Creative? Lazy? Writing As A Measurable Job

by Ruud Hein April 12th, 2010 

If writing is something you do when or if the muse hits you " youre costing your company money.

If you cant tell how much time, precisely, youll need to write a 1000 word article " youre costing your company money.

Writing is a measurable, controllable process. By measuring the amount of time it can take, you control how much time it will take.

Writing by pedrosimoes7.

How Much Time Does It Take To Write?

It depends, right? There are deep articles and then there are


If you tried to answer the question, youre trying to answer the question how long is a string.

If you tried to answer the question, youre giving away control and have the writing decide how much time it will cost you.


Because the best approximation to the answer is Parkinsons Law Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

Measure: How Much Do I Write in What Time?

The writing-in-time question is a measurable question.

If youre using a keyboard the measure is called words per minute.

The average typing speed is 38 words per minute. Whats yours?

If you write

  38 words per minute
x15 minutes

570 words in 15 minutes.

Thats a 1000 word article in half an hour.

How long was your last blog post?

Establish Your Process

That you need an idea, links, quotes, and creative is not an excuse for saying but: theyre the basis of your process.

Your idea comes from your swipe file or your brainstorm.

Your article structure comes from your outline.

Your project support material such as links and quotes comes from your archive, (re)search, or your go-to sites.

You know how long each task takes because you measured what you can complete in a given time " after which you decided how much time each task will take.

Decide & Schedule: How Long Do I Write When

Knowing how many words, posts or articles you can write in what amount of time, you and not the content get to decide when it gets written and when it is finished.

Go ahead: use a timer. Set yourself a deadline. Dont ask how much time it will take to write the post; see how much post you write in the time youve set yourself.

How can you refine this process? Do you think we should add flex-time for things like getting coffee, editing, going to the toilet?

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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6 Responses to “Creative? Lazy? Writing As A Measurable Job”

  1. MikeTek says:

    Some excellent points here, Ruud.

    When your job is to write you can't sit around and wait for lightning to strike. You've got to plant your ass and do the work.

    "Waiting for inspiration" is an excuse.

    Of course, inspiration is still important – it just needs to happen in the minds of your readers, not your own. For that reason I'd hesitate to turn out a post I wasn't crazy about. In fact, I frequently let posts die on the vine – sometimes they're not worth publishing.

    I happen to type 85 WPM, but that's a little frightening – at that rate I should be cranking out 1275 words every 15 minutes. I'd pity the reader on the other end of that firehose of nonsense.
    .-= MikeTek recently posted: 21 Ways to Market Your Local Business Online =-.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Well yes and no, Mike. I don't believe that high speed = nonsense. The inverse would mean that low speed = high quality?

      I simply think that the more words your article has, the more editing you have to do: cut out, reduce, distill. A 250 word "post" has a lesser chance of that need occurring than a 1250 words one — regardless of the speed.

  2. This post makes it so simple and was reassuring as I write about an hour a day. I write whatever I want to write about within the realm of marketing which is a pretty big field. The fact is that here in Tucson it's a lot of fun doing it and as my dad who has written 4 books and innumerable articles is fond of saying "writers write".
    .-= marketingtucson recently posted: Blog or Die =-.

  3. […] I wrote that if you can type 38 words per minute you can do a 500+ word blog post in 15 minutes, I got two types of […]

  4. MikeTek says:

    I don't mean to say high speed = nonsense, but I know if I cranked out posts just as fast as I can type the end result, in my case, would be nonsense. Or, at least, not writing worth reading.
    .-= MikeTek recently posted: 21 Ways to Market Your Local Business Online =-.

  5. […] you don’t have a deadline, it can be difficult to judge when something is complete. While editing is important, the tenth […]