I read somewhere that you should be able to write a blog or online article in fifteen minutes. That includes doing research, thinking about the topic, coming up with a headline, checking your grammar, writing a good introduction and conclusion, organising your ideas and optimising for keywords. Jim Estill said on copy blogger that he can do it in 20. And I like his writing, it’s concise, engaging and accessible but, with all due respect to Mr. Estill, I would still never spend less than an hour or two on a blog or article.
When I think about churning out the written word like a newspaper printing press, I think about one of my least favourite, and one the world’s most loved, writers. Barbara Cartland churned out a massive amount of pulp fiction during her long life: on her deathbed she had 664 novels to her name and when you read them you know why: they lack depth and the characters are not believable. J.K Rowling on the other hand, spent 12 years carefully crafting her popular Harry Potter series and took a few years to conceptualise the stories before putting pen to paper (or rather paper to typewriter) in earnest. Literary experts may criticise her style but my response to this is that when someone has become so unbelievably famous and rich from her written word, it transcends criticism. The extra time J.K Rowling spent on her books served to make her a far superior writer.
Having said that, everyone is different and how you write a blog depends on who you are. Jim Estill, for example, will turn over a topic in his head for a few days to allow the free flow of new ideas before he commits to anything. He also says that he is most productive when he works on several articles as the same time and I know from experience that this is the exception rather than the rule. What works for Jim, may or may not work for you or me. What I like to do is commit a few hours solely to one article and spend that time toying with various ideas and words and reading up on all sides of the story and even looking beyond my core ideas and reading around the topic. It may sound self-indulgent but it works for me.
It also depends on your subject choice. If you’re writing a technical blog and you’re a ‘how to’ girl, the fifteen minute rule could induce a nervous breakdown. On the other hand, if you have a massive general knowledge, are a veteran of the written word and concentrate intensively on the topic at hand, then I admit, it’s possible to write a good blog in 15 minutes. However, I have yet to do so.