Most people hate writing and I used to be right there with you. However, a few years ago I made some tweaks to my workflow that changed everything. Here the seven steps that I use to get into the zone — that creative flow for writing.
Find Ideas and Save Them for Later
People are extremely efficient at going through information quickly. There are two ways you can use this to your advantage. First, you can scan copious amounts of information your self in a short period of time. Second, other people already do it for you.
Personally, I scan some 400 RSS feeds and 140 people on Twitter every day. Out of that, I probably have 10-12 items that I read. Typically I save them until late at night by bookmarking, flagging in Google Reader or saving to Instapaper. Scanning, not reading, is the key here.
Once you get into a scanning mode, it’s amazing what you can process. However, sometimes it’s best to let others do it for you. Google Reader (RSS) and Twitter Search trends for shared items. Fever takes that one step further and looks for trends in your own RSS feeds so you don’t have to scan everything.
Read! Read! Read!
Now that you have those items tucked away, you can use it to build your vocabulary and style. Subconsciously, you’ll find you prefer some sites over others because of the writing style. This in-turn will guide you to your own style of writing. Having a style makes it easier to say what you want the first time.
Write More often
Nothing is worse that trying to write a letter, blog post or web page copy when you haven’t done it lately. You’ll find every excuse in the book not to do it. However, when you get into a routine, something magical happens. It becomes much easier! You’ll get in to the zone faster, create better content and make fewer corrections.
Twitter and Texting
When you are forced to keep it short, you get to the point faster and with less fluff. Instead of trying to add to the piece you are writing, ask your self, “What can I remove?”. In a world with tremendous amounts of information, you have to stay on point.
Friends and Family
If you wouldn’t say it out loud to the ones you respect, don’t write it. Having a voice is everything on the web. This will make your personality shine through and that’s what matters.
Concentration is Important
Finally, before you start writing, you need to clear your mind. There are a lot of synergies between writing and music — structure, tempo, tone, volume, etc. With the right songs I can quickly slip into a flow in just a few minutes.
Choose music with slower tempos. Personally I prefer Radiohead, Pink Floyd or Ben Folds, but it should be what works best for you. The right music will relax and calm you, and put you into the flow.