Don’t write it, teach it


Sometimes, we get stuck trying to collect our thoughts and cogently express them. If you ever suffer from that affliction, you might try something I learned from another attorney who does a lot of writing.

He suggests making an outline of key points, as you might for a slide presentation, and narrating those points as if you were teaching them.

Record and transcribe your “talk” and you’ll have the skeleton of your article, if not the entire article—at least the first draft.

I’ve tried it and like it.

It’s liberating because there’s no pressure to “write”. You just talk. Your thoughts might not yet be completely fleshed out, your words might need “fixing,” but what you say (write) should flow smoothly out of you and onto the page.

This is easier to do when you know your subject well but even if you don’t, you can quickly present the basic ideas and come back for another pass to fill in the blanks and tidy things up.

The first time I heard this, I thought it was a bit simplistic, but then I realized that the best writing, mine included, is conversational, which is no doubt what is meant when we are told to write like we talk.

Give this a try. In fact, I challenge you to do it right now with a brief blog post, article or email.

Pick a topic and a working title or email subject.

Jot down 3-5 bullet points to cover and if you have examples or stories that illustrate your points, note these too.

Grab your phone or recording device and talk your way through your points for just 5 minutes.

If you’re like me, the first time you try this, you’ll be amazed at how many words you get, and how (nearly) ready they to publish they are.

More writing ideas here


How to write an article or blog post in 10 minutes


One reason lawyers tell me they don’t write a newsletter or blog (or don’t do it more often) is that they don’t have enough time.

I understand. But I disagree.

No matter how busy you are, you can write something once a week and post it on a blog or email it to a list.

You know that but you don’t do that, you say, because you don’t know what to write.

But you do.

You talk to people every day, about the law, procedure, issues, risks, problems and solutions. People ask questions, you answer them. People tell you about their situation, you tell them their options and what you can do to help them.

You’ve got so much to say, you don’t know where to start.

Start anywhere. With anything.

Make up a question prospective clients or new clients ask and answer it.

In a few minutes, you’ll have the first draft of an article.

If you can talk, you can write.

Actually, you could do that literally. Instead of writing, dictate. Speak, record and have someone else transcribe it, or use the speech-to-text function on your computer or phone.

“Yes, but writing is more difficult than speaking. Writing needs to be more structured and polished,” you say.

To some extent, that’s true. But not to the extent you think.

When you write an email to a client or a friend, how much structure and polish do you give it? My guess, not that much. Just enough to ensure your message is clear and relatively typo-free and out the door it goes.

You’re not writing an appellate brief, you’re writing an email.

And that’s precisely how you should write your newsletter or blog post.

Write (or dictate) an email, not an article. You’ll thank me later.

Email Marketing for Attorneys


A simple way to write faster and better 


“Don’t edit while you write” we are told. Get the words out of your head and down on paper without concern for clarity, grammar, usage, or spelling. Get your critical mind out of the way and write. Edit later.

It’s good advice and no doubt you follow it to some extent. It improves the quality and speed of your writing, especially if you feel stuck and don’t know what to say.

Someone once summarized this advice by saying, “Write drunk, edit sober.” I offer no comment on whether this advice should be followed literally but research confirms the value of doing something similar:

Write while groggy.

Apparently, we are more creative when we are sleepy. I assume that’s because our critical mind is less engaged, allowing us to write a first draft (or solve problems, as was done in the research) more quickly and easily.

So, if you’re usually slower in the morning, that’s when you might want to get some words on paper. Especially before you have that first cup of coffee. If you tire in the afternoon, you might try writing later in your day.

Are there other ways to “turn off” our critical mind without being sleepy or drunk or using willpower?

I think so.

I often put on headphones and listen to to help me focus. Sometimes, I listen to regular music (new age or classical, thank you.) Sometimes, I listen to talk radio while writing, letting the voices blend into the background. This morning, I had a news video playing while writing this. Writing in a coffee shop does the same thing for many people.

I also get first drafts done by dictating into my phone on my walk or when I’m in the car.

What do you do to turn off your critical mind?

Your website can bring in more clients 



How to write faster than you thought possible


I wrote the first draft of yesterday’s blog post in 5 minutes. I also wrote the first draft of today’s post in 5 minutes.

If you want to write faster, here’s how to do it:


Choose a topic you know well. If you need to research your subject, do it before you sit down to write.

What do you want to write about? What point do you want to convey? Write down your topic.

My topic yesterday was, “How to promote an event or offer”.


Take the topic and turn it into a question. Why? Because when it is in question form, your subconscious mind gets to work and searches for answers. The question primes your mental pump and the words start flowing.

My question was, “How can I promote an offer or event?”


Think of three words related to your topic. Whatever comes to mind. These may change as you start writing but these 3 words will help you start.

My seed words yesterday were, “Excitement,” “Urgency,” and “Repetition”. They became the three points I wrote about to answer the topic question.


Set a timer and write. Don’t stop to correct spelling or do any editing. Just write, as quickly as you can, until the timer goes off.

I’ve heard that most people who do this will write between 200 and 400 words in 5 minutes, and that’s what I did. When the timer sounded yesterday, I had written 269 words.

The 5 minutes flew by for me. I had more to say so I continued writing for roughly another two minutes.


Using this method, you will probably find that your first draft is quite good and won’t require a lot of editing. I found that to be true.

I did some cutting, added a thought or two, edited, and changed the title. Total time from start to finish was around 20 minutes. That included time to make notes about what I was doing, in preparation for today’s post.

Not too shabby.

By the way, although this method is meant for writing short pieces, you could also use it to write longer pieces. Yep, in 5 minute increments.

So, how many posts, articles, and emails could you write if you use this method to write your first draft in 5 minutes?

Why not try it and find out?

Need ideas for topics? Get this