Recently, I conducted a poll to see how long it would take health practitioners to write and publish 4 articles each month. Of those that responded, 28% of them would take between 6-8 hours. Nearly half of them would take more than 8 hours. But when you’re running a business, sinking 6, 8 or more hours into ONE avenue of marketing is simply too long. Because of this, many health practitioners are not able to write articles as often as they’d like. So today, I wanted to look at 6 reasons why writing health articles is taking too long, and what you can do about it.
6 Reasons Why Writing Health Articles Is Taking Too Long
You’re lacking the inspiration to write health articles
When you’re inspired, you can write for hours. Or you can talk for hours about a single thought. But the likelihood is that when you sit down at your laptop to write an article, you’ll get stuck.
One of my favourite hacks for this is to keep a notepad by the desk, or a note in your phone, to keep a list of health article topics. When inspiration does hit, you can write down the topic idea and a dotpoint or two. Then when it’s time to get writing, you can refresh your mind with your brilliant ideas.
Truth be told, I wrote this article at 6am on a Monday morning. The inspiration hit me the evening before, so I scheduled in some time to write it. It will take me about 45 minutes to write including tweaking for SEO, adding links and finding an image to use.
You don’t have any structure to your article
One of my health writing mentees mentioned this problem last week. He had plenty of topics to write about, and knew enough about each to draft an article. But the lack of structure meant that he was overwhelmed when faced with transforming it into a coherent article.
Every article can be different, depending on the topic. But I tend to follow the structure of:
2-3 line introduction
Additional dotpoints if needed – I stick to 3-5 most of the time, unless it’s a list form with only 50 or so words for each dotpoint
1-2 line conclusion
This structure is simple, easy to follow, and will help to limit how much you pack into each health article – as per the next point.
You’re writing too much
I know – you have so much to share, and it’s all so interrelated. But for your average reader, it’s too much in one go. You need to give them bite-sized pieces of information that they can take and incorporate.
When practitioners ask me how long an article should be, they’re often shocked when I say around 500-600 words. It’s so few – how on earth could they possibly cover all of the relevant information about how the gut affects the body??
Well, the point is that you don’t. You need to break those topics right down. As an example, let’s look at gut health. Instead of one massive and overwhelming 5000-word article, you could write short articles about:
- Inflammation and the gut
- Gut lining and gap junctions
- Stomach conditions
- Small intestine conditions
- Large intestine conditions
- How the gut affects skin
- How the gut affects detoxification
- The gut-immune link
- The gut-brain link
- Foods that can damage the gut
- Foods that can heal the gut
- … and so on
If everything you cover is 100% relevant to the topic and you include actionable points, you can sometimes go up to 1000 words. This article is a perfect example. It is a bit longer, but each point is a reason for why writing health articles is taking too long, and it gives ideas and links for solutions. But on average, your articles should be under the 1000w mark.
You’re getting lost in research
The lands of Google Scholar and Pubmed are beautiful, but dangerous, for a time-poor practitioner. Of all of the reasons why writing health articles is taking too long, this is one that I see come up the most. And the reason why is usually due to lack of confidence.
Because our professions have been under attack for being ‘unscientific’ and ‘lacking in research’, a lot of practitioners tend to go to extremes with researching. While I do encourage articles to be based in evidence, you don’t need a citation to prove that strawberries are high in vitamin C, or vegetables are a good source of fibre. These are not disputable points!
What you do need to reference is specific statistics or newer information. For example, I reference when I say that we need to get sun exposure at midday, not 9am or 4pm, to produce vitamin D. Or the fact that 70-80% of the immune system is found in the gut – as a statistic, that is something you want to reference.
It’s also common for practitioners to go looking for one reference, and crawl out bleary-eyed and exhausted 90 minutes later. They saw one article that was unrelated but interesting, and got lost in the web of research.
There is a time and place for exploring new research, but when you’re writing a health article is not one of them. Save interesting articles to look at later, but close them if they don’t have the information you need to back up your writing.
You’re a perfectionist
Almost every single client that I have worked with has admitted that they are a perfectionist. You can praise others for their health articles, even if they’re not perfect (and they never are!). But writing health articles is taking too long for you because you nit-pick every sentence, every comma and every thought that goes behind it.
Perfectionism can be crippling if you allow it to be. But sometimes, you just have to push through it and hit ‘publish’ on an ‘ok’ article.
You just don’t like writing
It’s a fact of life – not everyone enjoys writing health articles! This might be because you’re a new graduate and you’re still recovering from the hell that is 8+ assignments in a semester. Or it might be that you’ve never enjoyed writing. Or it might be that writing is torturous because you’re a perfectionist, as per the last point.
No matter what the reason, it’s perfectly ok to dislike writing! But you will need to find a workaround solution for this one, as writing health articles is an essential component of marketing a health-related business. It might be hitting publish anyway, it might be outsourcing, or it might be somewhere in between.
Are you a nutritionist or naturopath? Do you find writing health articles is taking too long?
I’ve got a new subscription launching just for you! You’ll receive 4 health-related articles each month that you can tailor to your audience. The best part is that it’s at the fraction of the cost of custom content. To learn more, contact me directly here.