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How to Write a Good Blog Post Super-Fast (and the Joy of Slow-Blogging)

Artisan breadI have a confession to make.

I’m a little jealous.

I have a friend and he writes super-fast.

He can write a report of 10,000 words in 1 day. That’s ten thousand words in one day.

It took me about a day to write this blog post.

My friend is also looking to write and launch 10 Kindle books this year; and I’m delighted with writing my first.

I know part of my problem is allowing one day for writing a blog post. I write, and re-write, and edit to fill the whole day. It’s Parkinson’s law:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. (tweet this)

Sometimes, however, I can write super-fast.

When I was regularly blogging about cooker hoods and ovens, I could race through writing five or six solid posts in a day. Each post would be well-edited and useful for its readers.

The breadmaker technique allows you to blog fast

Baking bread in a breadmaker is super-easy.

Add the following ingredients to the bread pan in the order listed:

  1. ¾ teaspoon yeast;
  2. 250g granary flour and 150g strong white flour;
  3. One teaspoon each of sugar and salt;
  4. 15g butter;
  5. 270ml water.

Next, add sunflower and pumpkin seeds in the nut dispenser. Press a few buttons. And voilà: 5 hours later your bread is ready.

Ever tasted bread from a breadmaker?

It’s good. Tasty. Yummy.

It’s free from enhancers and additives. And if you use the timer, the lovely smell of fresh bread wafts up to your bedroom early in the morning, welcoming the new day, and teasing you to get up.

Writing blog posts super-fast is like baking bread in a breadmaker. You follow an automatic process with known ingredients:

  1. Use a simple structure like a list post.

  2. Hack a headline formula such as 12 Easy Ways to Do Something or 7 Simple Tips to Achieve Something or 5 Warning Signs that Your Whatever Sucks.

    Include a benefit in your headline so your readers know they’ll be rewarded for reading your post.

  3. Compile a list of tips. Select the tips you want to use and write down your sub headlines. Explain each tip or warning sign in a few sentences or paragraphs.

  4. Inspire with your conclusion. Never let your blog post fizzle out with a boring summary. Instead, save your most surprising or best tip for your conclusion. Get your audience to take action or change their beliefs.

  5. Write your introduction. You can start with writing your introduction, but writing it last works better for me.

A how-to post follows the same routine as listed above, but instead of a list of tips you explain the steps your readers should take to achieve a certain result.

Once you get into the swing of writing how-to’s and list posts, you can write them fast. The key is to brainstorm ideas first and outline your posts before writing them. Plus it helps to set yourself a reasonable time limit for outlining, writing, and editing your posts.

The quality of your blog post doesn’t depend on your speed of writing. A high-quality blog post is easy to read and valuable for your readers:

  • Provide easy-to-implement tips;
  • Surprise your reader with something new – make your reader think;
  • Explode one or two myths;
  • Inspire.

Back to baking bread

Artisan bread is as much about quality ingredients as it is about the process of bread-making: kneading by hand, shaping your bread, and using a long fermentation process. It’s not something I’ve done, but I imagine it to be quite therapeutic.

Slow-blogging is probably like baking artisan bread: it’s about the joy of creation as well as about the result.

Slow-blogging often starts with an idea. You begin somewhere without being sure where you’re going to. You work with only a vague outline or no outline at all.

You order your thoughts while writing. You explore new ideas and unknown structures. You surprise yourself with your conclusion.

You cut half of your text, or more. You re-arrange paragraphs. You delete a mini-story and come up with a new metaphor.

Like with baking artisan bread it’s easier to fail with slow-blogging. You’re never quite sure whether you got the formula right.

Hitting publish can be exciting. Or nerve-racking.

The truth about blogging

You might expect me to say slow-blogging is better than fast-blogging.

But I’m not sure.

Just like my breadmaker makes tasty bread, fast-blogging produces good blog posts. Write about a topic you know well, use a proven blog post structure, and you can create good, useful blog posts fast.

Fast-blogging is work. Slow-blogging is a creative luxury. You allow chaos in your day. You find unexpected inspiration. You explore and learn.

Sometimes it feels you’re wasting your time, and maybe you are. But a day of creative messing-around can set you up for a productive week.

This blog post is part of a free tutorial about business blogging.

Image credit (adapted): Shutterstock

Comments

  1. Great piece of work, this post! Very tasty ;-)
    I only miss one way of blogging: mixing the two methods. I sometimes write 3 or 4 posts in one evening, then put them to rest. The days after I wrote them, I look for opportunities to take pictures to match my post, edit the posts en re-edit them. Works fine for me. Amd sometimes I can write one very strong post in half an hour (and edit it later) or it takes me two evenings to make another. I do what comes natturaly at that moment. Hmmm… What should we call this way of blogging???
    Nancy Peeters recently posted…Glimlachen is dodelijkMy Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Yep, that’s a good point, Nancy. Leaving a post for a couple of days before editing can really help. That’s more like making a curry. It’s even better when you warm it up ;-)

  2. In Hindsight I should attempt fast blogging.
    It will allow me to churn out more. slow blogging has not worked for me, just get too distracted.

    • Henneke says:

      Yep, it’s easy to get distracted with slow-blogging. I just allow myself to play around one day of the week. :)

      Let me know how you get on with your fast-blogging!

      • I am in two minds and guess I should look at my own strength and weaknesses.

        You read about blog posts need to be 1500+ words, images, videos, citations, etc and get inspired that this is the way to go but end up in fatigue and uninspired after the initial buzz period. For this reason I think I should opt for fast blogging

        • Henneke says:

          Or you can reduce the frequency of publishing blog posts.

          I don’t believe in the rules that say you need to write at least 1,500 words or publish at least twice a week. You need to do what works for you and for your audience.

          And it does get easier over time :)

      • I like to allow myself one day a week of research. Usually Monday.

        I’ll spend the entire day researching and just float wherever the little arrow takes me.

        I’ll take notes, write down anything of interest and save links for reference.

        This usually gives me enough inspiration and material to write 2 good posts for one of my sites and if I’m extra inspired, I might just knock out a high quality report while I’m at it.

        I haven’t made my own bread yet, but that does sound enchanting :-)

        Thanks for inspiring, BTW, this week, today’s my Monday…
        Charles Kassotis recently posted…A Simple Strategy For High Converting PPC AdsMy Profile

        • Henneke says:

          You’re welcome, Charles. Thank you for stopping by to add your thoughts. I like your idea of having Mondays for research.

          My breadmaker bakes delicious bread. Just had two slices with Dutch cheese :)

  3. stephen q shannon says:

    Henneke, I am a fan of yours among many.
    First, Kindle book titles. Work in progress.
    My first blush is that you are not there yet.

    I love what you have written here in so many
    ways that I believe your new Kindle title is staring at us
    and we just don’t yet see it. As you imply/infer taking
    the time you did to “bake” this post drives increased
    creativity.

    All you have to is merge the two in
    your thinking and your new best selling title will emerge.

    Try out your theory, see how it works, and lettuce know.

    Your advocate fan person. sQs Delray Beach FL
    PS – You don’t talk funny! ss

  4. Great article, Henneke!

    Loved your analogy with the breadmaker. I envy the writers who can write super-fast. Something I’d like to do myself. Slow-blogging is something that doesn’t work for me either. Maybe I spend much too much on research.
    Anca Dumitru recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Thank you, Anca. I love using analogies :)

      If you feel you’re spending too much time with researching you post, then you might want to set yourself a time limit? For instance, set a timer for an hour (or any other time limit you find acceptable) to do your research.

      When I need to speed up because I need to get a lot of writing done, I set myself a time limit for writing a post or a chapter. I also use the focus booster sometimes – it keeps me focused.

  5. Great analogy – fun to read, easy to remember, just my cuppa tea!

  6. Very healthy – black tea for me …. of coffee. But now that I’m thinking of recipes, humm, maybe blueberry tea?

  7. Diane Comeau says:

    Great post again, Henneke. I loved your correlation to baking bread, I could almost taste it. As for your Kindle title, I like “Persuasive Web Copy” the best.
    Diane
    P.S. So glad you were not hurt on your bike!

    • Henneke says:

      I hope you didn’t get hungry reading the post! Writing it did make me hungry… ;-)

      And yes, riding a bike can be dangerous. I’m trying to be careful.

  8. For me it depends, sometimes I can have a post ready in one hour, sometimes it takes even five or more depending on how well I know the topic and how many info I put in it.

    Then it depends on the goal of the blog; I go for evergreen content so writing more than once or twice per week isn’t for me because I think that before reinventing the wheel there is a kind of a definite amount of words that can be said on a topic like mine. On the other side I find the so called epic posts boring to death as they are too long to finish, except very few cases. Maybe Google loves them but not the average reader.

    Talking about quality I don’t think that it can really be matched by quantity unless someone uses ghostwriters but that’s another thing. And even Fiverr doesn’t help much with quality.

    Surely having a routine and a cheat sheet for posts can help writing some quickly being careful not to reinvent the wheel though. :)
    Andrea Hypno recently posted…Be an Influencer: Is it What you Really Want?My Profile

    • Henneke says:

      If a post is boring, then it’s not epic in my book ;-)

      I’ve read a few long posts that were useful – more like guides on a specific topic.

  9. I’m definitely an artisan slow-blogger! Because I’m normally writing client copy that has deadlines, it makes me want to enjoy blogging … deadline free :) I liken it to macerating fruit – develops flavour and charcter over time. Now I’m off to make some cookie content …
    Di Mace recently posted…The Zen of blogging: 10 ways to simplify your struggle for masteryMy Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Hey Di, that’s a great analogy! I love it – blog posts that develop flavour and character over time.

  10. Hi Henneke – I couldn’t resist reading this post, because I am a VERY slow writer – I know I take far too long writing my posts, partly because I’m such a perfectionist and usually spend ages editing and revising them.

    I think the most important factor, for me, in writing more quickly, is to plan things out properly in the first place – as you say, to have a really clear recipe to work from at the outset. But, like Anca, I think I sometimes spend too long on research.

    Bottom line – I think I’ve just got to be more disciplined and organised. Thanks very much for this prompt for me to get my act together :)

    Sue
    Sue Neal recently posted…Are Your Blog Posts Missing This Vital Ingredient?My Profile

    • Henneke says:

      We all need to find the right balance between discipline and creative “freewheeling”. We need to get stuff done without losing the joy of creating.

      Often we can spend a lot of time on research because we forget how much we know already.

      Thank you for stopping by to leave a thoughtful comment, Sue. I appreciate it. :)

  11. For me this was the big insight: “Fast-blogging is work. Slow-blogging is a creative luxury.” So you did what you advised us to, and ended the post on a punch! Thanks.

    I also like your idea of writing the intro last. Actually you can take linearity even further using a technique I call the WriterCopter: http://www.hillaryrettig.com/the-7-secrets-of-the-prolific/use-the-writercopter-to-speed-your-writing/
    Hillary Rettig recently posted…How to Get Over Procrastination in a DayMy Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Interesting…. do you think your WriterCopter technique also works for writing one blog post, or more for a book?

      • Hi Henneke,

        Thanks for your question – absolutely it can work for a short piece. Just start writing wherever you feel like it and built the piece organically. Some people prefer to write linearly, but most people seem to do better with a nonlinear, free-er process.

  12. Thanks Henneke! Great advice that I can put to work immediately. Love the analogy of the bread maker. Great visual.

    Liz
    Liz Jansen recently posted…5 Benefits of Belonging to a CommunityMy Profile

  13. Extending out the bread making metaphor a bit: do you think it helps to make bread on a particular day at a particular time? I tried doing it on Monday mornings around the same time, thinking that my subscribers might appreciate knowing roughly when to expect it to land in their inboxes. But then of course other stuff got in the way and the routine became less rigid.

    I think it might be good for both parties to have some sort of regular schedule, though (even though I am naturally spontaneous and would prefer to “bake” when I get hungry, rather than because it’s Tuesday morning).

    What do you think?

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.

    • Henneke says:

      Yes, it’s good to have a regular publishing schedule. Your readers start expecting a new post and they can start looking forward to it. If you struggle to write on a weekly basis, you might just want to publish every other week instead.

      Having a regular schedule to write also helps most writers. But when you find you’re hitting a wall and struggle to write, it can be useful to change the time you write.

      Thank you for stopping by, Michael.

  14. I have found that inspiration can strike at funny times so I carry an idea book with me everywhere so I can furiously jot things down before I forget them. It’s important for me to be on a schedule or else I wouldn’t get anything done! I try to set aside certain times to create posts and ideas, but I have found it’s important to go with the flow too; to go with the natural rhythm of the creative process. Slow baked vs. fast baked? Both serve a purpose at different times.
    Stephanie Martel recently posted…Be Generous. {You have so much brilliance to give!}My Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Yes, I agree, Stephanie. Like you I wouldn’t get any post written if I didn’t have a schedule.

      Thank you for adding your thoughts!

  15. I’m all for fast blogging. I don’t have all day to set around think of master pieces. I want to write good stuff that’s entertaining, helpful and interesting but I want to churn out quickly like a newspaper reporter. That’s my style of writing. Thanks for the recipe.
    Robert Andrews recently posted…Leadership Development Skills Needed To Help You Be Successful In Your BusinessMy Profile

  16. Henneke,

    I enjoy your articles however you get them written. It’s funny that I wrote today about the slow and deliberate method in my blog. It all depends on the variables that you confront at the time, doesn’t it? How much time do I have? What else do I have to do? When is my next deadline? How am I going to make enough money to eat tasty bread?

    Thank you for valuing both approaches, and I agree that both work. Both work well. I use them both, often in just a single day.

    Darin L. Hammond
    Darin L. Hammond recently posted…5 Minute single task test: Can you be distraction free?My Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Yeah, deadlines… That’s a good point. I have a love-hate relationships with deadlines. ;-)

      Thank you, Darin.

  17. Hi Henneke,

    Thanks for another great post.

    As I’m relatively new to content marketing blogging I have a simpleton question for you:

    For a proper “content” site, how many posts should I place per day/week on average?

    Thanks!

    • I’m publishing once a week – I feel that’s the right frequency to keep in touch with my readers without overwhelming them (nor me). Other blogs (and other audiences) may prefer a different frequency. I know Neil Patel found that twice a week was the optimum frequency for QuickSprout. Jon Morrow only publishes twice a month or so on Boost Blog Traffic.

      If you’re just starting, I’d go for once a week if you can. Quality is more important than quantity, so go for every other week if weekly feels too hard. You can always change your schedule later on!

  18. Great article, Henneke!

    Great advice that I can put to work immediately.
    Aqib Shahzad recently posted…$75 Paypal Cash Giveaway!My Profile

  19. Hi Henneke,

    You reminded me how much I like to write slowly. I’ve been focusing on speed for the last 6 months. When I write for clients, I need to write quickly so my productivity goes up. But in that process, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to enjoy writing for the fun of writing.

    Thank you!
    Julia recently posted…9 Ways to Make Your Home Tranquil and Beautiful with BambooMy Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Yes, I know… Some weeks are just crammed full of client deadlines. I try to consciously find time for slow-writing, because writing needs to be a profession as well as a hobby for me :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Julia. I appreciate it!

  20. Dani Reid says:

    I think you should apply kind of like a Double Whammy Headline Concept to your Kindle Book Title : How To Write Seductive Web Copy – No More Crappy Web Texts!

    But i still think Persuasive Web Copy also sounds great too.

    Am a bit of both, but i do enjoy slow blogging more — because i do love to apply a lot of research and creativity.

    Although i get really uncomfortable when i don’t get a post completed in a day, so most times i do allow a two hour break to relax, then revisit post before publishing.

    • Henneke says:

      Yep, I did go for a double whammy with a title plus a subtitle. The problem is that Amazon only shows tiny pictures of covers (until you click through to the book page), so most people will only see the main title…

      Thanks for stopping by, Dani :)

      • Dani Reid says:

        You welcome, it’s was a delight reading through your post….and it’s a bit of a bummer with the lil front page covers on Amazon.

        And most definitely see your point of that not really doing much — keep testing out other names though.

  21. As a former artisan bread baker (of over 10 years) and now a blogger, I can see where you’re going with this, but I’ve got to disagree.

    Breadmaker bread is tasty in the same way that a breadmaker post is tasty . . . superficially. Sure it hits all the right spots, but the flavor fades so quick you barely remember it five minutes later.

    While a slow fermented crusty artisan sourdough will linger on your tongue for hours, and in your memory for a lifetime. The same is true of blog posts. When you’re looking for a quick fix, the breadmaker post is fine. It satisfies your need, but not much else.

    But the long slow blog post has all the same magic as long fermented bread . . . and so it will always be more satisfying.

    Always.

    Cheers!
    Trevor recently posted…How to Avoid the “What If” Train WreckMy Profile

    • Henneke says:

      Yes, of course you’re right. The analogy doesn’t quite work… but my breadmaker stills bakes better bread than what I can buy locally. Unfortunately, no artisan bread bakers around here! Maybe I should buy a better oven and learn how to bake bread. Can you teach me how? ;-)

      Thank you for adding your valuable thoughts!

  22. This doesn’t help whatsoever. I asked how to write a blog and there was just talking of receipes

    • Henneke says:

      I’m sorry to disappoint you Phoebe. Have you checked out the points in the list that starts with “1. Use a simple structure like a list post”? Do you have any particular questions about writing a blog?

  23. I used to struggle with procrastination, and even now i still do, and you gave me a great way to be more efficient. Thanks for offering up the advice. what layout you’re using in your site? it’s preety amazing

  24. But, but, but–with slow bread you get finger prints. You get the whole person. The bread tastes loved, because it is loved.

    With a machine, you get a hole in the middle. You get electric vibrations. The bread tastes beat-up, institutionalized.

    Not everyone can discern these differences, though.

    I say, if machine bread is the best we can do, then it’s better than starvation. If we use store-bought peanut butter and store-bought jelly on it, then what’s the diff, right?
    Katharine recently posted…We survived another one!My Profile

    • Exactly. Slow blogging gives you the whole person. Warts and all.

      I read an article on BBC News today that Amazon is already selling books that are produced by an algorithm. And the London Symphony Orchestra has already performed machine-written symphonies. Where is this world heading?

  25. Tweeted! Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. (tweet this)
    I can taste the bread.
    I was expecting to see a link to an Amazon Bread Maker.
    Good post, you make people think. The proof of that is the amount of comments.
    That’s what a good post is all about.

    • Haha, yes, I could have added an affiliate link to my favorite bread maker (but I don’t do affiliate links on my blog at the moment).

      Glad you could taste the bread, I did my utmost to make you feel hungry ;-)

  26. What a good job on your blog! Set up very nice, not too much information to turn heads away, and very interesting and helpful! I am new at this, so I benefited from your article. Now I am hungry for home made bread!

  27. Henneke, when I get notices of your new blog posts in my mailbox I never leave your site having read just that one. Here I am learning from a post you did 9 months ago. It’s a fast post that’s useful nearly a year later — golden!

    And, if you remember, about a month ago you inspired me to start blogging regularly and I vowed to do so. And now I have 2 more posts on my site! (I never promised to be speedy!) Thanks for the inspiration and the steady stream of super useful posts.

    • Hey Melissa – I somehow missed your comment here last month. I’m so glad to hear you feel inspired to blog regularly. I hope you’re keeping it up?

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