I was asked recently about the best time to write.
Which isn’t as daft a question as it sounds. My usual answer is “morning, before everything else gets in the way.”
But the real answer is more nuanced than that. Most people write without any serious degree of planning, which is like navigating an ocean without a compass.
You have to know what you want to say before you start. If you’re writing on a topic that isn’t your area of expertise, for example if you are writing for a client, you need to have researched everything way in advance.
I do a comprehensive interview with a client when we start a project, the transcript of which keeps me going for a long time. I’ll also have periodic catch-ups to discuss new stories and ideas. I have call recorder apps on my computer and on my phone. In the UK at least, you only need to tell people you are recording if you plan to use or publish the recording publicly.
If you work with me, anything you ever say to me can and probably will show up in a marketing email! Clients are sometimes surprised at how random anecdotal stories they’ve told me quickly work their way into emails, Facebook ads and blog posts, in remarkably close to their own words.
Researching isn’t normally a thing you set aside time to do; it’s a habit that never stops. I’m always on the lookout for new stories and things to write about. Everything gets stored in Evernote. I don’t use everything I store; but it’s a case of optionality. I’m reserving the option to use the idea later on.
So you have to know what you want to say before you start, otherwise when to write is an irrelevant question.
Writing to a deadline is also essential, even if only a self-imposed one. These emails go out at 9AM UK-time on weekdays, which is a deliberate move to encourage a regular reading habit. Ideally I’ll draft an email a morning or two before sending, and let it sit for a while. I don’t always do this with my own emails, but I’ll nearly always do it for clients.
If you’re writing later in the day, a change of scenery can help. Moving to a coffee shop for a few hours in the afternoon can provide better writing stimulation. A busy office is not a helpful environment for writing.
Ultimately, the words you use to promote your business matter. If you’re the writer at your company and you’re not allocating regular time to write, you’re probably not promoting your business effectively.
When your energy is good and you don’t have a billion other things to do, make time and crack on.
If you need help, get the right training and support.