No matter what type of business you’re in online, you probably have to do at least some writing. Whether you’re a blogger, a website builder, an indie book publisher, a freelance writer, or even an online shop owner, chances are you need to write content of some sort.
We all know that time is money, and when you’re writing for your business, the faster you write, the more money you can potentially make. But can you really change the speed at which you write? Yes!
You’ve probably heard of speed-reading, but did you know you can actually learn to write much faster, too? Some people can write up to 10,000 words per day, or even more, without spending every second of their time doing it. Would you like to learn how?
That’s exactly what you’re going to learn about in this guide. You’re going to learn how to write any type of content faster, no matter what it is you’re writing!
You’re going to learn about things such as the importance of outlining, how to do research, how to improve your typing speed, and much more. All of these techniques will help you learn how to write more quickly, and without all of the stress and frustration that can so often go along with the writing process.
The first step to writing quickly is to gather as much of your research as possible before you start writing. Even if you’re writing fiction, you may need some research before you begin. For example, historical novels must be as accurate as possible, so research is critical. Reviewers are likely to tear you to shreds if you make mistakes in your research! And with nonfiction, research is just as important.
Research may consist of:
- Internet searches
- Books, magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Notes you create for character profiles, etc.
- Physical objects you may need to describe
In fact, research could be nearly anything as long as they pertain in some way to what you’re writing. Just be sure you keep your research organized, as it can be distracting and unproductive to have to keep looking for the information you need while trying to write.
You may still need to do some research during your project, but pulling together most of what you need before you start will help eliminate a lot of distractions that can take you away from actual writing.
Try to anticipate the information you’ll need before you start, and hopefully you’ll only have a minimal amount of research to do midstream.
Once you have all your research gathered, you can start outlining your work. Even if you’re just writing a short email for your mailing list or a simple blog post, an outline will help you remember all of the key points you wish to make.
An outline doesn’t have to be extremely detailed. Some people work better with simpler outlines, while some prefer more complex versions. Find what works for you. Start with a simple outline first, and if you find yourself constantly facing writer’s block, you may want to move on to a move complex outline.
Your outline will probably be much more detailed for in-depth work like books or long-form articles, because more information is needed.
You don’t even have to put it in a standard outline form. The traditional outline has tiered bullet point or numbered lists, but that isn’t necessary unless you happen to prefer that type. Instead, it can simply be a list of points you wish to make in the order you believe makes the most sense.
You can always edit your outline later, but it’s important to write down all of the most important elements of your work before you begin so you aren’t as likely to experience writer’s block. Writer’s block is one of the number one speed killers, and an outline can significantly reduce it.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people never even try to work on improving their typing speed, and that’s a real shame. In fact, you could potentially double your writing speed just by increasing the speed at which you accurately type.
There are a lot of programs you can use to assess your typing speed and improve it. Any program will work fine as long as it also takes accuracy into account, because you need to learn to type with both speed and accuracy, as typos can really slow you down.
It’s actually recommended that you write without editing and go back and do your editing later. Editing midstream can actually cause writer’s block in some people, but if you are a persistent midstream editor, learning to type with both speed and accuracy can reduce the number of times typos distract you.
Even if you think your typing speed is up to snuff, it can probably still be improved. Even if you have a brain that works quickly and the ideas flow rapidly, it won’t do you any good if your fingers can’t keep up to get those words down on the page! Keep practicing your typing and measure and track your results. The more you improve your typing speed and accuracy, the faster you’ll write!
Another great way to improve your writing speed is to use a dictation like Dragon Naturally Speaking to turn your spoken words into text on the page.
You can check the program out here:
Dragon Naturally Speaking (and other similar programs) will allow you to speak your words into a microphone and it will dictate the speech onto your screen.
So what makes dictation so great?
Well, most people speak faster than they type, so it’s more natural for many users to speak what they want to write instead of having to type if. Some people double their words per hour, or even more, once getting the software trained to properly understand their voice.
Keep in mind that text written with dictation software will often need heavy editing to fix any mistakes the software makes and improve the punctuation and grammar, but editing is generally easier than the initial writing.
A few people find they do better when typing because they feel self-conscious speaking aloud even if they are alone. You might be one of those people, and if you are, don’t worry about it. You can either keep trying—training yourself to work well with dictation software—or just keep typing.
Remember, though, you’ll never be able to type as quickly as you speak, so learning to use dictation software is the best way to dramatically increase your writing speed.
Distractions are a huge problem for any writer, and they can come from many different sources. Children, pets, family, friends, Facebook, Netflix, video games, television… the list of potential distractions just goes on and on, and they can be extremely detrimental to the writing process.
The key is to train yourself to eliminate these distractions so you can truly concentrate on your writing without letting anything take your attention away from your writing.
One important key to remember is that you don’t have to write constantly all day long. Instead, you can break your writing up into smaller segments during the day. You can write at the times that have the fewest distractions, thus naturally improving your writing speed.
If you live with other people, or even animals, those around you can definitely hinder your progress. You’ll even have to deal with phone calls, random visits, and other such distractions.
The first thing you should do is make sure you have a quiet place you can go hide when you want to write. This may not always be possible if you live somewhere without any privacy, such as a one-room apartment with multiple people, but if at all possible, find that private place to write, even if it’s a closet or bathroom!
It’s also important to sit down with the people around you and let them know how important it is that you aren’t disturbed while you’re writing. Bring up the fact that they wouldn’t interrupt you at a traditional job to ask where their jacket is or point out something on television, and that they can’t do it to you while you’re working at home, either.
There are a number of different programs you can use for distraction free writing. Some can be programmed to take over your computer so you can’t do anything but write with it for a certain period of time. Of course, it will still take discipline to avoid being distracted by your phone, the television, the refrigerator, etc. But these programs will help with that by giving you set time limits for writing.
If you’re in a groove, you can always keep writing after the timer expires!
One program that can help you with distraction-free writing is Blank Page. They have a simple system that is easy to use and really works.
Check out Blank Page here:
What should you do when you experience the dreaded writer’s block? Well, the solution differs based on your personality. Some people prefer to just step away from the work for a while, while others find it useful to do some free writing as a way to recapture their mojo.
If you find yourself forgetting where you were when you step away from your work for a while, and it takes you a while to get back into the groove, then taking a break is probably not right for you. Instead, you might want to do what is known as free writing.
Free writing basically means you write about anything you feel like writing, not necessarily on the same subject you’re currently working on, though it could be, without worry about spelling, grammar, or even making sense. You just write whatever comes to mind, and you keep writing without stopping for a defined period of time, such as five, ten, or up to thirty minutes.
Free writing can help you break through a writer’s block by freeing your mind from whatever is blocking it. This could mean writing in a separate document on the same subject you’re trying to complete, or it could be some entirely different subject—whatever works for you.
Here’s a quick example of a short free writing session just to let you see how completely nonsensical and useless it may appear to be:
I have writer’s block so I’ve decided to write about a flower. I’m writing whatever words come to me as I picture a red tulip swaying in the breeze. I’m not going to stop writing about this flower until I decided I want to, and even if I feel blocked I will keep typing words on the page until my session has lapsed. The flower is swaying as a bee dips from the sky and crawls between its petals. As it disappears, I wonder… (END)
The point is not to write something useable, but to kickstart your brain and get the ideas flowing again. So you truly can write about anything as long as you keep those words flowing!
Sometimes you can clear writer’s block simply by switching to another topic for a while before going back to the original one. This could mean writing a different fiction story, choosing a different subject to write about, or even just researching your next project for a while.
Often, writer’s block happens because of burnout. If your mind burns out on a particular subject, sometimes taking a step away to write something else will help clear the block so that when you return to your original work.
This may not work for those who tend to quickly forget what they were working on before, but for a lot of people it really can help.
Writing is never a simple task. It takes a lot of preparation, thought, and time. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce the time (and potential frustration) by following the tips we’ve covered in this guide.
Remember these important points:
- Gather your research before you begin writing.
- Create an outline to help you stay on track.
- Work on increasing your typing speed and accuracy.
- Use dictation software to write quicker.
- Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
If you use these techniques and consistently practice, you will be able to write faster and faster until you reach a point where you’re more productive than you ever thought possible.
Whether you’re writing articles, blog posts, emails, short stories, books, or even poetry, these tactics can significantly increase your production and reduce a lot of the frustration that goes along with writing.
Here are links to some of the resources found in this guide:
Dragon Naturally Speaking: