7 Tricks to Write Faster and Better

Learning to write faster may seem impossible if you have always been a slow scribe, set in your ways of picking your words judiciously, committing them to paper or screen only when your thoughts are fully formed. Yet writing too carefully can hinder your ability to create fresh, compelling prose. Here are strategies that will not only help you pick up speed when composing articles and stories, but also improve the quality of your ideas.

(1) Get in the mindset that faster writing is often better writing. When you write without pause, putting notions into writing as they occur to you, your prose will cover more points and key concepts than when you over-contemplate. Don't worry if some (or even most) of the ideas are rubbish, you can always delete them when you return to the text to polish and refine it.

(2) Don't edit as you compose; force yourself to edit at the end of the process. No one ever sees the first draft, so let it be messy, cluttered, almost impenetrable to everyone except the author (you!) Editing mid-text wastes time and will cause you to lose a good stream of thought.

(3) Eliminate all distractions, including videos, catchy music playing in the background, noisy crowds, and friends. Light instrumental music and nature sounds are OK, and many people benefit from a little white noise. But voices and images pull your attention away from your writing, making you to slow down or stop altogether.

(4) Create a writing schedule and make yourself write at the appointed hours. This helps get your body and mind into a routine. From 8 AM to 11 AM on Saturday mornings your butt will expect to be resting on the seat your writing chair, your fingers will expect to be hovering in position over the keyboard. You'll have no choice but to write.

(5) Don't fret over using the same words over and over when you can't come up with synonyms. For instance, if you get stuck on "important" and fail to think of alternatives as you write, just keep writing "important" until the end. When you revise, you can replace the over-used word with appropriate synonyms, for example, "key," "crucial," "significant," "priority," or "considerable."

(6) Try using a speech-to-text program such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking to accelerate your writing. Most people can speak faster than they can type--in many cases even faster than they can think. Speech-to-text programs recognize your words and put them in the form of text which you can later edit. Many programs become more intelligent the more frequently you use them, so the rate of errors diminishes. A less high-tech option is to use a digital voice recorder.

(7) Learn to type with both hands and all ten fingers. Even if you compose the first draft of your piece by hand with pen and paper, most likely your final version will be electronic, thus, typed. Hunting and pecking, having to look at your fingers when you type, these are habits that needlessly protract your writing and reduce your productivity.

© Had2Know 2010