After my (ahem!) insanely popular post that guides you to write an article in one hour, I decided to do much more for a lot less.
That was the remarkable idea to write a 400-500-word article in 15 minutes flat.
Yep, you heard it right – 15 minutes. Definitely possible.
For most of us, 15 minutes will go in a jiffy –
- Watch a few ads in between the distracting content.
- Think about a what-if scenario in life (what if I had $1M today in my bank?, what if I had chosen to become a doctor rather than an internet marketer?)
- Have a walk around the house (if your house is not that big, tough luck).
Or, you could write an article and..
- Sell the article (Fiverr, iWriter, thousands of other article marketing sites)
- Build content for your website on the chosen topic, with the selected keywords
- Give it away for free on one of the blackhat marketing sites (just kidding, who gives away anything nowadays?)
Understandably, you are interested in the second list of bullet points.
Else, you will not be reading this post until now. Don’t worry it has not even taken 1 minute of your time to get here, and 2 minutes of my time to write this 🙂
Writing a 15-minute article is quite straightforward. You divide your time between the three musketeers that win your article writing war..
- Research: 3 minutes
- Write: 7 minutes
- Proof Read: 5 minutes
Did I hear you say “easier said than done”? Read on amigo..
Musketeer 1: Research
Use this guy to set up the stage to set the stage.
You don’t know one bit of the subject?
Research is the guy who goes in and makes sure you are welcome in that strange world.
You should not be reading this if you are wondering where to research. But here’s a few quick ways –
- Google (meh)
You have to write down the “key” words or “key points” that make absolute sense to the subject.
Key points are the words referred by –
- Wikipedia article on the subject (or from WikiHow, Instructables, or any other authority site)
- by at least two sites on the Google front page (linked it to mess with you)
- by 3-5 articles in Ezine
For a typical article note three key points, and 1-2 supporting key points against each of them.
Take an example. We will see how to write an article on the topic of “how to get rid of snails from your garden”.
With simple research, I can see the following key points –
- Natural: Manually remove snails, Eggshells, Beer/ Milk, Copper/Sandpaper
- Chemicals: Metaldehyde pellets, Iron Phosphate
- Cool places – Wood boards/planks, stone
Disposal of dead snails
Musketeer 2: Write
Once you have Musketeer 1 gone in, you have already won half the war. You are now going to send the second guy (or gal) and secure your rightful place at the throne.
Once the research and planning part is done, we focus on writing. I tend to follow the same template to write 15-minute articles.
Although you can plan the world, we are talking about 15-minute articles here. It helps to follow a consistent template.
Titles turn heads and play a large part in make or break of your article. It is also easier to write an interesting title for the post and build subject around it.
Describe the subject and how the topic of this post relates itself to the subject. How can you solve world’s problems with the subject with this brilliant post of yours?
Now, outline Key Points 1, 2 and 3 and how they together get the answer seeker out of a crisis situation.
- Key Point 1
This is either the problem/solution combo or the solution alone. You can bring in supporting points to Key Point 1.
Use Key Point 1 and sub points to Key Point 1. 100-150 words for each of the key points would do.
- Key Point 2
- Key Point 3
Outline what the reader has learnt so far. How Key Points have helped and what more can a reader do?
That is it..!
By having a structure that you have to fill in, you take away half the “thinking” work required to churn away articles. All you need to do now is to focus on how to get the content in.
When you start writing, you just do that alone. Write the content in one go – no distractions, no checking emails, and no commenting on the status of your neighbor’s dog.
The whole process becomes faster and has a better end product if you just keep writing rather than combining editing on the go.
You will go back later to your brilliant work and improve it (if that’s indeed possible) during the review stage.
And oh.. it will also help if you are a better typist. Try voice-recognition software by all means if you are having trouble typing like the way Chris Tucker talks.
I have tried both but stick to typing. I see an advantage in typing away to glory – it seems to free a part of my mind that needs to think ahead and plan on what to say next.
Let’s go back to our example on snails.
We will start writing the outline for the key points we gathered during the research.
5 guaranteed ways to get rid of snails for free (#5 shows that healthy food can kill too)
Snails and other slugs are unwelcome guests to your hard grown garden. Slow they may be, but they can wring quite a havoc for your plants.
There are many slug repellants in the market, but why pay money when you can have the best ways to get rid of snails for free?
Here are five free (or low cost ) ways of getting rid of snails.
1. By Hand!
The most effective and completely free way for snail removal is by hand. You can collect snails with a gloved hand, using a slug grabber or by other means and put them in a bucket /saucer with soapy water. Simply feed the snails to the birds or dispose of them in the toilet.
However, this method is also the hardest. Unless you want to punish yourself or your pesky kid, it becomes a boring and yucky job.
2. Natural Slug Repellents
Surround your plants or containers with a copper tape or a copper ring. Snail slime does not react well with copper and the snails learn to keep out by the “shock” treatment meted out to them.
You can use sandpaper similar to copper. Wrap around the stems or place the pot on sandpaper sheet. It is equivalent to walking on thorns barefoot on a sunny day. I somehow don’t feel sad for the blasted snails.
Sprinkle egg shells in your garden. Snails start finding your garden quite spooky and stop visiting you.
3. Use wooden plank or stone
Put a wooden plank or board or have a slightly raised stone in couple of places. Snails use this shady, cool place to hang out during the day. Just visit them in the evening and get rid of them.
After about 3-5 days, you can make this a weekly job.
4. Lure snails with a neat drink
Place beer in a saucer or a bucket. Make sure snails can easily climb the container.
Instead of gorging on your garden, snails literally run to the beer. They get wasted and drown. What a way to die!
You can use milk or grapefruit juice instead of beer, but I somehow feel that is more suffering to the snails.
5. Use Bran/Oats
Sprinkle oats or bran on the ground as far away from shady objects as possible. Snails like this food and even healthy food can be dangerous in excess.
They eat, they become bloated, and they become dehydrated. Leave it to the birds to take them down during the day.
You saw 5 working ways to get rid of snails. But no good thing is permanent, and you would have to rinse and repeat this. Make this part of your garden maintenance and see a healthy garden free of slugs.
Know of any other good ways of getting rid of snails? Comment and let me know!
Ok.. we are done with writing – on to the next step.
Musketeer 3: Proof Read
Now that your masterpiece is done, it is time to go back and check on what you have written.
If it is your own blog post, just write everything in, save it as a draft and visit the post after 2 weeks. This will make sure you do a much better job in proof-reading.
If you are writing for others, just comb the post considering the following factors –
- Structure of the post: Do the key points and supporting points make sense? Is there a flow from the beginning through the end?
- Consistency: Have you inadvertently opposed yourself? Have you included any conflict of interests in the post?
- Remove cliches: Enough has been said on this topic but I am surprised on the number of articles churned out with every cliche under the sun (including mine)
- Spell and grammar checks: I use Grammarly, feel free to use any tool that tickles you
I must admit that proof-reading is my weak point. I am in ‘oh.. so hurry’ phase that I try to hit “Submit” before I think twice.
This is one of the reasons I get back to the post later – it gives me a fresh perspective, I am emotionally distanced from the topic, and can do a better job of rewriting parts that don’t appeal to me anymore.
I would have given the snail example once again, but hey, you would have gotten tired of the buggers. Or, they would have moved out of the garden by now.
Wrapping it up
You will not hit the 15-minute deadline when you get started.
I used to take 3-4 hours to write a post (exciting, I know), brought it down to an hour, and this is an attempt at bringing it down further.
You have to train the three musketeers to behave the way you want them to, rather than go fight for a different reason or have a drink or two.
This will take time – possibly up to 2 weeks. But hey, that is 2 weeks well spent to save on a number of weeks saved while writing the thousands of articles.
Also, keep in mind that the musketeers are going to win against a few foot soldiers, don’t get them to go against the Apache Gunship. Translation – you will not write the next noble prize winner for literature here. All you can do is bring out a post that is considered acceptable for a blog post, or for a topic in an eBook (if the buyer is desperate).
Completing an article in 15 minutes has its advantages. It means more time to do keyword research for your blog, more time to innovate, learn something new, or some quality time to play the hero for a Just Cause.
PS: This post took more than 15 minutes – there are always exceptions to the rule.