Have you found yourself in a situation where you had to produce thousands of words for one or multiple clients daily? Where you had no choice but to burn the midnight oil and take multiple cups of coffee to stay awake all night?
Writing is a skill that many can master. But writing fast? That’s a reserve for a few. And after implementing what’s on this post, you’ll be one of them.
As a freelance writer, the faster you can write, the more content you can produce in a given time, and the more money you can make!
In this blog post, I’ll give you some effective tips on how to write faster to beat deadlines while consistently submitting high-quality work to your clients.
Streamline Your Writing Process
The first step in learning how to write faster and beat deadlines is to streamline your writing process.
You need to strategize and establish an efficient writing process that minimizes distractions, boosts your focus, and maximizes your productivity.
Here are some of the initial steps you can take to streamline your writing process:
1. Create a Noise-Free Writing Environment
The environment you write in plays a huge role in your productivity and how fast you can write.
Before you start writing, find a space that’s free from distractions and noise.
If you work from home, you can create your little home office in a quiet room that people don’t visit often. Also, consider using noise-canceling headphones if you can’t eliminate background sounds entirely.
I love listening to music when writing. Some prefer total silence. Choose what works for you.
Creating a designated and serene writing space can train your mind to associate that area with focused work and, in turn, improve your productivity.
2. Minimize Distractions When Writing
Distractions can interrupt your writing flow and make it hard to maintain your focus when writing.
Imagine being in the middle of a hot paragraph, and your phone rings. It’s your friend on the other side calling to give you her/his life update. You stay on the phone for the next 20 minutes, and when you’re back, you’ve completely lost your flow!
Before you start writing, consider switching off your phone or putting it on flight mode to keep off calls and messages.
Communicate to those around you that you’re entering a focused writing session and need uninterrupted time.
Kids can particularly be distractive, so you have to let them know that you’re working or send them to play outside. If possible, close your door or use visual cues to indicate that you don’t need disturbance.
3. Turn Off Notifications
Notifications can be major distractions, constantly pulling your attention away from your writing.
They can come from your phone or the very computer you’re using to write.
When you’re ready to start writing, turn off notifications on your devices or use dedicated apps that block distracting websites and apps.
You can also turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode to prevent calls and messages from disturbing you in the process of writing.
4. Gather the Necessary Resources
Before you start writing, ensure you have all the tools and resources you might need in the process.
Some necessary resources you’re likely to need include:
- A computer
- Access to the internet
- A pen and a notebook
- A laptop charger
- A glass of water
- A comfortable chair and desk
- Noise canceling headphones or plugs
Identify all the materials you’ll need and have them near you before you sit down to start writing.
Having these materials closer will prevent the need to stop and reach out for them, which may disrupt your writing flow.
5. Break It Down into Smaller Chunks
Large writing tasks can be overwhelming and derail your energy.
To make writing look simple, divide the project into smaller, manageable sections.
For instance, if you’re writing a book, you can divide it into chapters and write one chapter at a time.
If you’re writing an article, divide it into the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, and tackle each at a time.
This approach not only makes the task feel lighter but also gives you a sense of accomplishment as you complete each section of the project.
6. Brainstorm and Create an Outline
Writer’s block can easily hit when you’re in the middle of a sentence or a paragraph.
To avoid this, take time to brainstorm ideas related to your topic before diving into the actual writing. When brainstorming, jot down the key points, concepts, and arguments you want to cover in your article.
Once you have a clear understanding of your content, create a comprehensive outline to act as a roadmap for the main content.
The outline will help you organize your thoughts logically and ensure a smoother and faster writing process.
Increase Your Typing Speed
If you want to know how to write faster, you need to learn how to type faster!
Your typing speed will highly determine whether you can produce thousands of words or just a few hundred words in a day.
While the ideal typing speed for an average writer is 40 words/minute, you should aim for 60-70 words/minute to achieve higher productivity levels.
I’m blessed to be at over 100 words per minute but I started at below 15 like many out there.
So, how can you increase your typing speed if you’re a slow writer?
Here are some practical tips that can come in handy:
1. Practice Touch Typing
Touch typing is the technique of typing without looking at the keyboard. This technique relies on muscle memory and helps you type faster and with fewer errors.
To practice touch typing, you need to start by learning how to place your fingers on the home row keys (ASDF for the left hand and JKL; for the right hand).
You also need to find the right sitting posture that will prevent you from straining when typing.
With practice, your fingers will naturally find the correct keys, and you can type faster without looking at the keyboard.
2. Take Online Typing Tests
Once you learn the Touch Typing technique, there are several online typing tests you can take to help improve your typing speed and accuracy.
These tests often involve typing random words, phrases, and sentences within a timed period.
The difficulty level gradually increases as your typing skills improve. They also provide instant feedback on your typing speed and accuracy with suggestions on how to improve.
Take a few online typing tests to help you develop a steady typing rhythm and familiarize yourself with the keyboard layout.
Additionally, you can do warm-up exercises like typing drills, writing long paragraphs, or even copying texts from books or articles. These will help your fingers get accustomed to the keyboard before you can dive into more intense typing activities.
3. Practice Regularly
Consistency is key when trying to improve your typing speed. You’ll notice that the more you practice, the faster and more accurate you become.
Therefore, if you want to become a fast typist to help you write faster, set aside time to practice typing daily.
Even dedicating 15-30 minutes daily can yield noticeable results over time. The more you practice, the faster your muscle memory will develop.
Always aim for a balance between speed and accuracy when practicing. Low accuracy levels will significantly slow down your overall progress as you’ll have to spend more time making corrections afterward.
4. Master Keyboard Shortcuts
Alongside typing exercises, it can be helpful to learn keyboard shortcuts for commonly used commands.
Keyboard shortcuts help to speed up your writing and editing process, making you finish your articles in a shorter time.
Some of the most common commands you need to master include:
- CTRL + A: Select all
- CTRL + C: Copy
- CTRL + V: Paste.
- CTRL + X: Cut
- CTRL + F: Find.
- CTRL + S: Save.
- CTRL + Z: Undo
- CTRL + Y: Redo
- CTRL + B: Bold
- CTRL + U: Underline
- CTRL + ALT+H: Highlight
In addition to these, there are several other keyboard shortcuts you can master to save time and improve your overall productivity as a freelance writer.
Overcome Writer’s Block
Nobody likes the feeling of hitting writer’s block!
But guess what? It will occur once or twice in the writing process and will definitely slow you down.
So, to keep your creative juices flowing and finish your articles faster, you also need to learn how to deal with the dreaded writer’s block.
When it hits, here are five effective techniques you can use to get back to writing:
1. Practice Freewriting
Freewriting is a writing technique where you keep writing the thoughts that flow in your mind without stopping to critique or revise.
It also involves writing without any restrictions or concerns about grammar, structure, or coherence.
You just let your thoughts flow onto the page.
This can help break through mental barriers that writer’s block builds in your brain and help you generate new ideas.
Freewriting often sparks inspiration, and soon, you’ll be past the ‘blank page’ moment.
2. Set a Timer for a Focused Burst of Writing
Another effective way to overcome writer’s block is to set a timer for a short period, say 10 or 15 minutes, and try to finish a section within that period.
During this time, you write as much as you can without stopping to think, reread, or edit. Think of it as stimulating your mind to write ‘under pressure’.
Knowing you only have a limited time to finish writing can motivate the creative side of your brain to churn out ideas faster than before.
It can also encourage you to tap into your subconscious and access ideas you might not have considered before.
3. Start with the Easiest Part
If you’re stuck because you’re unsure how to begin writing, consider starting with the part that feels easiest to you.
You don’t always have to start with the introduction. Sometimes, it can even come last!
If you have already created your outline, scan through and identify the section that looks more familiar and interesting to you.
It could also be a section you feel more confident about or a subtopic you have handled before.
Once you’re engaged, and words are flowing, you’ll find it easier to circle back and tackle the more challenging parts of your writing project.
4. Change Your Writing Environment
Sometimes, a change of environment can help break through writer’s block.
If you’re always writing indoors and from one position, your mind could get stuck due to monotony.
To break free, try moving to a different room, a coffee shop, a park, or any place that inspires you. Just ensure it’s a place with minimal noise and fewer distractions.
A change in environment can spark new ideas in your mind, rejuvenate your creativity and get the words flowing freely again.
5. Read and Research More
Writer’s block can hit because you simply don’t have enough information about the topic of interest.
If you find yourself being clueless about your topic, it could be helpful to stop writing for a moment and research more.
Read books, articles, or even random snippets about the topic and find more information to add to your article. Watch videos and listen to podcasts to trigger your other senses.
When you resume, you’ll find the ideas flowing, and you’ll be able to proceed with your writing without a hassle.
Researching can not only give you new insights but also provide fresh perspectives to incorporate into your writing.
The more your know about a topic, the easier it is to write and the faster you can finish the task at hand.
Utilize Writing Prompts
Writing prompts are short phrases, sentences, or instructions that guide your writing or give you something to focus on when writing on a given topic.
It can be a statement, a question, an image, or a concept that serves as a starting point for your writing.
Writing prompts are some of the best tools that can help speed up your creativity and writing process. They can provide the spark you need to overcome writer’s block and generate ideas more quickly.
But you have to know how to use them effectively to help you write quickly.
How Writing Prompts Stimulate Ideas
Writing prompts often pose questions, scenarios, or thought-provoking statements that stimulate ideas in your mind.
They encourage your brain to explore different angles and possibilities, making it easier to generate ideas and get words on the page.
Writing prompts can help you write faster by:
- Jump-starting your creativity and eliminating the pressure of coming up with new ideas.
- Warming up your creative muscles and transitioning you into a productive writing mode.
- Forcing associations between seemingly unrelated ideas, leading to unique and original angles.
- Breaking routine thought patterns, which often leads to writer’s block.
- Exploring ‘what-if’ scenarios, which can birth unexpected plot twists.
- Igniting curiosity and engaging your imagination and exploration.
- Evoking emotions and helping you write powerful and relatable content.
Where to Find Relevant Writing Prompts
When writing, look for prompts that resonate with your writing goals.
Clarify the genre, theme, or type of writing you’re currently working on. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or journaling, knowing your focus will help you find the most relevant prompts to use in your writing.
For instance, if you’re working on a mystery novel, you can search for prompts that are related to suspense situations.
Similarly, if you’re writing a short story, a prompt about a character facing a moral dilemma could inspire your narrative.
You can find useful prompts across various genres and themes from various platforms, including:
- Online writing communities where writers share ideas and prompts (e.g., on Reddit, Quora, Writing Facebook groups, and Wattpad)
- Online writing prompt generators, e.g., Reedsy Writing Prompts and The Story Shark.
- Writing prompt websites such as Writers Write and The Write Practice.
- Writing prompt books
- Current events, e.g., news stories and trending issues
- Personal experiences, memories, and emotions
- Pinterest and social media
Examples of Writing Prompts
There is a diverse range of prompts you can use as an inspiration for your writing. Here are some examples of writing prompts based on the theme and type of writing:
- Fiction: Write a scene where two strangers meet on a deserted island.
- Non-Fiction: Discuss the impact of technology on modern relationships.
- Poetry: Compose a poem inspired by the changing seasons.
- Journaling: Reflect on a recent challenge you faced and how you overcame it.
- Dialogue: Write a conversation between two old friends who reunite after many years.
- Debate: Write an article discussing the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms.
- How-To Guide: Craft a step-by-step guide on how to land freelance writing jobs
- Book or Movie Review: Review a recent best-selling novel, highlighting its themes, characters, and relevance.
- Educational Explainer: Explain the concept of blockchain technology and its role in revolutionizing industries.
- Opinion Piece: Share your perspective on the role of technology in bridging cultural divides and fostering social understanding.
Always remember to tailor the prompts to fit your target audience, writing style, and the specific angle you want to take in your article.
Employ Time Management Techniques
You’ll agree with me that the reason you want to learn how to write faster is because you’re racing against time. And that means you have to work on your time management skills.
If you don’t know how to manage the little time you have to complete projects, you’ll always be dragging behind deadlines.
Here are the time management techniques you can employ to help you write faster:
1. Set Writing Goals and Timelines
Clearly define your writing goals and establish realistic deadlines for completing every writing project you have.
Having well-defined goals and timelines gives your writing purpose and structure.
For instance, if you’re writing a 10-chapter book, set a goal to complete two chapters per week and a deadline for the entire manuscript in three months.
Remember to set realistic goals and assign achievable timelines for each project. This approach will ensure steady progress and prevent you from procrastinating.
2. Set Word Count Targets
Another time-management technique that works for many writers is to set daily or session-based word count targets.
If you’re working on a 2000-word blog post, you can aim for 500 words in each session and take a short break before moving to the next session.
Such small sessions will make the project look manageable, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment with each target met.
Also, knowing that you have a specific goal to reach can motivate you to stay focused and productive during your writing sessions.
3. Set Time-Based Goals
Instead of focusing solely on word count goals, you can also set goals based on time.
For example, you can commit to writing for a certain amount of time each day, say 5 or 6 hours, depending on the workload.
If you’re an early morning person, you can also dedicate a one-hour writing session before involving yourself in other duties like making breakfast.
This approach can significantly help you concentrate on your writing, making you finish your projects faster. It can also ensure you put consistent effort into your writing regardless of the word count.
4. Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is a popular productivity technique that helps people stay focused and finish tasks on time.
It’s a time-management technique that involves working for a focused 25-minute stretch and taking a 5-minute break before embarking on the next 25-minute work.
As a freelance writer, you can also apply this technique by writing for 25 minutes and taking 5-minute breaks in between.
It also goes hand in hand with dividing your work into small manageable chunks. That way, before taking a break, you already know the next section you’ll be writing.
This method helps to prevent burnout, maintain focus, and boost your overall creativity.
5. Use Time-Tracking Tools
To help you spend your time efficiently, consider using time-tracking tools to monitor your writing time and identify trends.
How many words can you write per minute or per hour?
Monitor the amount of time you take to complete tasks or write a given number of words and mark the trend.
Some free time-tracking tools you can use to track and manage your time include:
- Toggl Track
- My Hours
Over time, you can adjust to make your writing even faster.
For instance, if you notice that you consistently take three hours to finish a 1000-word blog post, you can try to adjust it slowly to 2 hours and later to one hour.
Also, if you notice that you’re consistently more productive in the mornings, you can adjust your schedule to allocate more writing time during the morning hours.
6. Stay Focused During Writing Sessions
When you start writing, manage the little time you have by kipping away distractions. As mentioned, there are several online tools and apps that can help you block distractions.
Some of them include:
- Cold Turkey
- Self Control
- Rescue Time
You can set up a focused 60-minute writing session where you don’t receive calls, touch your phone or visit social media or news websites.
Take 15-minute breaks in between to stretch, hydrate, bite something, or do a quick mental recharge activity. Or even use social media to get clients.
7. Prioritize Tasks
When working on multiple writing projects, the easiest way to finish faster is by setting priorities.
Start with the most important tasks and head down to the least important ones.
Your priority list could be in terms of deadlines— starting with the articles that will be due first and progressing systematically.
You can also prioritize based on projects that are most important to you or your highest-valued clients.
This will ensure you meet all the timelines as appropriate and don’t disappoint your clients with late submissions.
Imagine you’re writing an article that’s to be published on one of the most famous blogs on the internet. It’s easy to find yourself agonizing over every sentence, trying to make it perfect, right?
Self-criticism is one of the culprits that often slow us down when writing.
You feel like this sentence doesn’t sound juicy enough, or that paragraph could use a little more vocabulary.
But for you to write faster and finish your projects on time, it’s important to learn how to minimize self-criticism.
Here are some techniques that can help you minimize self-criticism when writing:
- Overcome Perfectionism: Acknowledge that perfection is an unattainable goal and that imperfections are a natural part of the writing process. Focus more on the value of the ideas you put down.
- Give room for a messy first draft: Allow yourself to a write messy, imperfect first draft. Understand that the purpose of the first draft is to get your ideas down on paper and to create a perfect piece.
- Strive for progress, not perfection: When writing, shift your focus from achieving perfection to making consistent progress. Celebrate each milestone, whether it’s completing a chapter or hitting an anticipated word count.
- Separate writing and editing: Recognize that writing and editing are separate phases of the writing process. While writing, let your ideas and imaginations flow freely without being overly critical and save the editing for later.
- Write without self-judgment: Try to silence your inner critic while writing. Avoid rereading what you’ve written until you’ve finished the first draft. This will help you maintain momentum and prevent self-doubt from creeping in.
- Edit last: Once you’re finished writing, save time to review and edit your work. When you approach editing as a distinct task, you’re able to evaluate your work objectively without stifling your creativity.
Finally, you need to practice regularly to improve your writing speed and become a fast writer.
Regular practice will strengthen your writing muscles and help you cultivate a healthy writing habit.
Stay Consistent and Write Frequently
Consistency is one of the key principles for improving any skill, including writing. To achieve the best results, commit to a regular writing schedule, whether it’s daily, several times a week, or on specific days.
If you’re a part-timer, you can dedicate the first 30 minutes of your morning to writing or allocate time during your lunch break.
Whatever it is, ensure you create a writing schedule and stick with it. Consistent practice will help you build momentum and prevent your writing skills from stagnating.
Always Set Achievable Goals and Track Progress
Set realistic goals for your writing practice.
For instance, instead of aiming for a full chapter, start with a goal of writing 300 words each session. Achieving smaller goals will help boost your confidence and encourage you to write more often.
Also, remember to use a digital log to track your progress. Document the time you spend writing, word counts, and any reflections.
Regular practice naturally leads to improved writing speed.
As you write more frequently, you’ll become more comfortable with the process, which reduces hesitation and mental blocks. Your fingers become more with the keyboard, allowing you to type faster.
Seeing your progress over time can give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to improve.
Quality Over Quantity
While it’s important to write fast, be careful not to sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. As you keep practicing, strive to improve the quality of your writing with each session.
Place more focus on clarity, accuracy, and creativity in the way you communicate your ideas.
You can also experiment with various writing styles and topics to diversify your skill set and prevent monotony.
Use Voice-to-Text Software
If you feel like your typing speed is not fast enough to finish your projects on time, you can as well try using voice-to-text software.
Voice-to-text software is a convenient way to capture your thoughts and ideas without having to type manually.
Here are some examples of popular voice-to-text software that you can use to fasten your writing process:
- Google Docs Voice Typing: Google Docs has a built-in voice typing feature that allows you to dictate your text directly into a Google document. It’s accessible, free, and offers reasonable accuracy.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking: This is a robust voice recognition software that offers accurate transcription and supports various applications. You can use it to transcribe your voice into text to help you write faster.
- Microsoft Dictate: This is my favorite in this list. It’s an add-in for Microsoft Office applications like Word. It uses the Azure Cognitive Services Speech SDK to accurately transcribe voice to text. I use Microsoft 365 which comes automatically with the “Dictate” feature.
- SpeechTexter: This online voice recognition tool allows you to dictate text into a browser. It supports multiple languages and provides a quick way to convert your spoken words into text.
- Evernote: Evernote’s speech-to-text feature allows you to record audio notes that can then be transcribed into text. It’s a versatile tool you can use to capture your thoughts, ideas, and reminders on the go.
Each of these apps has its unique features and functionalities.
Depending on your preferences, you can choose one that best aligns with your writing goals and enhances your productivity.
How can I improve my speed of writing?
You can improve your writing speed by practicing touch typing and adjusting your writing routine. Break down your writing into manageable chunks, minimize distractions when writing, and use writing prompts to stimulate ideas. Also, practice regularly and use effective time management techniques to help you finish your projects faster.
Why do I write so slowly?
You may be writing slowly due to various reasons, such as a perfectionism mindset, self-criticism, lack of confidence, and lack of familiarity with the topic. Also, you may be experiencing writer’s block or have not established a consistent writing routine to help your creativity flow. Identifying the root cause will help you implement the right strategies to help you improve.
How can I write faster by hand?
To write faster by hand, practice regularly by taking writing exercises and drills. Find the correct writing position, maintain a good posture, and use pens that are comfortable to hold and write with. Focus on forming letters efficiently without unnecessary pauses. You can also experiment with different writing styles to find what works best in improving your handwriting speed.
How can I improve my slow writing speed?
To improve your slow typing speed, learn how to write faster by practicing techniques such as touch typing. Take online typing tests and writing challenges on sites like Typing Club and 10FastFingers. Also, master common keyboard shortcuts and practice regularly to improve your typing speed and accuracy.
Writing fast is a skill that every freelancer who wants to make it big in the industry must master.
However, it’s not something that happens overnight. Rather, it requires consistent effort, practice, and a combination of techniques to reach an optimum writing speed and accuracy.
Fortunately, there is a plethora of tools and resources online that can support you through the learning process.
Whether you’re a copywriter or a full-time freelance writer, these fast writing tips can help you deliver quality work faster and beat deadlines.
If you want to learn more about freelancer writing, enroll in the ultimate freelance writing course and start honing your writing skills today.