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!