killed the evil menace, and became a town hero?

Wow, you must have been reading my mind!

Wait, let’s try this again.

He was a former special forces dude. But after a fight with his superiors (because they lacked integrity and he didn’t), he had gone his own way and left the team.

He’d taken a boring job doing paperwork somewhere. Until the day he found himself delivering papers to the White House. At the exact moment that all the secret service were out of the building.

While terrorists show up.

Cue the scene where his wife/girlfriend calls and asks how his day is going and he doesn’t want to worry her so he says it’s just another boring day at work.

Or the scene where someone general in the Pentagon is on the line, calling him, as he’s giving them details of how many bad guys still exist, while being yelled at and being told to stand down.

But you know what happens, right?

He saves the President and is asked to quit his boring job and become useful all over again.

How did you know? Did you see the two movies that recently came out with the same plot?

Or do you just remember Steven Segal doing the same thing on a boat, but as a chef, from years ago?

Here’s my point. There are only 7 basic plot lines to all the stories in the world.

And yet, we keep watching movies and reading stories and getting all excited. Even though it’s pretty easy to predict the basic plot lines of what we’re experiencing.

How does this help you write blog posts faster?

It’s simple. When you’re staring at a blank page, and you’re stressing out, it’s likely because you don’t know how to get started.

But what if I told you that there were only 7 basic structures for blog posts as well?

I don’t know if I have the scientific basis to prove it, but I can tell you that I don’t think there are all that many different structures to your posts (at least not with mine).

Think about all the posts you’ve written. Now categorize them.

  1. News stories
  2. Personal reflections
  3. Tutorials
  4. Product recommendations
  5. Spotlight posts (putting attention on a cause, person, company)
  6. Interview/Q&A
  7. Inspiration/Motivational post

Did I miss one?

Now, can you see how this would help?

Knowing this can help you create the structure you need to get started on any one of these kinds of posts.

And that, I hope, will help you get started much faster than staring at a blank page.

Take a few minutes on a weekend and layout a structure for each of these “types” of posts. How will you start? How will you wrap up?

The framing of these structures, like the frame of a house, can help give your posts the constraints that help you “fill in the blanks” when it comes time to write.

And that, I hope, will help you write faster.

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  • http://excusemyenglish.net Joan

    I really enjoyed this post, Chris! You made me laugh with the scene when the hero doesn’t want to worry his girlfriend so he says it’s just another boring day at work.

    This idea of those seven basic structures is very helpful! I post on a daily basis (it’s an english learning blog, nothing to do with WordPress). Since there are also 7 weekdays, I may use one structure per day. Sometimes it’s easy to start if you chose the basic structure first. I’ll try!

    Thanks! :)

  • http://tommcfarlin.com Tom McFarlin

    I’d even go as far as to say that the more you write, you the more you’re able to ‘detect’ when you’re about to get onto something that would make a solid blog post (depending on the nature of your blog).

    For me, when that happens, I usually make a quick note at my desk about it. If I’m on the go, I drop it in the Notes app on my phone so I can see it when I get back to my desk.

    Ultimately, it generates a backlog of content and if you’ve developed your style enough, you can basically craft a narrative around anything – then again, this goes back to your 7 plot lines :).

  • http://www.lofstromandcompany.com Gary

    Really like this post Chris. I’m going to use that tool for categorizing blog posts! Thank you.

  • http://web.pca-uk.com Paul

    Just imagine if I could get Steven Segal to write my blog posts. He’d do that funky fast hands thing, get them written in no time and kick everyone’s butt. Why didn’t I think of that before :)

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  • http://www.patrickneve.com Patrick Neve

    Chris,

    This really helps! Had a writer’s block for a while. This post spawned the idea of an interview with a cool client!

    Thank you.

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  • http://gravatar.com/mlcred mlcred

    Yes, you missed the blog post that is probably THE most often seen on the entire Internet —
    the RANT!