Tips to Help You Write Faster
Focus and prep work matter when it comes to writing speed.
Tips to Help you Write Faster:
- Set time aside
- Set your priorities
- Get your research out of the way
- Create outlines or at least a plan for your ideas
- Stop making excuses
- Kill procrastination dead in its tracks
Are you procrastinating? Maybe you’re spending a little too much time on research. When it comes two writing faster, a lot of your strength comes from being prepared.
Knowing what you’re writing, what you want to happen, and how to get there are the first hurdles in the journey. Learning how to write faster is a learned skill. Let’s look at a couple of things you can do.
First you need to take a look at what you’ll be writing about. If it’s an essay or article, you’d have an idea of what topics you want to cover.
The same thing goes for fiction. Think about what you want to happen in a scene. Your story will be disjointed if you don’t include important steps along the way.
Every story has a beginning, middle, and end, so looking at the most basic level is a good place to start.
Let’s look at ways to make the writing process flow smoother for you, and help you finally nail more words during the time you have set aside for writing.
Setting Writing Time Aside is a Key Strategy Win for Writing Faster
When you know you’ll be writing at a certain point of the day, you can start the planning process even before starting. Make sure that the space you’ll be writing in is free from distractions.
It’s easy to sit down and within minutes you’re in your email or maybe cleaning your desk or doing something else. Is there a TV on nearby? Try headphones.
Know what you want to say. Outlines help. Even a simple breadcrumb trail. Your outline can be as simple as:
- Character A falls for character B
- Character B throws out obstacles that make it seem impossible
- Character A convinces character B they were meant to be together.
I’d suggest you go deeper than that, and a little meatier, but that’s the gist of it.
A little deeper would be:
- Ken can’t help noticing Chris every time they’re in the same room, and knows she’s the one for him. They way she makes him feel worthy changes his entire outlook on life. But for the time being, she only sees him as a friend. How can he convince her to take him out of the friend zone and take a chance on him?
- Chris recognizes Ken has grown fonder of her, but she only sees him as a friend. She doesn’t want to hurt his feelings, so she…etc
- Ken learns the things that matter the most to Chris and finds new ways to show her how much he values and cherishes her, etc.
You can then break that apart and go into more complex details. It doesn’t matter if your outline is 10 words or 10,000 words if you know what direction you’re heading and how you plan to get there.
It’s in the planning that you gain speed when it comes time to write. You aren’t left scratching your head trying to figure out what’s next.
Writing Faster Comes from Being Prepared: Do You Need to Research Something?
I am not a historical writer. I did write two books in an effort to challenge myself. One word: etymology. Holy moly, that was some kind of challenge! I’d be writing a sentence and left to go, wait, was that word even used in 1870?
By doing research ahead of time, I could have saved myself a lot of distracted time. I’d stop to go look up a word, then have to get back into what I was doing, but instead would end up down a rabbit hole researching something else. Do that ahead of time! Learn from my mistakes.
You can go back and fill in areas later if you need information, or make a note to yourself, whether you highlight a word you want to check or bold it, keep going. Stopping means you need to build up momentum all over again.
Creating Mini Goals Can Help You Write Faster
What is your word count goal for the day? Do you have a set number of pages you want written or a word count goal? Sometimes knowing that helps you stay focused.
Are you a writer? Try using a wordcount tracker to stay motivated.
Create mini goals. If you plan on writing a book that’s 30k words long, you only have to write 1k words a day for a full month. If that’s too much, write 500 words a day over 2 months. Feel like you can do more, how about 2k words a day for 2 weeks straight.
Take a solid look at what your word count can do for you and how far it can take you. Starting out, creating habits are more important that the total number of words, so don’t push yourself too hard if you aren’t used to writing daily. You’ll hit burnout way too quickly that way.
Write Faster by Cutting out Procrastination
Know what I hate more than anything? Thinking about writing all day when I don’t have the time, but when I finally sit down to write, I don’t feel like it. Ugh! Nothing worse.
You end up staring at a blank page. Here’s how you can outmaneuver that frustrating trap. So much for upping your writing speed.
If you’ve gone through the steps above, you know that planning is a key part of the plan.
The other important part of writing is understanding the sense of achievement that goes along with getting your words down. I’m not going to lie. Writing is work, even when somedays it feels like a fun escape.
Getting started is the hardest part. Set a timer, even if it’s only for a few minutes, and tell yourself you’ll write until the timer goes off.
A lot of the time, once you start, you’ll keep going. It’s the starting that’s the hardest part for many people.
Look at reframing the idea of “having to write” and change it to “getting to write” and it may help you shift your mindset to a gets started mentality.
Need a couple of mindset tips?
- Set a timer, Pomodoro method
- Set up blocks of time every day where writing is the priority
- Figure out the best time for YOU to write, not what everybody else says
You’ll often hear to write first thing in the morning. I’ll be honest, I’m not going to write first thing, and I know that about myself.
Yes, writing is a priority, but I like to write in the afternoon. Not all writers follow the same path! I have a writer friend that writes late at night, because the house is quiet and that’s when she gets more accomplished.
We all get our work done, because we’ve learned what works for us. I’m so over books telling you to write first thing in the morning.
If you’re a morning person, good on you. I’m simply not. I’ve tried. I learned my productivity has to do with setting my priorities, not following a rigid routine that isn’t comfortable for me.
Small Blocks of Time Can Help You Write Faster
I know it seems counterintuitive, but this method, sometimes referred to as Pomodoro Technique is a great way to stay on task. Now, the traditional method is 25 mins on, 5 mins for a break, but again it’s important to learn what works best for you.
If I’m writing fiction, I’ve figured out that I work best in 15/15 min time spans. I write for fifteen mins, usually get about 600 words in that chunk of time, take a 15 min break, then jump in again. That’s 1,200 words in an hour.
I work with non-fiction such as business articles differently. In that case, I’ll do more like 30/30, and pull that 1,200 words in a 30 min window.
It’s been trial and error over the course of years for me to find my method. Everybody has to find their stride. I’ve done a lot of writing sprints with friends, and if they were sprinting for 20 mins, I’d do my fifteen and simply jump out. I’m prolific and was pulling regular 5k days with my small blocks of writing.
My time span may seem short to you, but I have ADHD, so I’ve worked with what fits my lifestyle. You need to find what fits yours. You may only have a short span of time available during your day. Writing is my full-time job.
Experiment to see what works best for your writing session and creativity. It may surprise you! I never thought 15 minute blocks would work, but when I learned my pattern, my productivity and wordcount soared.
Writing Habits Matter When it Comes to Writing Faster
If you take up running, you need to slowly build up so you don’t end up injuring yourself and so you can enhance your lung capacity. Your muscles won’t hurt as badly, and your body will gradually improve with each session.
Your brain can be trained as well when it comes to writing skills and finding your writing flow.
Remember the first session is usually a rough draft anyway. Creating habits makes it easier to get your words in. If you know that at 5pm you’re going to sit down and write, and you do it each night at the same time, you don’t fight the process as much.
You’re creating patterns as easily as brushing your teeth or having a cup of coffee when you first wake up.
I know that when I’m stalling on a writing project, I have a trigger I can do to get me started. I’m great at distraction. What about you?
I need to work around that struggle. So, what did I do? I’ve trained myself that after I use the five lives on Alpha Betty (a word game on my iPad), it means it’s time to start working again.
By creating this small trigger, it helps me settle into a pattern that I automatically accept. Am I stalling? Better open Alpha Betty, play the game, and my brain goes it’s time to wind down. I need to work. It’s an odd little pattern, but it works.
Think about when your kids were young, that bedtime story signified it’s time to get ready for bed. You’re following a pattern and teaching them that when THIS happens, then THAT happens. Do the same for your own tasks.