make content magic with deliberate imitation and a simple kitchen timer

make content magic with deliberate imitation and a simple kitchen timer

reader comments (32)

  1. i really needed this! i’m good with my writing style, but slower than dirt and that keeps me from doing a lot more of the things that will help me grow personally and professionally. i’m going to add this to my 100 day end-of-year challenge and make it happen. thank you!

  2. hello sean,
    thanks for this informative, insightful and empowering article post.
    as a content writer/marketer i now realize that i have been going in the
    wrong direction by churning out blog post after blog post with no significant
    impact to my readership.
    you have made many points that i absolutely find revealing, but the one i must
    focus on is “finding my own unique style” and not just producing more.
    it is almost like case of quality not quantity!

    thanks again and continued success!
    p.s. love the recipe for your butter chicken! and, no i won’t tell your brother:)

    • yes, but quantity (from many sources) does lead to style. so make sure you don’t cut down too much on quantity.

      glad you like the chicken recipe. i haven’t made it for ages.

  3. thanks for the advice, sean. i read your book “the brain audit” and the amount of information in there is just amazing.

    what kind of deadlines do you recommend for writing? 30 minutes? an hour?

    • i recommend you never write in a single day. i think of the topic on one day, outline the next, expand the outline a third, write the fourth and edit—briefly. but then i’ll come back to edit on another day.

      which means that like a chef i’ve got many dishes cooking at the same time. but i’d say that a beginner would take 3-4 hours to write the article. and i’d write an 800 word article in about 45 minutes.

    • it’s an obvious idea (but only in retrospect). and i can tell you that most writers will still ignore this idea. i write 4000-8000 words a week, every week. and if i had all the time in the world i would not write at all.

  4. personally, i have no problem with writing speed. it’s a matter of finding the voice for the content – like you said, i basically don’t feel like i write at par with the content i find valuable. this is what keeps me from writing/publishing more content.
    interesting pov about mimicking a writer’s style who you like… then another… and then another. i think this might be the piece of the pie that i was looking for.
    thanks sean!

    • there’s no such thing as style or voice. it’s all fluid. you change your style/voice as you go along. but i used to be a cartoonist and at first i copied hagar the horrible for ages. then i copied dennis the menace and so on. and you can see the morphing of styles until the day you get what people point out to, and say, “that’s sean’s cartoon”.

      except it’s just my style for now.

      if i keep copying, i will keep morphing. if i don’t, i will still change, though slowly. however, the brain looks for patterns and the less you do something the less patterns you’ll see. it’s less about practice and more about patterns.

  5. thank you sean. this is a great strategy to imitate someone’s style you admire. i like the style of some online marketing professional, but i’m not sure if it will work in a potential consulting business in quality management, where most writers use tough words and jargon which not used except by those consultants!

    • advertising used to be boring until bernbach came along. then he turned the world of advertising on its head and got results. copying is one thing. putting your own spin on it is another. those people can’t write any other way, so that’s what they do. you can change the way things are done. it’s going to take a lot of effort, but it can be done.

  6. back in the day, i took a journalism course and a 19th century novel course at the same time. the novel course demanded a lot of reading. my prose changed over the course of the semester so much that my professor had to ask what happened to my original style, and said, “you’re beginning to sound like something out of another century.” i never forgot that, because, although i admire dickens – and so many of his contemporaries – i had no desire to adopt his writing style.
    all that to say that lots of reading can affect your style, too.
    but to really pick up someone’s tone and rhythm, i pick up a pen and write by hand. it is terribly slow and cumbersome, but i seem to pick it up faster that way.
    either way, i agree that it’s the daily discipline that gets the job done. thank you for a great reminder!

  7. thank you. i think this article will be the one that will keep me going when my frustration mounts and my courage fails. seriously, i want to gush about this article, but instead, i offer my profoundest gratitude.

  8. i have done engineering in information technology and currently working in the field of digital marketing. sometimes i have to write and for that, i did research and got even more confused. i like the idea of following your favorite writer’s style. i don’t want to waste time in understanding the types of style and prose. your article is concise and helpful. thanks.

  9. hi sean

    recently, i started using a timer to speed up my work. it not only helps my speed but my focus too. knowing there is a deadline or end in sight, seems to bring your thoughts to attention, instead of having them scampering all over the place. it’s definitely worth implementing.

    thanks for a great article.

    all the best
    hayley

  10. i am also one of those writers struggling with speed. i believe when someone wants to earn a living as a writer, they have to write fast. it have to be around 3000 words everyday to continue the job of a writer. i am finding difficult and still struggling.

    • it takes time. i struggled for a long time but the reason i struggled was because i had no structure. once i found the structure i could turn out article after article in less than an hour.

  11. what i love most about this article is “content style”. most writers lack this, or let me say they are inconsistent. having a unique and consistent writing style will make readers used to how you write and stick around for long. thanks

  12. my writing is definitely different that when i started writing a couple of years ago.

    actually i am editing some content from my first steps

    thanks

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