Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank page, wondering how to get started on your writing project? Does the thought of beginning make you want to run away and do anything else? If so, you’re not alone. Just about every writer has to battle procrastination and self-doubt, even the pros. But the good news is that there are techniques for how to write faster, and they can make that blank page a distant memory. The key is to find a system that works for you and stick with it. Here are tips on how to write faster.
- 1 Rethink your time management
- 2 Set aside the right amount of time for writing
- 3 Keep a consistent writing schedule
- 4 Set a word limit goal
- 5 Plan your sequences before you write them
- 6 Don’t be afraid to let go of a good idea
- 7 Take breaks between your sessions
- 8 Don’t edit while you’re writing.
- 9 Celebrate your successes.
- 10 Join the Commaful Storytelling Community
Rethink your time management
If you’re an aspiring writer wondering how to write faster, as much as you can, you need to stop forcing yourself to do specific tasks at specific hours of the day. This is the opposite of efficient time management, which is definitely something important to anyone trying to publish a book faster. Force yourself to work at certain times and you’re creating stumbling blocks for yourself, obstacles that will make it extra hard to screw up and open the door to procrastination. To get the most out of every day, treat any room you spend hours in as your office, or if working from home, a room of your home. And to do your best writing how to write faster, avoid generic to-do apps and instead embrace a practical attitude to time management. If you have paid work you need to fulfill, that job comes first. Get it done and then schedule time for writing, you could even combine them if you want, have lunch at home or out, or just get up and leave to be ahead of the curve.
Set aside the right amount of time for writing
Different writers work in different ways. Some writers are disciplined enough to put in a solid eight hours a day, every day. Some are voracious writers, writing as much as they can. On the other hand, there are those writers who can only produce consistent, high quality output when they work on their stories a little bit at a time. But whatever your writing style is, it’s important that you protect it, so that you have time to write even when things get crazy. That’s why writers should always protect writing time and guard it against disturbances, because writing time is critical to remaining productive.
Stop multitasking. Everything you do while not seriously working at writing is a distraction. Each time you break to check your email, make breakfast, stop all writing and begin a non-writing task, you are weakening your ability to focus on writing work. You are building and reinforcing habits that will be difficult to change. Reading, personal grooming, playing games and watching TV are also generally tiresome. Bad habits can creep in, and your writing can suffer. Some of these might apply directly to your life, such as if reading in a bookstore is distracting to you, but others are circumstantial or situational — instead of watching TV, for example, you might ask your roommate to help you reorganize your closets.
Keep a consistent writing schedule
Write every day – sounds pretty simple, right? It does. That’s why so many people ignore it and never achieve their writing goals by choosing to live busy lives. Keeping to a consistent writing schedule may seem like a no-brainer, but many writers spend so much time trying to choose the perfect time to write that they wind up with nothing in their notebook.
Of course, you can be disrupted by the occasional emergency, but if something is genuinely urgent, you can tell. Your family or friends will know. Social-media is not an emergency. Attempts at writing before you are fully awake are not being a morning person. If you’re still failing to hit your milestone, it really might lie in your writing schedule.
The most important thing is consistency. When you want to write, write. If you write every day, you will build the habit, and before long it won’t feel like you have to put in all that effort. You can just write. The good thing is that writing is such a fun activity, that even when you don’t feel like it you can still enjoy it. It’s a skill like any other, and only improves with time.
If you can’t find time to write every day, or if you slip up and miss a day, don’t get down on yourself. If you can keep yourself to that schedule, it leaves you less worried about what to write, and more time to perfect it. It’s important to outline your goals — but it’s even more vital to enforce them on a schedule.
Set a word limit goal
Many bloggers, business writing experts, and other prolific authors have recommended setting up a word limit goal. Words are the measure of most writing goals, and breaking down large goals into manageable daily numbers will allow you to get into the habit of writing.
The goal itself can be anything you want. For the next week, see how many words you can write each day. For the next month, see how many words you can churn out per week. This goal should be a minimum to hit — not something you aim to beat every day. The key is that whether you reach or fall below your daily quota, you’re making progress towards your larger goal by producing fresh content.
Only you can decide what your word limit goal should be — simply ask yourself how much work you could get done in any given day. If you take a lot of breaks to socialize and watch cat videos, a daily quota of 1,000 words might be difficult to reach, but if you regularly sit at your desk for four or five hours straight, you may be able to sustain something between 1,500 and 2,000 words a day. If you’re a more creative writer, setting a weekly quota of 1,500-2,000 words may be a better fit. If you’re just starting out, try for a daily quota of 500 words, and you’ll be surprised at how much content you can churn out in a month.
Plan your sequences before you write them
Don’t let the specter of a looming deadline put pressure on you to write faster — leverage it to get more done in less time. Break down your daily writing goal into smaller pieces. If you’ve stalled out on your novel, try setting the daily goal of writing a single scene, and then breaking that down into a goal for each voice in your scene. Depending on the nature of your subject matter, you may find it useful to break down your scenes into 1,000-3,000 word chunks.
Don’t let the process of adding structure to your story frighten you off — the most important thing to keep in mind is that structure is there to serve your story, not vice versa. When you’re determining the structure of your story, you’re not constricting or limiting your ability to express your creativity. Just keep in mind that while it can be tempting to dive straight into a blank draft, your first drafts will go faster if you put that shiny new structure to work first. Not only will it help you reach impressive word counts each day, but it’ll also improve the quality of your story as you go.
Don’t be afraid to let go of a good idea
Sometimes, when you start to write a piece, you end up in a place you totally didn’t expect. That’s good! Stay in the moment, and go with wherever the first person, present tense, stream of consciousness takes you. You can edit later, and rewrite last. You won’t know what you’ve written until you’ve written it. Eavesdrop on yourself and try to listen to what’s trickling out of your fingertips. This will help you separate yourself from the parts of yourself that you habitually criticize.
Take breaks between your sessions
When you want to get things done faster you’ve got to work faster — this means you don’t have time to rest in between. This is a bad idea for any writer, and it can cause unique problems for different kinds of writers. Novelists typically use a set number of words each session. Bloggers get behind on posts if they don’t post frequently. Sales copywriters need to produce copy quickly but need to proofread it carefully and make sure it accurately appeals to its audience. No matter what kind of writer you are, you should take regular breaks between writing sessions. You need time to relax and recharge — it isn’t conducive to fast writing to push so hard that you get injured, sick, or burnt out.
Anticipate how much you’ll get done, and divide your word count by the break time. For instance, if you’re a novelist who gets into a groove once you’ve written a thousand words, write as many as you can possibly muster in an hour. Then take a ten or fifteen-minute break before starting a second hour. You’ll be able to write with more intensity and ultimately write even faster. Whether you do get faster is up to you. Some of us will have to work really hard at it, others will have to start off small and then slowly build up to a faster pace. It is helpful to, in your mind, map out just how long it would take you to write a certain number of words. For example, to motivate yourself to write a huge number of words, set a goal that if you can write one thousand words in an hour, in two hours you can have two thousand words posted.
Don’t edit while you’re writing.
When you sit down to write your blog post, or begin writing a chapter in a book, you should focus your primary attention on getting your thoughts on paper. This doesn’t mean you don’t want to write well—indeed, the way you craft your work is important—but it does mean that you should not try to edit and perfect every single paragraph. Editing is a time-consuming and stressful process, and it’s healthier to focus your energy on the actual writing in the first draft. Only after you’re certain that you’ve got everything out that you meant to, should you begin to worry about making the language more crisp and the paragraphs flow better.
An important caveat to this rule is that it only applies to your rough, first drafts. Most writers discover that once they’ve completed that draft, their perspective changes, and they’re better able to identify errors, gaps, and incoherent ideas. Unfortunately, this usually helps you correct those mistakes far too late to save yourself the time of rewriting your previous draft from scratch. To avoid this problem, some writers prefer to switch off which draft they edit and polish. Write the rough draft, and then return to it once it’s completed to edit that draft before moving on to the next one. This process may still save you time and energy in the writing overall rather than simply editing before writing, as you can spot issues while you work rather than cold.
Celebrate your successes.
When you’re writing quickly, it’s super important that you celebrate the work you’ve done, because there will definitely be moments when you doubt yourself. When you have a breakthrough in a project, take some time out to celebrate it. Even if writing faster feels like slogging through hard work, putting your head down to focus on your goal, you’ll reach the light at the end of the tunnel. And as soon as you do, it’s really important that you acknowledge that achievement by going out to dinner with your friends, accepting a work achievement award from colleagues, taking some time off – whatever you need and want. Celebrating your writing successes will give you confidence to continue your projects, and motivate you when you inevitably hit another roadblock.
Of course, sometimes you won’t feel like writing at all . Other times you might feel highly motivated. Your writing efforts won’t always be rewarded instantaneously either. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the point, or what the bottom line really is. However, if you practice writing techniques on a regular basis and stay focused on your long-term goals, you can write faster and enjoy the process.
Other Posts You Might Like:
- How To Write First Person Narrative
- How To Write Fictional Character Change
- How To Write Emotions Into Your Fictional Characters
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