If You Can Say It, You Can Write It

by Ruud Hein April 13th, 2010 

When 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 response:

Nice according to the article I could write 1350 words in 15 minutes

Some SEO copy,yes,but this post still makes me sad

Brian types at an astounding speed of 90 words per minutes so, yes, as long as he knows what he wants to say, he can write a 1350 words article in 15 minutes flat.

Meaghan on the other hand finds the idea somewhat unbelievable, sad even. To her typing content at the speed with which you can type is cheapening the writing process. But is it?

If You Can Talk About It, You Can Write It

if you can talk about it you can write it

Both Meaghan and Brian are SEOs.

Im pretty sure that if I would call either one of them now and would ask is their an optimum content length that does best in Google?, they would have an answer for me.

Neither would need 30 minutes of silence to carefully and artistically craft their answer.

Why?

Because they know what theyre talking about.

If  you can tell me what you want to say, you can write what you want to say.

If You Cant Talk About It, You Cant Write It

if you can't talk about it you can't write it

The only valid reason not to write (yet) is when you cant talk about a topic. And the single reason you wont allow yourself to talk about it is because you dont have enough information (yet).

But get this: doing (re)search for your article is not writing. Getting project support material isnt writing. Neither factors into your writing time.

But Isnt Writing A Creative Process?

Heck no! Not if you mean all creative and no process.  If it was that simple the world would be way richer in great writers.

Writing is a craft. A craft is something you do. And by doing it all the time, you become skillful at it.

So, what did you write today?

Additional reading:

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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4 Responses to “If You Can Say It, You Can Write It”

  1. Meaghan Olson says:

    Fair enough. I agree in most points. My point, which I expanded a little in another Tweet, is that sometimes it's all too easy for some SEO writers to pump out bland SEO copy to grow sites and keep sites frequently updated. This can and does affect conversion and retention. I think with a little more attention and research (which those research needs evolve as you write and explore new channels), you can have a good balance of high-converting pages that also rank well. I once took over a site that had hundreds of pages of writer dribble for search engines. They paid entry-level folks to hash out 500-word pages. All the pages sounded the same , and while some started to rank well for long tail, very few actually converted. I think it's a 1-way approach and SEO is much more multifaceted nowadays. Personal blogs, subject sites, etc. are perfect places for "flow writing", but for many e-commerce sites, this can be an expensive approach. Thanks for the post; I appreciate the discussion on this topic. I think we actually agree on many points.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Meaghan, I think we're looking at the same thing, yes; we basically agree.

      500 word pages can be dribble but to me that is more about the person writing than the speed at which they write. (See also my comment here to Mike Tekula). Some people can't tell a story. Some can't explain. Not everybody's craft is writing — although everybody can learn the basics.

  2. I agree with Ruud in terms of SEO and the all-too-often indulged temptation to deliver on content quantity rather than quality. In my experience, if someone has all the right experience and skill in hand, they can tell the story, explain, and write in such a way that makes the page itself unique (and not in terms of Search Engine uniqueness), then it is possible to write at such a pace and deliver high quality. I think both can be had without sacrificing the other. Of course, it does require someone with the experience and enough education about the subject in order to be able to do it all at once. I've always been a stickler for high quality and I can write without thinking much about subjects I have experience in – simply because I do it all the time. If it's a more creative piece of work (such as fiction or a subject I know nothing about) I normally spend more time on it and pay attention to higher quality in various attributes of the piece.

    I also agree with Meghan in that attention to detail and higher quality will develop higher converting pages. It really irks me when I see content that was obviously written in a half-assed manner and could have been done better had enough attention was directed towards the quality of the writing.

    If you don't have the experience and knowledge of the subject necessary to deliver quickly and accurately, then perhaps it's best for you to slow down. Take your time and pay attention to the quality. If, however, you're an expert on the subject, can write about it authoritatively without thinking about it, then by all means – have at it and have fun.

  3. Excellent post. Writing is the easiest job in the world when you know what you need to say. After you've reached that point, the words themself are the easy part.

    The time-consuming parts of writing for me are the initial research (as you say) and then the polishing. Skip either of those parts and you're in trouble.