DO you want to write articles?

Do you want to write outstanding articles?

Do you want to write outstanding articles, and write them really, really fast?

Do you want to avoid slogging over one darned article for three hours?

Let's answer that question by thinking about piano lessons.

If you started piano lessons 2 weeks ago, would you want to play faster? Or better? Would you want the notes to sound like a bit of a melody? Or would you want to rush through it, just to be quick?

I know the answer: with the piano, you'd want to play the melody. With the article, you'd want to write faster - without losing the melody.

So you have one standard for piano lessons, but quite another for article writing.

Lack of speed can be frustrating. But no matter how slow you are, you need to know something: when I was in your situation, I was taking two days to write an article!

I'd have given anything to write an article in three hours. Man - that would have been like taking the bullet train.

But surely there's a way to speed up things without sacrificing quality? Yes, there is. It's called posting on forums. Or blogs.

It takes me just a few minutes to answer a post on a forum or blog. And it takes you approximately the same few minutes to answer a post. Of course, if you answer a post with a longer answer, then it may take 15 minutes. Or half an hour.

But when was the last time you answered a post on a forum or a blog and it took three hours? Never, I suspect, is the answer. Neither you nor I have ever sat there and composed a three-hour answer.

Any answer to any post is always done and dusted in less than half an hour, no matter how detailed.

The reason is because you're emotionally charged - your neurons are doing the salsa the moment you hit the keys. By the time you get into the first few lines of your answer, your neurons are on their third margarita. And that's when you really start to write with a flow. Often the thoughts come so fast, you can barely get them on to the screen.

So try it. Try answering a post. Jump on to a forum if you can, and find a question that tickles your fancy. Then answer the question in great detail.

I do this on several blogs, and several forums. I simply answer the questions in great detail and then I have an article.

Of course, if it's on a forum or blog, then the person posting the question may come back with more questions.

That may require more answers, and that allows me to fortify my original article as well. Or in some cases, the extra questions may lead to different angles, and hence different articles on the same topic.

And you know what? It's much easier to answer a question when you're charged up and all excited, than to write from a cold start.

I know this because I write hundreds of articles every year.

Of course if you're on an article-writing course, you know that's no big deal. A person who's been on a course just for a week writes six or seven articles a week. Even if you take a couple of months off in a year from writing, you can still turn out about 250 articles reasonably easily.

But you have to ask: where are you going to get questions for those hundreds of articles? The answer is forums, and blogs.

If you can't find appropriate blogs or forums then get a student, or someone you can work with. Charge them a fee. Let them come over week after week, and train them.

The discipline of having to train them will fill your head with ideas and concepts you should write down. Of course, students have lots of questions. All you have to do is to remember to make notes of your replies.

So keep a piece of paper and a pen handy. As you give that student the answer, make sure you write down what you said. Do this all the time and for any questions you answer - suddenly you'll have so many articles that you'll be like an air traffic controller over Heathrow airport.

There will be dozens of articles waiting to land; dozens of articles circling the airport.

And of course you won't be taking three hours - or a miserable three days - to write an article. Instead, you'll be doing it in half an hour or less.

It may not be the best article in the world - but hey, you'll become faster and as you get more practice, you'll get better too. And then you've got the best of both worlds: speed and quality.

Just don't apply this to piano lessons, okay?