This One Simple Writing Tip Changed Everything.
Some people believe that financially incentivising idiots like myself to churn out content on topics that we’re often grossly under-qualified to speak about, will inevitably lead to more and more stupid information on the internet. But I disagree.
In fact, one of the things I enjoy most about Medium as a platform is the vast array of helpful tips and high-quality advice that it puts at my fingertips. For example, just the briefest of glances at my homepage offers me such gems as:
- Are You Using Verbs Correctly?
- How Do You Know When A Poem Is Finished?
- You Need To Say Yes To The Right Jobs (And No To The Wrong Ones).
and my personal favourite:
- You’re Not An Imposter Your Idea Tube Is Too Small.
(I swear I didn’t make any of these up.)
The only problem is that there’s so much to read, and I’m so sated by the dopamine fix I get from reading about how other people think I should write, that I have almost no time to sit down and do any writing myself. I mean, everybody knows the only way to make it as a writer is to spend 90% of your time reading about how strangers on the internet think you should do it.
I hadn’t expected to begin my day yesterday by discovering the solution to this problem, but when I stumbled across an article entitled “How To Write An Article In 60 Minutes”, that’s exactly what happened.
As it turns out, the reason I wasn’t as prolific as I wanted to be, wasn’t that I wasn’t making enough time to actually get on with the work of writing, but that I wan’t planning, writing and editing my work quickly enough! This seems obvious with the benefit of hindsight, but I’m ashamed to admit how long I spent lumbering under the weight of my own stupidity.
For example, can you believe that I would often spend a couple of hours researching a piece, even though this made the goal of finishing said piece within an hour utterly impossible. How did I not see this?!
The situation became even more mortifying when I learned that I could complete the same amount of research in…uh…hmmm, ok, apparently it’s solved by not doing any research at all as not a single one of those 60 minutes is allocated to research. That certainly saves me some time. I’m sure all the existing information on this topic is in my brain somewhere though, so no worries there.
Similarly, the process of writing the article might previously have taken me an entire day or even (and I’m embarrassed to admit this now) multiple days. But once I learned that it should only take 20 minutes, that timeframe suddenly became completely realistic. If I want to write an article in an hour, the writing phase obviously needs to take less than that so this makes sense. And frankly, anything that can’t be written in 1200 seconds probably isn’t worth writing.
Next up is the all-important edit. This phase often makes or breaks a piece of writing, so I was delighted to learn that this too can be polished off in 20 minutes, rather than the many hours of revising, proofreading and feedback-seeking that I might have done when I was less educated on the subject.
With the time I’ve saved, I’m now free to devote 10 entire minutes to choosing my title and I even have 10 minutes left over to choose a topic, something which even in the midst of my ignorance I was often able to do in less time.
And that is how you write an article in 60 minutes.
By keeping these simple tips in mind I’m now able to churn out 8 high-quality articles a day with ease. What’s more, I’ve been inspired to develop several other projects using the same concept.
For example, a fully-certified course wherein a complete novice can learn to build a house in an hour (10 minutes for foundations, 20 for walls and roof, another 20 for electrics and plumbing, and 10 for decorating), a book called the “One Hour Work Week” (where you do everything you’d usually do in a 40 hour week, just 40 times faster), and my most ambitious project; an exercise programme called 6-minute abs (I’m not yet sure what to do with the other 54 minutes but I’ll come up with something).
I only hope that they’ll inspire others the way that I too have been inspired.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you might even play around with the formula a bit to create some suspense for yourself. Why not try becoming fluent in a new language in an hour, but only giving yourself 10 minutes to learn all of the grammar? Or meditate fruitlessly for 59 minutes before achieving enlightenment in the sixtieth? Remember, if you arbitrarily apply time limits to things with no thought to realism or quality, it’s possible to achieve almost anything within an hour.
Every field of human endeavour could be improved by this method. Imagine a world where Lin-Manuel Miranda was churning out a “Hamilton” every 60 minutes, or where JK Rowling had completed the entire Harry Potter series in a single working day. A world where children could learn to speak by the time they were one month old, and graduate university by the age of 3.
It’s no exaggeration to say that we stand on the precipice of a new age in human society. Of new frontiers in well-being and productivity. We can usher in a new golden age of happiness and prosperity for the entire world. And best of all, by my calculations, we can do it in a single hour.