Ten Minutes to Better, Faster Writing

Cindy Cyr here. This week, I’m excited to reveal some ways to write better and faster that I discovered this summer.

Have you ever witnessed an athlete in training? Athletes build muscles to get stronger, faster, and better. This helps them be competitive. Win more. And dig deep when they’re tired, sore, and need to pull through.

As a freelancer, building your “writing muscles” will help you in many ways. You’ll become more confident in your writing. Win more assignments. Push through “writer’s block.” And meet tough deadlines even when you're exhausted from working your day job.

This week, I’m going to give you some “push-ups” to build your “writer muscles.”

Don’t worry. They’re fun. And for the most part, you’ll spend no more than 10 minutes a day on them. But they’re effective.

Your “writing push-ups” are adapted from pro–songwriter techniques I picked up when my songwriter son, Dalton, asked me to join him and my husband in their morning songwriting exercises.

They recently attended an International Songwriter Conference taught by hit songwriters, so I was eager to learn what the pros had taught them.

I noticed how much good songwriting parallels good copywriting. And when I applied these strategies to my own writing, I immediately saw results. For example, one technique I’ll share has sliced my writing time by 75 percent. I NEVER struggle for ideas—instead, they instantly and constantly appear. And clients comment on the emotional connection to my writing. One even said she cried.

Like me, I think you’ll find they help you write spicier copy. Create an avalanche of ideas. Write faster. Help you tap into people’s emotions better and build more confidence in your writing.

Ready to get started? Here we go with “Writing Push-up #1.”

Writing Push-up #1: Object Writing

Do you ever wonder how people like Matt Furey and Jay White can write an email in 10 minutes … and generate thousands in sales?

It used to take me more time just to come up with ideas. And even more time to massage the piece to get it just right.

Then I discovered the key to writing fast …

You see, the reason Matt and Jay can write so fast is because they have trained themselves to immediately tap into their best stories.

Here’s how you can train yourself to instantly access your best ideas:

Use a songwriting technique called “object writing.” (Find out how to use object writing to create more compelling copy in my article How to Liven Up Your Copy and Connect with Your Reader On a Deeper Emotional Level.”)

With this technique, you randomly pick an object, emotion, or event and focus on using all of your senses. Then you write about it. The key to using it to write faster is to:

Do it first thing in the morning: Berklee College professor and author Pat Pattison says, “Two beings inhabit your body”—you and “your writer”—and if you’re like most people, your writer is “lazy” and “could remain blissfully asleep.”

His advice is to “wake up your writer early so you can spend the day together.”

To wake up your writer, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and do 10 minutes of object writing first thing in the morning.

Stop writing precisely at the 10-minute mark: You may be tempted to do more than 10 minutes. However, if you go over your 10 minutes, you’ll not only find it difficult to consistently block out that time, but you’ll also be tempted to use a longer session one day as an excuse not to do it the next. So set a timer and stop promptly at 10 minutes. Even if you are in the middle of a great idea … stop.

This exercise will help you:

  • Learn to write faster. At first, you’ll find you won’t get to your best ideas until the timer goes off. This frustrates your inner writer. But this also trains your writer to get to the “good stuff” faster because your writer doesn’t want to get cut off. Gradually, you’ll get to your best stuff faster and faster until you’re able to instantly tap into your well of good ideas.
  • Create better copy. Because you “wake up” your writer early, your writer will be working all day creating a pool of ideas.

Do this religiously and you’ll find this eliminates your “writer’s block.” Plus, it gives you the ability to tap into copy ideas for things like headlines and leads and autoresponders much quicker than you ever did before. This translates to writing and completing projects faster.

Your writing push-up for today is to pick a random object and write about it. Use all seven senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste, organic (sensation from internal organs), and kinesthetic (sensory input from the actions of your body). Don’t worry about writing in complete sentences. Just have fun with it. Then let me know how it goes by commenting below.

Do this every day for six weeks and watch how you start writing better and faster!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
Average: 4.8
Published: September 26, 2011

6 Responses to “Ten Minutes to Better, Faster Writing”

  1. Cindy,

    I liked your idea of exercising our writing muscles. But I thought this exercise was a joke. Then I decided to try it...

    I wrote about the tissue box that sits near my desk. And I started off by saying 'The tissue box looks like...' 'The tissue box feels like...' etc. And then the words started to flow. By the end of the 10 minutes I had 600 words and feel like my 'writer' has switched on. Thanks Cindy. Look forward to seeing what your next 10-minute exercise is.

    Guest (Azzman)

  2. Cindy,

    I have tried this exercise starting with a pencil sharpener that I had trouble with sharpening my sons pencils. I couldn't believe how the thoughts started to flow.

    I often had trouble with learning how to tape into the core buying emotions. Now with these morning exercises I believe this will not only help me write stronger copy but help me to put myself in other peoples shoes better.

    Now I need to try it with emotion and event. I may an idea to know how to do these properly.

    Thank you Cindy


  3. hi. i'm thanking you before having tried it even. you may wonder why. to be honest, it just sounds like the most fair piece of advice i ever had (as a writer). exercising the writer's muscles is cool...and i'm waking definitely waking up ten minutes earlier tomorrow. g'day!

    Guest (hina)

  4. Cindy, You and Dalton are wizards. I'm writing so slowly that I'm worry about my success in this industry.

    You can bet that wicked little creature will get a jolt early tomorrow. Thanks!!
    I'll let you know.


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)