Discover the process I use to write articles fast without spending too much time overthinking it … well, no time actually.
If you’re writing articles for your own blog, as a guest writer or for someone else, you know that sometimes it might take you longer to get it done. There’s also the procrastination that we sometimes invoke. Either for objective reasons such as letting the idea marinate or simply because we think it’s going to take a long time.
You know, one of the reasons for which I sometimes postpone things is because I think that that particular task is giving value and anticipation/excitement to my life. So, once that task or project is done…well, what am I supposed to do next?
Scratching that, let’s say you’re committed to writing the article and you’re about to get started. Here’s how I do it.
I follow a 5-step process. The first step is coming up with an idea. Then, I create an outline. I move on to writing, I continue with research and then I review and edit. Let’s break these down.
Step 1 out of 5: Idea
Coming up with an idea depends on the nature of the article. If you’re writing for someone else, then they might give you the idea. If not, you need to come up with your own. What I do is I usually take something from my life and experience and turn that into an article. Or I conduct some sort of research to see what people might be interested in. But the most important thing to consider here is to write about something that you’d love to read. This helps you avoid getting stuck on choosing an idea.
Then, I start with the title. Even if it’s a temporary one, I write it. This is basically the idea written down. This helps the idea take shape and come to life.
One thing that I do is that I always format as I go. Because it makes me feel like I am moving forward.
I started this article as How to write a well-documented article but the title has changed to How to write an article fast without overthinking. By the way, this article started as a video script. If you prefer the audio over slides instead of reading, check out the presentation HERE.
Step 2 out of 5: Outline
This is a rough outline. And you can go about it in 2 ways: one is letting the outline form as you go and another one is to break the idea down into steps, kind of like what I did here with the presentation. It was easy to transform the script into a well-defined article having 5 main steps to focus on. The outline has to have coherence and flow one section into the other. You might nail it from the beginning or see it change as you go. Either way, I always have an outline ready. I use brainstorming as a technique to come up with an outline. Put all your ideas on paper and see what main categories you identify.
Step 3 out of 5: Writing
Then, I immediately start writing. You have all the ideas fresh in your mind after the brainstorming session. Think of the article as having an introduction, a body, and an ending. Sometimes, I end up rewriting the introduction based on what’s covered in the article but it helps when you write it down so as not to think about it too much … kind of like leaving something unresolved and that something always stays on the back of your mind.
I write what I know about the topic. Yes, this is before the research part. The only piece of research I do at this point is looking through my previous materials, articles, ideas, and see whether I’ve written anything on this topic before.
Even if you think you know nothing about a topic, you’ll be surprised. Just write questions down if nothing else comes to mind. This step helps you get creative and see things from a different perspective instead of recycling information you find somewhere else.
Step 4 out of 5: Research
It’s time to conduct some research. You probably already have some reliable resources at hand. I use books, e-books, and reliable websites with studies. I write mainly on health, nutrition, mindset, writing, course creation. Most often, I use my own experiences though. But if I were to give you an example. I’ve recently written an article on sugar cravings. And I was talking about hormone stuff and neurotransmitters. So, I needed to add some reliable references. What I did was go to the US National Library of Medicine and cite the relevant studies. At times, I would check out other websites like healthline.com and see what studies they mentioned on the topic I’m interested in and then I read the studies, use the info, make it my own, and point to the study for further details.
Think about what you need next. For instance, I take the general topic and see what credible resources have to say about it. Then, I take every part of the outline and lookup studies. I add that to my material in my own voice. I always think about how I would explain this to a child. This helps me understand the topic more and it also helps the reader read smoothly throughout.
Step 5 out of 5: Review and Edit
This is the point in the article writing process in which I take a break. I leave the article for a while. The more time apart, the better. Let the ideas sink in, the writing rest, so that when you come back to edit, you’ll be looking at the article objectively and spot any mistakes or be able to add fresh ideas and make sure that everything flows.
This is pretty straightforward: I read the article and edit as I go. I rewrite the introduction if I need to and make sure everything is readable and error-free. I use hemingwayapp.com and grammarly.com to check for readability and mistakes.
That’s the 5-step process. It helps me not overthink the article writing process. There are 2 questions that I want to address. Should you have a word limit? I don’t. I find that it limits me. So, I just write everything that I think is relevant. If there’s an imposed word limit, I make sure I always write more so it’s easier to take out instead of stretching the words to fit a limit.
Then, should you have a deadline? Always. Even if it’s a self-imposed one. It will help you get things done faster and you’ll be more productive.
That’s it on how to write an article fast without overthinking it. I hope it has helped and inspired you. If you found this useful, go ahead and share a link to an article you created using this 5-step process. Until next time, stay inspired and have fun!