September 28, 2016
Many of us writers are pretty particular when it comes to how we piece together our writing samples, especially when it comes to digital rhetoric. Content creation is something that becomes routinized, but getting to stuck in the same groove can lead to writers block, low motivation, and an inability to produce the quantity of content needed.
In my experience, one of the best ways to avoid such issues is by trying out new content creation processes that make you more aware of each step. Every few months when I burn myself out on writing things the same way over and over, I try and change the writing process to hit the refresh button. Check out my current streamlined writing process and give it a try if you’re in a writing rut.
Step one is to find something to write about, and Reddit is one of my favorite resources to use for this. Users ask questions, share ideas, and comment on trends for all industries in a very organic way. This facilitates actual discovery of topics at a base level really easy and gives a range of angles on various topics you can cover.
Regardless of where you do your discovering, make sure you carve out time for it. Having the freedom to poke around and lose yourself in topic exploration is an important part of lighting that writer’s fire.
Once I settle on a topic, I research it to see how many times it’s been covered. This is an important part of the process, because you should really focus on creating content that is unique and entirely your own. If a topic is over-saturated on the internet, the chances that it’ll pick up much traffic are starting pretty low.
Research is also important because it gives your writing some substance. Referencing studies, surveys, and other information in your own writing piece can reinforce the point you’re trying to get across while also making you an authority on the matter.
Before I write a single word on a content piece, I decide what the format is going to be. Lists, bullet points, infographics, surveys, checklists-whatever. This helps me firstly because it gives me some direction on how to approach the topic while I’m writing it. I wouldn’t write a think piece the same way I’d put together a tutorial. It also keeps me focused on utility, because I’m actively transforming what I’m focused into a usable piece of content that others will actually be able to use.
For me, the single most important step in my writing process is creating an outline-I always do it. It always ends up being snippets of writing organized in the order they’ll be in when the piece is complete. Getting those key arguments, ideas, and steps out saves me a lot of time because later on all I have to do is connect the ideas together.
To create an outline, put your main points on paper and try and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. Break each chunk of text down, see what you have, and figure out what you need to fill in the blanks.
Finally, go back to that outline and fill in the blanks with writing that’s been reinforced by your research. Connecting your ideas and bringing them to life is the fun part, because your content piece will shift from blocks of writing to a comprehensive content piece. After you put it all together, go back over it to make sure it’s polished and communicating exactly what it is you want to say.
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