April 17, 2023
Looking to write faster? Do you ever find yourself ready to begin a new writing session, filled with hope and excitement for the quality and quantity of content you are about to create only to feel disappointed when your time is up because you weren’t able to get much down on the page?
Many writers feel like their writing is much slower than they imagined it would be, and this can lead to writer’s block or for some, stopping the creative writing process altogether. If you have ideas that you want to craft into your next writing endeavor but you need help to write faster, read on for our list of writing tips that will help you become a more prolific writer so you can make real progress on your next project.
You may not have any point of reference, so your writing speed might be just right for you. But for some writers, using a motivational tool like participating in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is an excellent way to hone their writing chops while increasing the speed at which they create.
NaNoWriMo challenges writers to complete a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. Working at a fast pace of just over 1,600 words a day may not be sustainable all year for most authors, but this event challenges writers to stretch themselves creatively so they can learn to write faster. Like a muscle, writing quickly can be learned and practiced, so many writers challenge themselves regularly or by participating in the popular NaNoWriMo event.
The first step to write faster is to develop a workable plan for your writing before you sit down to write. The time you have set aside for writing should be about putting words down on the page and not brainstorming ideas, sketching out concepts for characters, or researching information.
Before writing, plan out your book or project’s contents by using an outline or some other organizational tool that helps you design the structure ahead of time. Do the necessary research that will help you write your content and regularly check your project plan to see where more research or non-writing time would be useful so you can write faster with fewer content-creation distractions.
One of the common reasons that we don’t write faster is that we are mentally distracted. The dog wants out, that nagging email we didn’t send at work, and thoughts about our weekend plans can all intrude into our mental writing workspace.
One way to combat this is to spend a short amount of time before sitting down with your writing project and accomplishing one or more tasks or activities that may take away from your mental concentration. Throw in a load of laundry, make the phone call you have been putting off, or check off one thing from your to-do list so you can quiet the busy parts of your mind when you are ready to write.
Easier said than done, this burst of efficiency can actually prepare your mind for accomplishing more at the keyboard since you will have just completed a task, giving you a quick shot of endorphins. Use that feeling of satisfaction to set the mental stage for a high-volume session where you can write faster.
Another thing that may be slowing you down during writing stints is you may be trying to accomplish too much in one session. Using your writing plan, break down your writing goal into smaller bites for each session. Instead of trying to finish a whole chapter, let your book outline or scene breakdown guide your writing plan for the session.
If your brain isn’t overloaded with the expectation that you must finish a whole chapter, for example, you may be able to freely compose a smaller chunk completely instead. Remember, too, that writing a novel or any kind of nonfiction book doesn’t have to be linear; you don’t have to begin on page one and finish up the conclusion at the end. Choose to write a smaller bite that appeals to you and that you are prepared to write about.
If you haven’t done the research that will help you write faster, skip it and move on to the next scene so you can stay productive and write quickly. Just remember to go back and complete the necessary research so you can continue to rapidly write your content without the missing content becoming a mental roadblock to your writing later on.
With voice-to-text technology improving all the time, one of the ways that many writers speed up the writing process is to speak their ideas onto the page. When the ideas are flowing, sometimes the keyboard cannot keep up so using technology to help you quickly get the ideas and words down can be a real boon for slow typists or anyone with a fountain of ideas bubbling out of their brain too quickly to capture on the page.
Modern science tells us that it takes at least 18 days to form a habit but sometimes many more – up to a year – for those habits to become routine. But writers who want to increase their speed and productivity during writing sessions can set themselves up for success by developing practices and habitual writing behaviors that will help.
Just like putting on a seatbelt in your car or placing a napkin in your lap before eating, habits that we do consistently set the stage for concentrating on another upcoming task.
If you have selected the writing bite you want to complete, staying on task sounds simple enough. But when inspiration hits and you want to begin writing something new or unplanned, you need to decide if you will be able to write that content now without any preparation or if you should make a note of the inspired ideas for consideration during non-writing work sessions.
And while some writing sessions may very well extend well past when you planned to finish, try not to set unreasonable expectations for your writing either. If you normally spend an hour on a writing session and can turn out a good amount of content during that time, don’t expect to block out two or three hours and expect to be able to complete double or triple the content. Increasing your writing time is something to do incrementally rather than in big jumps if you want to keep your writing speed during each session.
When we see errors or problems in our writing, our knee-jerk reaction is to immediately fix the misspelling or sentence construction error. But when you have begun writing, focus on getting down the content instead of editing or even revising your work. Some writers even look away from the screen as they type so that they won’t be distracted by small editing errors in their typing.
Another way to avoid editing instead of writing is to take a writing break every so often to fix the egregious errors that may keep you from being able to understand your current content at a later date but not improving every little problem on the spot. By limiting your writing sessions to only content creation you can write faster since your brain won’t have to switch back and forth between creativity and cleaning up.
By creating habits, focusing your efforts and staying on task during your writing session, you likely will write faster over time. Like a muscle that we have to train, our writing abilities can be strengthened with our concerted efforts and eventually most writers will be able to increase the pace of their writing.
And when you see the final pages of your project arriving on your writing schedule, it’s time to connect with a trusted printer. Publishing Xpress has helped thousands of authors turn their manuscripts into beautiful books every day, and with your faster more efficient writing, you will be on your way to publishing your next book, too.
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