One of the best writing skills you can develop is the ability to write FAST. This week, I’ve been chatting with several of my students who struggle to write.
When I started writing for money, way back in the 1970s, I agonized over every word. It was pitiful, and I knew it. It took a long, long time before I became confident, and many tears. So I know what it’s like to struggle with your writing, and if I got over the struggle, you can too.
You CAN write fast, with a good writing process. Anyone can. If you can talk, you can write, and with a little practice, you can write at least as fast as you can talk. Once you’ve got a first draft, you can rework and revise, and you’re done.
This article will give you the tools you need to write fast. Use them.
1. Writing Fast Starts In Your Mind – Build Motivation
Your mind is magic. Think of it as Aladdin’s lamp. All you need to do to activate your mind’s wish-fulfilling genii is tell it what you want. “I choose to be a fast writer.” Say it aloud. Imagine what your life as a freelance writer would be like if you were a FAST freelance writer. What if you could write an article in well under an hour? A book in a month?
Build your motivation by imagining how your life will change when you have the ability to write fast. Here’s a secret: editors love fast writers. When you become known as someone who just does the work, you’ll get writing gigs just because you’re fast.
2. Your Method: Build Your Writing With Chunks
Every piece of writing you do is made up of words, sentences, and paragraphs. Chunks. If you get intimidated by writing, just remember that you don’t have to write an article or a book today. You just have to write a word, and another one. Words form into sentences… and paragraphs. That’s all.
So chunk your writing. The beauty of it is, your subconscious mind can do most of the work. For example, if I’m working on an article, the first thing I do is write whatever comes to mind about the topic. I’ve now got a page or two of material, handwritten. If I’ve typed the material, I drag the file into the Send to Kindle icon. For some reason, reading on my iPad relaxes me, so that I muse over the material, rather than stewing over it.
Next I write a brief outline. Usually it’s no more than four or five sentences. Then I write a draft – very rough and fast. Then I write the another draft. Then it’s done.
If you’re in the habit of writing a first draft straight through, stop it. It rarely works. Yes, you may strike it lucky occasionally, but you’re not leaving time for your creative processes (preparation, incubation, illumination etc) to work. If you’re not up to speed on creativity models, here’s Wikipedia on creativity.
Let your subconscious mind do most of the work. It’s better at writing than your conscious mind.
3. Research As You Go – You Never Know When You’ll Need It
I read a lot. In fact, I became a writer because I love to read. So reading is a pleasure: it’s research. However, I know that if I allow myself to research before I write, I’ll write slowly. Research is never done. There’s always more to know. Therefore, I research as I write.
Pay attention to your subconscious mind. Notice what it’s doing. Over the years, I’ve learned to mine my obsessions. If I become very interested in something, then it’s best to allow myself to learn (research) as much as my subconscious wants – it comes in useful, always. I was a tech journalist for 15 years, just because I like technology. If you have a passion for something, pay attention.
So there you have it. All you need to know to write fast – please use these tools. Once you get accustomed to letting your creativity flow, you’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish.
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I work with writing students every day who believe that they “can’t write.” And yet, they must write, for one reason or another.More info →
Updated: October 12, 2016
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