Step 1: Ask for an extension. (I kid. I kid)
Alright so no extensions, you’ve got to get these articles done. I know the feeling. A few days ago I was under the gun and had to write 24 articles including Title tags, meta descriptions and headlines for a client and only had 48 hours to do it. Here’s how I got the job done.
Clear all distractions
This one might be easier for me than some because I live an hour away from Disney World. So I shipped the wife and kids off to Disney for a couple days. Sure this cost me some good money, but it was a heckuva lot less than I was being paid to write the articles, so… distractions cleared.
But it can’t stop there. If you are going to get your work done on time, you have to be vigilant against ALL distractions. Close Tweetie. Close Facebook. Your friends will still be there when you get back. Minimize your email window. NFL games on Sunday? There’s always SportsCenter. Only allow yourself to check these things when you are on a defined break (see below).
Take the first step
Getting started is probably the hardest part. Taking the first step and getting to work on the first article is a lot like Forrest Gump hobbling down that old dirt road in Greenbow when slowly but surely he picks up speed, the leg braces fly off, and he is off to the races. Just make sure you keep the momentum once you get going.
Just like a runner, when you stop for an extended period of time you’ll stiffen up and getting started all over again will be a challenge.
Use The Pomodoro Technique
(No tomatoes were harmed in the production of these articles, even though Five Guys erroneously slipped some onto my Bacon Cheeseburger…bastards.)
24 articles in 48 hours is literally a race against the clock. I use the Pomodoro Technique to make sure that time does not get the better of me. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management tool developed by Francesco Cirillo. I encourage you to click through and learn more about this fascinating method of time management, but in the most simple terms you are required to work uninterrupted for 25 minutes (considered 1 Pomodoro), followed by a 5 minute break.
I use the handy online app Focus Booster to keep track of the time.
After every 4 Pomodoros, you should take an extended break. The 5 minute breaks between Pomodoros and extended breaks after every 4 Pomodoros are the perfect time to check Facebook, check Twitter, and see how your NFL fantasy team is doing. Better yet, go for a walk or get a bite to eat. Before long you’ll need to get back to work.
Use A Writing Frame
Chris Brogan has written about how he uses a writing frame to produce his blog posts. I was using a writing frame long before Chris became an overnight success, but his advice is spot on.
A writing frame is basically an outline. If you organize your writing in such a way and break it down into sections of content before you begin writing, the process will go much faster. You will feel more like you are filling in the blanks as you go along, rather than feeling like you have to come up with the next big idea for the next paragraph.
As I plow through the articles, I worry more about getting them done than SEO. That’s where Scribe comes in. Sometimes, usually depending on the client’s needs, after I finish all the articles I’ll take 5-10 minutes each to run them through Scribe and polish up the rough edges to make sure they are top-notch from an SEO standpoint. Just make sure you wait until the very end when all of your articles are complete to do this step. Otherwise it will disrupt your writing flow.
None of us think that hard drive crashes will ever happen to us. But hard drive crashes seem to know (and love it the most) when you’re up against a deadline. I use Dropbox to keep this from even becoming a concern. Every article I start gets saved to a folder on my Dropbox, and my client can even keep track of my progress should I choose to share the folder with them before I’m done.
So there you have it. That’s how I recently wrote 24 articles in 48 hours. If you’re ever under the gun like I was I hope you’ll apply some of the techniques I’ve outlined here. Good luck!