Writing faster isn’t always the end goal for us writers, but it can certainly help in today’s frenetic digital world.
A productive writer is often also a happy (or at least, happier) writer.
I am known as a fast writer: my speed has helped me close certain clients and pitch for specific projects. (Read my tips on how to communicate with clients).
My ability to turn copy around quickly has helped me maintain healthy margins for my copywriting projects, and writing fast made my life considerably less stressful.
Here are some tried-and-tested productivity hacks for copywriters looking to speed up…
Know how to get to your flow state and make the most of it.
The more you write, the better you become at judging (and sometimes creating) your own energy.
Only really write big chunks when you’re ‘in the flow’ and use the rest of the time for planning and research.
Try to remove distractions (easier said than done).
I like to have a cup of tea on the go, all my tech lined up, and some good music on in the background to get me into the best possible headspace.
Plan meticulously (or well)
Planning does make you more productive (boring, I know).
Be clear on your arguments and main points before you dive in, and spend some time thinking about the topic before you start writing.
Shooting off without a plan can make your writing meander into boggy marshes.
However, I am not a fan of overwrought planning, as it often leads to writers having to cut a lot at a later stage.
Balance planning with writing and don’t plan for the sake of planning either!
Get all your resources lined up.
Don’t make the mistake of launching into something… and then having to stop to go away and do loads more research.
Some ad-hoc research is normal, but have the basics covered before you get going.
Know your niche
Becoming a specialist can you deliver high-quality copy quicker.
Mastering industrial jargon, the ability to lean on previous copy projects, and a solid understanding of the niche landscape will help you complete briefs faster.
Try to build up a few solid case studies and testimonials in a niche to really solidify your credentials.
Tip: copywriting niches can be specific both horizontally and vertically, e.g. conversion copywriting for pet apparel brands or email copywriting for the recruitment space.
Edit later.. and proofread even later
Have a clear break between drafting, editing, and proofreading.
You need at least these three stages to your writing: embrace the system and use the breaks to put some distance between yourself and your copy.
Working in smaller chunks of time will make you more productive and efficient.
It will also help you spot mistakes and typos faster.
Processes are great for providing structure: they create their own kind of rhythm.
Processes can help you be more creative when your inspiration is running low.
Processes are good habits wrapped up in a comforting framework that you can return to again and again.
Change things up
You can quickly get stuck in a rut when it comes to copywriting, so try to have lots of things on the go at the same time so that you can switch between projects.
Flit between clients, copy projects, or tasks to ensure that your energy and inspiration stay at their peak.
Don’t fight against it if your focus is straying, but always have something productive you can switch to.
Being fast isn’t always the best thing, but speedy copywriting can help you deliver briefs on-time and on-budget. Check out my number one hack for creating great content quickly.