The challenge I am faced with currently is learning to write faster.
For a freelance writer, time is money. One way to increase my earnings is to write more pages every day. Writing faster is also a way to make time for myself, doing things other than writing.
I am dividing this post into two phases. The first is the ‘research’ phase where basis information available, I have identified habits / methods I need to change to be able to write faster. The second phase will be an ‘update’ on how these changes have helped me write faster.
So having spent my Sunday evening looking for ways to write faster, I have shortlisted 6 tips which made the most sense.
1. Don’t seek perfection as you write
This one tip stands out across most of the blogs and articles I read on this subject.Write as clearly as you can, but leave the editing and the need to ‘choose the right words’ for a later stage. Write the first draft non-stop without stopping to correct your content. The best way is to write as if talking to a friend. ( Status – Trying to implement this)
2. Clear your thoughts before beginning the writing
Before starting to write, spend a few minutes deciding what you are going to write on –
- What is the topic of your article? Or, what is that one question that your article will answer on that topic?
- What are the three key things your article will address? This will give you the article subheadings and help steer your research.
- Don’t start writing until you have listed your major ideas and collected your relevant research material.
I really like the concept of figuring out the top 3 things your article will address. ( Status – have implemented this).
3. Use writing tools
Most writers have recommended one of the following tools to facilitate faster writing, especially if you aren’t very fast or accurate at typing –
- Use a text expansion software. It auto-completes words when you type short trigger phrases, which are basically shortcuts created by you for a particular word or phrase. For example, you can create a trigger ‘sig’ which will auto-populate ‘signature’ as you type. This will probably work great if you are doing articles in bulk on a single topic.
- Use voice to text software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking (priced at $200), to dictate text to your computer, instead of using the keyboard.
( Status – This is something that I need to delve further into)
The next three tips on writing faster may seem like the obvious ways to be productive, but we tend to ignore these all the time.
4. Determine your most productive hours.
I am typically at my desk by 10.30 a.m, but spend the first hour reading news websites and informative blogs. But that’s an hour wasted of my most productive time of the day! I have shifted my browsing time towards the end of the day with immediate effect and I certainly managed to complete more work today. ( Status – Implemented)
5. Set a timer for yourself
Pressurize yourself to write faster by allotting a time target to finish writing a section or a complete article. Running against the clock will also discourage you from indulging in distracting behaviors.
6. Eliminate distractions
This is easier said than done, but is certainly a discipline that needs to be practiced consciously. Don’t check your phone or email for messages and switch off you chat as you work. If a friend calls in the midst of the typing spree, tell them you are busy and will call back in a short while. Obviously this does not mean ignoring the important personal/ work calls or matters at home that need your immediate attention. But you need to focus on your work, while at work.
Writing faster does not mean that you will compromise on quality. Here is something from selfpublishingpodcast.com that stood out – ‘Writing fast allows you to write in your natural tone, without the brain self- editing as you type’.
While the aim is to write more per hour, don’t forget to take your hourly breaks away from the desk to give your body and mind the much-needed rest.
Do you have any tips for writing faster?
Do you use a software that helps you write faster?
Do you prefer to write on paper than using the computer? Author Karen Dionne (in a 2013 article in the Huffington Post) says she improved her writing speed substantially when she wrote by hand. ” My sentences are also cleaner. Because I write more slowly by hand than I can type, I give more thought to what I’m writing, and am thus more careful about what I put on page. When I write in longhand, I don’t write ‘Whey’ when I mean to write ‘When’. Occasionally, I cross out a word or a sentence, but there are no distracting typos, no time-consuming regressions.”
In the meanwhile, I am pasting a copy of this blog on the wall in front of my writing desk to keep me on the path to faster writing. Wish me luck 🙂
Here are two articles on ‘writing faster’ that I recommend reading.
How to Write Faster: 5 Tips From Our Blog Team – HootSuite
Photo credit – adamr , freedigitalphotos.net