Increase Your Writing Speed: 5 Ways to Write More, Faster

Fast writing is like a fast car: it’s more fun and you get to your destination faster. Consider the following five ways to increase your speed when you write—whether you’re writing a short speech or a long book.

Fast writing is like a fast car: it's more fun and you get to your destination faster.

Fast writing is like a fast car: it’s more fun and you get to your destination faster.

1. Create a map before you start to write.

Have you noticed that there is a negative stigma about creating and using an…do I dare say the word…outline?

Let me say clearly that having an outline doesn’t cramp your style; it releases and empowers it. An outline actually allows for greater creativity and flow because it provides the needed structure to hold what you want to say effectively with focus and organization.

An outline is not the training wheels on your bike that someday you get to remove. An outline is more like the structure of your house that is essential if you want your house to stand once you start building.

Using an outline doesn’t make you a weak or inexperienced writer. It makes you a wise one and it guarantees you’ll arrive where you want to go on time and in a good mood.

So whether you’re writing a short speech or a long book, take the time—even if it’s only a few minutes—to plan. The better your plan, the better your outcome.

2. Capture creativity when it’s happening.

Pay attention when words start flowing through your head and write them down. Don’t think the creativity will come back when you have time. While I’ve tried to practice this, I still experience those moments when I say to myself in the middle of a burst of creativity, Oh, I’ll remember this later, because the thoughts are so clear in that moment. I have yet to capture the same energy and content when I sit down even a few hours later to try to articulate what I was so in the middle of just a few hours before.

At a minimum, record a few notes that you can come back to. These notes taken when the creativity is flowing will stir creativity when you’re not feeling inspired. Then take that inspiration as your framework and just fill in the gaps with the details.

3. Set up your surroundings to avoid distraction, create focus, and support creativity.

If you’re serious about stepping into a creative flow and getting a bunch of work done, turn off e-mail, your phone, text messaging, and other social media, and find a place to work that gives you the privacy you need to focus.

Multitasking is a myth. Search “multitasking is a myth” on the Internet and you’ll find a plethora of sources that support the fact that trying to do a number of things at the same time is not helpful for any of the tasks. In fact you will perform each task more slowly and less accurately. So devote your full attention to your project and you’ll make greater traction faster.

4. Prepare, write, and edit at different scheduled times.

You’ve probably heard it said that your first draft is not your final draft. All good writing is refined many times before the final product is what it should be. I like what I’ve heard Ray Edwards say: “Write recklessly, re-write ruthlessly.” Another way to say it is “First get it written, then get it right.”1
Set aside time to simply free write following your outline, which means freely write what comes to mind to get on paper the content you already have in your head right now. Set aside other time for research, editing, or formatting. Avoid trying to do them all at the same time. This is honestly the best advice I can give to you. So you may want to read this paragraph again plus the article on multitasking.

5. Follow your plan.

Those who follow my first four recommendations rarely run into writer’s block. They more frequently encounter writer’s flood — when your flow takes you over the banks of your structure, onto what some call a bunny trail.

All creativity must fit someone in your outline. If it doesn’t, then you need to alter your outline to make room for it in its appropriate place. If your thoughts start to take you down a bunny trail, write down the general idea so you can draw up on it later, but stay focused on the topic at hand. Following your map will ensure you arrive at your desired destination.

Recommended reading!

Check out an outstanding guest post on Firepole Marketing by Martin Stellar called “How to Double, Triple or Quadruple Your Writing Speed… Today!” that complements wonderfully what I’ve written in this post.

Question: What do you find helps you to write faster? Leave your comment below.

1. Bell, James Scott (2004-09-22). Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure (Kindle Location 121). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

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