25 Ways To Write Faster
By Jessica Albon
Whether you write a daily article for the company’s blog, have to come up with engaging content for social media, or just write the occasional article, here are 25 tips to be more cheetah than tortoise.
- Organize your thoughts first. If you know you’ve got something to write, give some thought to what you want to say before you sit down to write.
- Decide on a structure. When it comes to writing, you have so many choices–choose one consciously for easier writing.
- Gather your supplies. Maybe you need tea or music (or silence) or notes–whatever you need, take a moment to get ready before you sit down to write.
- Know why you’re writing. (“Because my boss told me to” doesn’t count!)
- Tidy something. Spending 5 minutes physically organizing something (your desk, for example) can give your brain some time to think over your article without you even needing to think about your article.
- Make a metaphor list. Write up a list of concepts that relate to your article, then write a list of concrete nouns. Match and link one to another–“A bookshelf is like the writing process because both are better when you organize their contents.”
- Get some exercise. A walk makes writing easier. Weird, but true.
- Pre-number your items. If you’re going to share 25 tips, go down and write out each number before you have all 25 tips.
- Think of a moral. As in: “The moral of the story is never read the comments.”
- Write the ending first. Sometimes it’s easiest to write if you know where you’re headed.
- Give yourself permission not to write an ending. On the other hand, sometimes thinking we have to “wrap things up” can keep us stalled until we think of the perfect ending.
- Be precise. What’s the absolute best word for this sentence?
- Be messy. (Note: when it comes to being precise vs being messy, try the one that’s less comfortable for you and see how that goes. You might be surprised!)
- Write by hand. Sometimes we can type faster than we can think which can be frustrating and make us think we’re writing slower than we are. Writing by hand slows you down, yes, but it can also help you get out of your own way.
- Fold origami for five minutes. (Following directions, the precision required, and the “not writing” can all be beneficial.)
- Have a brain-friendly snack before you sit down to write. Remember when you were a kid and had to take a standardized test and they’d bring in the tray of snacks? Literal food can be really useful.
- DO NOT BROWSE THE INTERNET FOR “INSPIRATION.” Though literal food can be useful, “brain food” (e.g. inspiration) often isn’t. Stay off the internet for faster writing.
- Dole out prizes. In The Joy Diet, Martha Beck talks about training a pig to push a shopping cart by giving the pig frequent treats. (I have no idea if this story is true or not, but what I do know is that giving yourself regular treats may make you more willing to do the writing in front of you.)
- Sit in the most uncomfortable chair. (I’d see if the scene from Better off Ted with the terrible chairs–and how they boost productivity–is on YouTube, but I’m staying off the internet. But, seriously, if treats don’t work, discomfort might.)
- Stop worrying about the reader. Just write what you want. (You’ve probably never heard of Better off Ted, but it’s on Netflix, and you should watch it.)
- Follow all the writing rules. Avoid parentheticals, never start a sentence with and or but, etc, etc. Whatever writing rules you were taught in school, follow all of them.
- Or don’t.
- Use the alphabet. Start the first sentence in your article with a word that starts with “A,” the second sentence with a word that starts with “B,” and so forth. Make sure you’ve gotten into the writing flow (or ended your article) by the time the alphabet gets tricky.
- Pick up a book of writing exercises. These are often for fiction writers, so you may have to skip around until you find a useful one, but exercises can be a great way to get started.
- Stop when you’re done.
So, there you have it, 25 tips for writing fast like a cheetah. Of course, you probably won’t want to use all of them for one article–rather, choose one or two to try out for now and then return to the article again for your next writing project.Blog