I've been working in content marketing for over 3 years now. I have long ago lost count of how many blog posts and articles I have written. It doesn't matter where you work, we all have those days when our work just doesn't feel engaging. That's okay and it's normal. Yet, any lack of momentum can still be stressful.
However, you have a way to reduce the number of these days. You can improve your current goal setting methods to be more focused. And you can apply familiar positive processes from your life onto your work to make it more of your own.
For a writer, producing quality articles, infographics and other pieces of engaging content is paramour. Managers and editors expect you to always be writing. Even though, as you know, this is not always possible. Writer's block is a real thing (look at George RR Martin).
And they said computer games are a waste of time.
Up until recently, I was plagued regularly by the most common problem content writers face. Way too often I was sitting in front of my computer, with no idea what exactly to write or how to start working. Due to that, on a good week, I could maybe finish 2 or 3 pieces of quality content. Having interviewed a lot of candidates who wanted to work as a content writer, I know that this is a pretty average result.
However, a few months ago, I started playing a computer game called Darkest Dungeon. That game that has nothing to do with writing, gave me an idea. I built a new framework for writing. Having tested it for a few months, I can see, my productivity and output level have increased over 400 percent, and I spend less time working on my content.
Giving content levels.
The Darkest Dungeon is one of the most popular and unforgiving roleplaying games out there. The premise of the game requires you to level up heroes from level 0 to 6 by fighting monsters in increasingly difficult dungeons. However, whereas most games give you a single hero to relate to and improve as much as possible, in Darkest Dungeon you need a lot of heroes at different levels. You need to make sure you always have both a level 6 and level 1 hero available.
Now, how does this apply to writing articles? My new writing system requires me to always have a lot (around 15) articles in different levels of completion. I wrote a 6 level system for every article and at any given day I do a "level up" for 5 of those. That means that on any given day, one article reaches completion. The levels are not hard to reach, requiring usually around 200 words. Even when I'm tired and unmotivated for some reason, I can find the energy to add 150 – 200 words to an article. That keeps my motivation to work up and makes sure I never feel unaccomplished.
That is why my system is pretty foolproof. Even when I feel that I am not able to write an article, I still find the energy to write a paragraph. And while I started off by trying to produce 3.5 articles a week, that number has quickly turned to 5. After a few months on the system, I still don't feel any need to slow down.
Saving time and energy.
The biggest time saver here has been that I'm never in a position where I need to spend time coming up with a topic. With a buffer time that large, I can add new topic ideas when they come to me. And I always have a clear path to finishing the next 10 pieces of content.
To sum up the change when compared to last year:
- On average, I spend 8 hours less on content production every week;
- I finish 2.5 times more quality content than before;
- My stress levels are much lower than they used to be.
I actually added this topic to my system on the first week I started using it but I promised, I wouldn't finish it until I saw that the system was sustainable. Now, 3 months later, I can say that writing has never been so easy and my editors agree that I haven't lost anything in quality either.
Look for inspiration, where you can.
The point of this article is to emphasise that you should look for inspiration from the things that you like. You should always look for processes or systems, that you enjoy and that make your life easier. You are the master of your time and you control the journey of how your tasks get accomplished. So why not take the familiar road to get there faster.