Don’t you sometimes get that feeling that you’re not writing as much as you could?
The simplest way to boost your word count is of course to work more hours. But if you can’t do that or don’t want to, there a couple of other things you can do to maximize your output.
We’ve gathered them together in a quick guide for you. Ready. Set. Go!
1. Track Your Word Count
What’s your daily word count right now? Is it 1,500 words? 2,000? More?
For many writers, the word count can vary from one day to the next. That’s why it’s useful to measure it. You can use a daily word count tracker or do the math.
Get an average by dividing your total word count in a week by the number of days worked.
This daily average word count will be your starting point. Even if it’s a good word count, you can still increase it with the following tips for aspiring writers.
2. Do Your Research the Right Way
There’s a strong link between the way you research your topic and how much and how well you can write about it. It may seem like the more time you spend on research, the easier will the words flow, but that’s not always the case.
Let’s imagine you have to write about lawn mowers – a topic you’re not particularly familiar with (or keen on). You could spend an hour or two researching their features on official product pages and then write reasonably well about them.
But what if instead you researched lawn mowers by looking only at comparisons between different models? Apart from actual descriptions of their features, comparisons could tell you why some feature is preferable to other and illustrate actual uses for it. That, in turn, could give you more ideas to work out into sentences.
While the details certainly matter when you research something, you don’t want to focus too much on them (especially if you don’t have to). Instead of spelling out the size and weight of a product, you could just say it’s bulky and present a situation that illustrates this. Usually, this makes the writing flow more easily.
3. Minimize Distractions
Don’t pause to check a fact while writing – you can always check it at the end when you’re editing. If you’re writing a listicle and have to add images to it, don’t pause after every item in the list to search for an image – write the full list first and search for images after.
Similarly, don’t worry about the formatting that much when you write. You can always go back to it when you edit.
When you’re in writing mode, you should be writing. The mind will naturally crave distractions, whether it’s in the form of grabbing an image from the web – and staring at five others in the process – or double checking a fact – and succumbing to that tempting video that you happen to stumble upon.
One of the most effective content writing tips for beginners is to resist these distractions and focus on the writing. It’s easier said than done, of course, but if you make it a habit, you can boost your word count significantly.
4. Map Out Your Article or Post
One of the simplest yet most effective writing tips around is to briefly outline your writing. Even if the article is short, an outline can give you a better sense of direction. It encourages the flow of ideas from one subheading to the next.
It’s like jogging in an unfamiliar park – if you glance at the map beforehand, you won’t have to slow down and wonder whether to go this way or that.
However, don’t overdo the outline. If you start outlining every paragraph, you may end up writing an essay instead of an article, and lose heart in the process.
5. Get to the Heart of the Content
Skip the headline, the intro, the Meta description. Be a swimmer who plunges into the cool water without second thoughts. Just write.
Often, as the body of the article takes shape, the intro and the headline will write themselves.
If we take a look at the anatomy of an article or blog post, we can often find that some parts take longer to write than others. That’s because parts like the intro or the closing require a certain familiarity with the topic and some confidence in your knowledge about it.
These come more easily once you have written down the body of the text.
6. Correct Grammatical Errors and Typos Later
When you type fast, errors and typos are unavoidable. Stopping to correct them slows down your writing, and you can easily lose momentum.
While those words underlined in red may call for your attention, remember one key rule of productivity – do first what’s important, not what’s urgent.
The important thing is to write down the words, to finish the piece. Again, you can always go back to correcting mistakes when you edit.
7. Use the Right Keyboard for Your Hands
You probably write on a laptop. But do you feel comfortable with the keyboard? Some laptop keyboards are compact and have smaller keys. Others are more spread out and bulky.
If you have small hands, typing on a big, wide keyboard could require more effort. Even if it may not seem like much, it could affect your typing speed and word count in the long run. And put a strain on your hands as well.
Similarly, big hands and a narrow keyboard don’t get together all that well. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to get a new laptop. Just consider this issue next time you shop for one.
If you do think the keyboard is a problem right now, you could get an external keyboard that fits your hands better.
8. Disable Autocorrect and Word Completion
These features can be useful to have, but they could also slow you down. They don’t always get the words right, especially when it comes to names, acronyms, or web slang. Going back to correct an autocorrect can be a pain. Most of the time, you’ll be better off disabling it.
9. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Let’s say you have to write a 1,000-word article. If you had to choose between a 1,300-word rough draft that takes about 40 minutes plus 20 minutes of careful editing and a 60-minute, 1,050 draft plus 10 minutes of good editing, what would you choose?
And yet as you write you may often feel the temptation to go back and reread the last sentence, the last paragraph, the last section before moving on. This slows you down. Not only that, but it dulls the simple pleasure of letting the words flow.
In many cases, being a bit hasty about your wring pays off, provided of course that you can edit carefully after.
In the end, increasing your word count is a question of researching your topic well, minimizing distractions, and allowing yourself the liberty to make mistakes.
With the writing tips above you can write more and write well. Try them out and you’ll see.
PS: Stay tuned to our blog for more posts from our series on working from home tips: productivity.