How to Write Faster

From the Grammarly Blog:

In a perfect world, deadlines wouldn’t be a thing. You’d have unlimited time to complete everything you need to write, like essays, reports, reading responses, and even the kinds of writing you do for fun, like blog posts and short stories.

Obviously, we don’t live in a perfect world. But we do live in a world where you can learn how to write faster. Writing quickly is a skill that’s helped thousands of writers, especially writers with time-sensitive assignments like interviewers and journalists, meet their deadlines without breaking a sweat.

. . . .

Learning how to write faster is easy. To help you streamline your writing time, we’ve gathered a few helpful writing tips that will have you hitting deadlines in no time. 

Streamline the writing process

You’re most likely familiar with the writing process. It’s the six steps just about every piece of writing goes through to develop from an idea to a published piece. Working through these steps means doing a thorough job of brainstorming, outlining, writing, editing, and perfecting your work . . . but it can be a slow process. When you’re crunched for time, you simply don’t have the luxury of working through the unabridged writing process.

In a pinch, you can streamline it. One way to streamline the writing process is to combine steps one and two and outline your work as you brainstorm it. This might mean a less coherent outline, but that’s fine—you’ll smooth it out when you write. 

After getting an outline on the page, get right to writing. We’ll later on cover strategies that can help this step go faster. During the writing stage, the goal is to start getting words down. Don’t worry about irrelevant, superfluous, or awkward words winding up in your text—you’ll fix these up when you edit your work.  

Speaking of editing, you’ll also need to cut out an important step in the writing process: editing your work with fresh eyes. Ideally, you’d wait about a day after writing to edit your work so you can catch mistakes more easily. But with a limited amount of time, you’ll need to dive right into editing after you’re finished writing. Depending on how pressed for time you are, you might also have to combine the last two steps in the writing process, editing and proofreading. 

Type faster

It might sound like a sarcastic tip at first, but we mean it sincerely: Train yourself to type faster. You can do this by playing typing games and doing typing exercises that build muscle memory in your fingers. If you look at the keyboard when you’re typing, it’s time to learn how to type without doing that. Similarly, if you’re using the “hunt and peck” method or otherwise using any fewer than all ten of your fingers, it’s time to become a stronger, faster typist. 

Websites like typingtest.com can tell you how accurately you’re typing and how many words you can type per minute as well as providing typing lessons and exercises. The average person types about 40 words per minute, with 65 to 70 being the general target for “fast typing.” Typing 90 to 100 words per minute is considered to be very fast typing, with some of the fastest typists achieving more than 120 words per minute. When you can type faster, you can literally write faster. 

Write what you already have in mind

You might have no idea how to start your essay, but know exactly how you want to support your argument. Skip right to your body paragraphs. 

There’s no rule that says you have to write your piece in order of first to final paragraph. Write in the order that makes it easiest for you to start writing and maintain momentum, which often means jumping right to the parts that you’ve already worked out in your head. 

Writing the parts that you already know you want to say achieves two things:

  • It gets text onto the page: For you, seeing text on the page can be hugely motivating—it’s a lot easier to keep writing when you already have a foundation to build on, rather than starting with a blank screen.
  • It can help you determine what to say in sections you haven’t written: If you’re struggling with an intro paragraph, writing your supporting paragraphs can give you the phrasing and organization you need to introduce them in your opening section. Similarly, if you’re having a difficult time with certain body paragraphs, but you’ve written at least one, determine how that paragraph you’ve written fits into a broader piece. What does it follow? What follows it? Think of the piece you’re writing as a jigsaw puzzle and the sections you’ve written as puzzle corners you’ve completed. Which shapes fit into that partially completed puzzle? 

Link to the rest at the Grammarly Blog

7 thoughts on “How to Write Faster”

    • I used to do that speed, and more. When coding! Drove my coworkers crazy.

      No more, though, apparently. Just did that typing test site, and I’m down to ~95 wpm. Zero typos, though. Not bad for closing in on 62 years old, with creeping arthritis.

      (Really, zero typos. The first one I was presented with had a writing error that I corrected automatically, so it told me five typos on that one. Annoying.)

        • I was curious, so I took the typing test, and I had the blazing speed of 26 wpm, pushing, panicking, trying to copy the sample text. That was for a minute. I can’t see doing that for hours.

          I took typing courses and tests for years at work, the classes were required. I still have the certificates.

          My best speed is 16 words a minute, whether I type or hand write.

  1. Um, to write “faster” you could also just spend more time in the chair, and spend more of that time actually writing. At even 1000 words per hour (a blazing fast 17 words per minute) and one hour per day of actually writing, you can turn out a 90,000 word novel in 3 months.

    Or if you have an actual work ethic and spend even 4 hours in the chair writing each day, you’ll finish the same 90,000 word novel in 23 days. And should you happen to actually put in a regulation 8 hour work day… well, you get the idea.

    • Bless you, Harvey.

      For work at the Department, it would take me 13 hour days of work, unpaid lunch, and unpaid commuting, to get paid for only eight hours.

      It is nice to sit here in sweatpants, without having to commute, and working as long as I want.

      A few hours before lunch, and a few hours after lunch. No rush, no hurry, and no commute. Thats the same amount of time that I wasted on the unpaid commuting and lunch as when I was working a “real job”.

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