If you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time, you know about my problem with writing: I love to write, and I can write too much. Anyone with a doctorate suffers from the same disease. Dissertation-itis. Nobody has time to read all those words anymore, especially not online.
Then, at some point in my writing career I got lazy. Or maybe I got smart. I started skipping the long research on a topic and reading up on its history. I just started making a list of main points and then writing out a couple of sentences on each item.
I think I got the idea from Jeff Herring, The Article Guy, who said if you can write a 7 item grocery list, you can write a good article. Now Jeff teaches article writing for people who struggle with writing and have a hard time coming up with stuff.
I fell in love with the “Make a List” writing school. Their theory is anything worth reading can be written in a list of bulleted points.
And now for my real confession: I’ve taken the list building approach to an extreme. I’ve become a serial writer.
I wish I could say that it’s the cure for writer’s block, or that it’ll turn your work into Internet gold. I will proclaim it to be a rousing success for saving you time and energy whenever you’re faced with writing for your ezine, blog, web pages, press releases, and even white papers.
Here’s how to start a serial writing project (in list form, of course):
- Find an idea your readers want to know more about that will benefit them
- Make a list of 5 main points
- Write an overview of the idea with the 5 points listed and post it on your blog
- Each day for the next 5 days write a blog post about each of the 5 points
- Write a summary of the 5 points, reviewing them and reminding readers why this is important
- Edit each blog post into a stand alone article
- Compile the 7 articles into one full article.
- Use the full article as a PDF special report or ebook bonus
- Turn the blog posts into an autoresponder series or mini ecourse
- Edit your work so that it is appropriate for article directories, press releases, white papers
This follows my secret writing formula: 1 idea = 5 points + intro + summary = 7 articles + 1 PDF report, or 1=5+2=7+1.
The key, of course, is writing with the reader’s interests in mind, keeping it benefit-oriented. But I’ll confess, the real reason I’m a serial writer is for myself: to save myself time and energy and to get the most mileage from my writing. Of course, readers benefit because it is easy for them to digest information in lists and chunks.