The best way to improve your writing is to practice. But it's not the only path to faster writing. Let's take a look at some of my favorite strategies.
I'm constantly asked how I write so fast. While I'd like to say that there is a magic secret to writing quickly, the truth is that the best thing you can do to increase your writing speed is to practice. There are a few other things you can do if you're looking for a faster writing speed.
The best thing to do, though, is to practice as much as possible.
That's it: Just practice.
Writing more provides you with an opportunity to learn where the letters are on the keyboard (I'm to the point that a keyboard that isn't arranged QWERTY-style baffles me). On top of that, as you write more, you will become practiced at organizing your thoughts, and following a logical progression through your posts.
Faster writing through practice
Above all, practice. Keep writing. The more you write, the faster you will become.
How did I learn to write fast? I went through a grueling “boot camp” to kick off my Journalism M.A. program.
For six weeks, I wrote to a deadline every single day. It was one of the biggest challenges I faced in my academic career. By the end of my program, I had written thousands of pages' worth. That sort of practice, combined with the research I was required to do, really helped kick my writing into high gear.
You don't have to enter a writing program to improve your speed. However, as a freelancer, you do need to practice. As you write every day, and as you become more adept at finding your way around the thoughts in your head, and a keyboard, you will see real improvement in your writing speed — and in your ability to earn more in less time as a freelance writer.
5 more tips for faster writing
While practice is the best way to improve your writing speed, there are a few tips that can help you on your way to becoming a faster freelance writer. Everyone is different, so these tips may not be ideal for you, but I can tell you what has worked for me.
To start off, a little training can help you refine your technique, and learn to compose more effectively. While you probably don't need a degree in a writing-related field, like I have, it can help to take a writing course or two. Consider signing up for a writing class at your local university or community center. Understand the basics of composition, and you will find that the words begin to flow a little easier and faster.
Today, there are also a number of online courses that can help you learn how to write and understand structure. Paying a couple hundred dollars for a course like that (tax deduction!) can be well worth it if it helps you learn the basics and get more from your writing ability.
Many writers are also voracious readers. Become acquainted with a variety of styles. If you specialize in a specific subject area, find out more about it — and how it is tackled by other writers. While you do want to develop your own voice and style, it is important to read. It will give you an idea of proper organization, as well as improve your knowledge base about your subject of interest.
Once you have a feel for how your niche operates and some of the essentials for covering your subject, you will naturally begin to write faster, especially in your chosen subject area.
Organization – create a basic outline
Do you need to write a formal outline for every little thing you write? No. But, before your fingers begin flying across the keyboard, stop and think about the way you want your piece to flow. Beginning, middle, end. Thesis, support, conclusion. Review what you want to write, and the order you want to write it in. Two to five minutes of considering the outline of your writing (for short pieces) can help you compose your article or blog post quicker.
I also find that assembling my resources ahead of time can help a lot with faster writing. My freelance writing schedule includes days that are meant especially for research and interviews. When I sit down to write, I have everything I need at hand. This is great because it reduces your need for task switching, which can slow you down as a writer.
Finally, keep a list of good sources and fast-checking links can also help you reduce how much you time you spend on each article. Many outlets require you to provide links to back up your claims. When you have a niche, having a list of go-to resources, fact-checking links, and even interview subjects can help you get what you need faster. My list of government, education, and nonprofit resources is useful because it's information that can be used for fact-checking on a number of stories. I have links for basic stats, information, and definitions for my top niche subjects, including student loans, investing, and credit cards.
When you work from home, the distractions can really pile up. Your best bet is to try to block out distractions. Most of the time, I can ignore what's going on in my open Skype window, but there are times when I just have to shut it down. Turn off the TV. Choose a time that your partner, kids, or neighbors won't bother you. Don't check the email. And for the love of heaven, stay off Facebook and TikTok.
I like to use the Pomodoro technique in my own planning. You can focus hard for a set period of time and then take a break. It can be a good way to get into the groove. Being able to write for a period of time and then take a break to take a walk, check your social media, or just get a snack can help you get back to it and focus better for the future.
Set aside a block of time for writing
Create time in your schedule to write. As a freelance writer, this should be fairly easy to do — it's your job! Aspiring freelance writers, though, might have to work a little harder to find time to write. Do it. Sit down and write for half an hour, an hour, or more. Even if you don't have an assignment that pays, write something. Update your blog. Start a story. Begin a writing habit.
I block off time in my phone's calendar for writing three days a week. This clears out the schedule so that I know that's what I'll do during the day and I make time for it. I also have a reason to keep others from encroaching on my time.
Being able to set aside that time can help you with faster writing.
When you put together a plan, and you take the time to organize, you're more likely boost your writing speed — and increase your over income efficiency.