Do you spend long hours when writing? Well, this post is for you and if you’re already a fast writer, there’s room to do more.
In point of fact, some fast writers would agree with me that there are days they spend a long time on a write-up.
Below are some tips that will greatly help:
1. Identify your weaknesses: in this context, I will narrow it to discovering the reason you spend long hours writing. To increase your speed, you have to first identify your drawbacks. Which of the stages of writing slows you down? Is it putting words together? researching, rewriting, editing or lack of motivation?
There are different factors that influences slow writing. Identifying and addressing yours will make it easy to increase your writing speed.
2. Be Ready: do you want to write? Although I’m not a fan of “writing when you feel like” because you won’t do much if you work by your feelings, since it’s not constant. However, it’s important to be in the right frame of mind when writing. If your mind is not in what you are doing, you will keep wasting time on it.
By experience, I can say that you are likely to achieve more when you are focused on an activity. Although, you might have reasons to go off course by distracting ideas. You can note and check them later, so it doesn’t waste your time.
Sometimes, writing slowly could be as a result of your mind not being focused, and not necessarily because you can’t type fast.
Tell yourself you want to write and be intentional about it.
3. Create the right environment: this includes mental, emotional and physical preparedness. Where do you normally write, is it conducive? Imagine writing when you are watching your favourite program or when you have a guest.
What is your best writing time and location? Some prefer early hours of the day, their ink flow with effortless grace, others might prefer evening, midnight, afternoon or can write anytime. Do you prefer a quiet or noisy environment, are you better with a pen, phone or system?
We are all different, what works for one might not work for another (adjustment is attainable). Study yourself, find out your best environment, then create time for writing and maximise it. Writing at the wrong time can slow you down.
4. Know what you are writing: I shared some time ago that writing what you know makes it easy to increase your word count, yes! just the same way it increases your writing speed.
Read and carry out the needed research required for your content beforehand and understand the concept of what you are writing.
Can you remember how fast and easy it was for you when answering questions you knew in an exam? And how you delayed in the unfamiliar ones? It also applies in content writing.
Writing about something you don’t understand will slow you down because at different point you would want to clarify your ideas (this is very important when faced with a complex task). So take the pain to understand what you are writing,
that way your words can flow easily when you begin.
5. Plan your content: creating an outline before writing makes it easy for your content to progress from one stage to another. Break down your topic into paragraphs and note what each will contain, or creating a sketch of what will happen in each scene or an episode of your story, or chapter of your book saves you time.
6. Get rid of little forces: pay attention to elements of distractions when you are writing and get rid of them. It could be responding to notifications, doing other things. For some, distractions are almost unavoidable because of their environment. If possible, before writing, arrange everything you would need, food, water etc. or better still eat before writing. Put off your data if you must. Distractions can slow you down.
The urge to perfect your work as you write is also a little fox. Focus on writing first then rewrite and edit when you are done. You can always note things you aren’t sure of while writing and check them when you are done.
There are some that spend much time on redrafting, they rewrite over and over again, still not satisfied. If you keep waiting for perfection on a spot, you will keep wasting; don’t get caught up in this web. You can also seek a third eye to check your write-up.
7. Track your progress: you can’t tell if your writing speed has improved without tracking it. Firstly, you have to determine your average writing speed before you can know if it has increased or not. So when next you want to write, note your starting and finishing time as well as the word count covered. Do this for sometime and take the average. Although writing speed is different from typing speed, both can be increased.
Using the above tips, I will conclude by saying you have to always practice and track your progress. Most times you won’t even know you are spending too much on activity but tracking your speed will help. Apps like Toggl, My Hours, clockify can be used to track the time you spend on writing and other activities. You can also o use a normal watch. Having determined your average writing speed, you can challenge yourself by setting a target to go above your usual speed.
In closing, your speed of writing won’t matter to your audience if the content is poorly written or if they can’t understand your message. So while you improve your speed, also improve your writing skills.
Author: From a Newbie to a Skilled Writer (a book that provides an easy approach to building effective writing skills).