Thousands of experienced and wannabe novelists sign up every year to participate in National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, they push through to create 50,000 words of new fiction each. For those unversed in the art of novel writing, it is pretty difficult to write fiction faster than 50,000 in 30 days!
November is not the only time a freelance writer needs the ability to write fast. In fact, many online copy writers must keep up a faster writing pace on a regular basis. To make a full-time salary, a freelance writer may need to churn out between 10,000 and 50,000 words of product descriptions, blog articles, and web copy per week.
In order to keep up such a pace without burning out, a successful freelancer must perfect a few tips to write faster. Whether you are working on a novel, trying to make it in online copy-writing, or writing expert articles for magazines, here are seven professional tips for writing faster.
1. Use a Timer System
When I put a timer on my progress, I feel a bit of adrenaline that really boosts my writing speed. I can keep up a short range pace of 1,300 words of basic copy in about 25 minutes, but I know I can’t sustain that over a long period of time. So, I set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes. I write full out for that amount of time, and then take a five to ten minute breather. I can repeat the process for several hours each morning, churning out between 4,000 and 10,000 words, depending on the complexity of the assignment.
2. Schedule Writing Tasks
Writing with speed doesn’t always guarantee you write without mistakes. Instead of slowing your progress by editing as you go, schedule editing time in your work day. One author I know writes for four hours in the morning, takes a lunch break, and spends two hours on editing and proofreading tasks.
3. Find the Sweet Spot in Your Day
Everyone has a time during the day when they are more productive. This is not necessarily about being a morning person or a night owl. If you love the early morning but you have several younger children to get off to school, this won’t be your most productive time. I find that my productivity is highest mid-morning and late evening. I try to schedule writing time during those hours to make the most of my work time.
4. Bone Up on Typing Skills
I could never hit the word count I do without above-average typing skills. Even when you factor in research, toggling between screens, and some sort of thought process, I can reach a maximum of over 50 words per minute. I can actually type much faster than that, but if my typing skills were 35 words per minute, I would be severely hampered.
If your copy writing is being held back by slow typing, consider practicing with online typing tutor tools. There are numerous websites and free programs devoted to teaching and perfecting typing skills.
5. Try Different Tools
My wife bought me a new keyboard a few months ago. It was wireless, so I could arrange it in the most comfortable position and placement, regardless of where I was with my laptop. Surprisingly, this made a difference in how fast I could write. Not only could I write for a longer period of time without becoming uncomfortable, I could also write more efficiently.
If you feel like you have reached an efficiency plateau, take some time to consider the weakest link in your writing world. Is your chair uncomfortable, limiting your writing time to an hour? Does your word processor or desk set up really work for you? Make a change and see if your writing doesn’t speed up.
6. Avoid Distractions
This might seem like an obvious tip, but distractions can derail writing efficiency faster than almost anything else. Children, spouses, housework, social obligations and pets can all be a drain on your writing time. However, you can schedule around these distractions, secreting away your own minutes or hours.
What you cannot schedule around are distractions like social media. How many times do you click over to Facebook, Twitter or your blogger account during the day? According to LearnStuff.com, almost 25 percent of internet time is spent on social networks and the average person could be interrupted by texts and other communications as much as every 10 minutes!
The only person who can reduce this type of interruption on your writing time is you. You can take steps like removing social media buttons from your browser bar and keeping your cell phone in a separate room. This will remove an immediate and habitual access to interruptions. You can also reward yourself after a certain amount of writing with some time playing online or doing something else you enjoy.
No one runs a four minute mile the first time out. Writing on a regular basis will help gain speed. You also need to rate your speed on a personal scale. Just because you don’t write as fast as another individual does not mean you are failing. If you are writing 25 more words an hour on a regular basis than you were last week, then you are gaining speed.
Writing faster is not necessarily a requirement for success. However, efficient writing is a valuable skill for many freelancers.
What do you think? Is speed important to your writing time?