Course summary: “How to Get Your Writing Done Every Day” by Jeff Goins
I have been writing for a long time. For the last 28 years, that included writing for the web. I am always on the lookout for ways to get better at it. Because of the volume of writing that keeps piling up in my head, I also want to become more efficient at it. For this second goal, the 21-minute-long “The Three Bucket System: How to Get Your Writing Done Every Day” course I took at LinkedIn Learning was of great help. In it, Jeff Goins, author, and (ghost)writer, shared his method for “a consistent process that allows me to publish great content over and over.” Here is a quick recap of what I learned, and I recommend taking the whole course for more details and nuances.
The first significant point is that a helpful way of thinking about writing involves three processes: taking down ideas, creating drafts, and doing edits to finalize the pieces. To make sure that no idea is lost, always have a way to write them down wherever you are. For some, it can be on an app on the smartphone. For others, it is in a notebook they carry around. The critical part is when an idea occurs, jot it down. One always needs to find out which idea may come to fruition.
The following practical tip I got from the course–that I would like to develop into a habit– was spending half an hour each day on writing. In this drafting stage, turn any of the ideas you wrote down into a draft. Don’t think about precision or final format and structure yet. Just work on expanding the concept and get the details out of your head onto paper (or screen). Goins suggests that half an hour of concentrated work can result in 500 words. The number may vary by person and topic, but the few times I tried my word count, it was right in that range. Pick a time of the day and do it then. For most people, including myself, it would be morning, but not necessarily for all.
Then, you also want to “touch” the draft regularly. Again, allocate half an hour a day for editing a draft. This way, you will keep progressing. The only thing that shocked me in the presentation was his answer: “How do you know when a piece is ready.” The answer is it will never be ready. You will always find ways to improve it. However, it is ready for publication if you have edited it three times, particularly if at least a day passed between edits. By setting this seemingly arbitrary number, you may overcome blockage and get pieces out of the drawer in front of the intended readers. If your goal is productivity, it has to be good enough.
This process can work for tweets (or whatever they are called now on “X”), blog posts, and even book chapters or whole books. This framework appealed to me, and I already have a few written out. I am not as consistent with doing the drafting and editing piece every day, but the half-hour, 500-word, three edits are working for me. I recommend giving it a try if you want to produce quality volume.