I love jazz. There, I said it.
Some people find jazz pretentious. Honestly, I don’t care. Because, when I hear John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’, there is not much rock or dance music that even comes close.
But there’s another reason why I admire saxophonist John Coltrane in particular. The guy was immensely prolific. In his seven years as a solo artist (from 1960 to 1967), Coltrane put out a crapton of albums and live recordings.
I wish I could be as prolific a writer as Coltrane was a musician.
As a content marketer, we always try to beat the content grind. And although I believe in quality over quantity, it seems that the one who is most productive, the one who is able to make the best of his time and do more in less time, wins.
But how do you reach that level of productivity?
There’s no magic bullet, I’m sure. In his book the War of Art, Steven Pressfield says that all it takes is sitting down and doing the work. He might be right.
But to give you a bit more footing, here are three things I think might help to roll like Coltrane and do more in less time.
Organize your content time
Smart factory owners already figured this out in the 19th century: making large batches of their product at once was much faster than creating products one at a time. The same is true for content creation.Scheduling one hour a day to generate content is a good idea. Even better is batching all your content creation on a dedicated content day. Wednesday is my personal content creation day for my newsletters, blog posts and other content. I have failed miserably many times to hold on to that content batch day, but when I do stick to it, it really pays off in terms of quantity and quality.
Organize your mindAnyone who has read Cal Newport’s Deep Work, knows that you need to focus and avoid distractions as much as possible. Social media is a real productivity killer, but so are DIY jobs around the house, my youngest practicing her flute playing, and Jim Gaffigan movies on YouTube.
Organizing your mind is a big challenge. For me, getting in the zone for writing is easier with my Sennheiser headphones and some calm background music. Other than that, it’s all about discipline, which becomes easier the more you practice it (sorry, I don’t have more than that).
Organize your writing processA structured process helps you write faster. I’m a big fan of Steve Slaunwhite’s CODE process. It’s simple and it works:
- C for Collect: This is the research phase you need to do before actually writing your content.
- O for Organize: Collected all the information you need? Now organize it in a logical structure.
- D for Draft: This can be a messy phase, but that’s OK.
- E for Edit: Here you can polish your writing and make it publishable.
That’s it: organize your time, your mind and your writing process. And you’ll be on your way for productive bliss.
Throughout his seven-year solo career, Coltrane significantly evolved as an artist. There’s a big difference between his early work and later ‘free jazz’ stuff, which inspired many artists after him. I like to believe that he was able to make that evolution because he was so prolific.
As a content writer too, the more you put out, the more you feel the urge to try new things, to become a better writer, to innovate. Productivity leads to inspiration. It need not always be the other way around.