In a perfect world, we would all have time to write while leisurely sipping an iced hazelnut latte on a beachside veranda. But in the real world, we sometimes have to gulp down that latte (double shot, of course) while writing on a deadline, nowhere near the sand and surf. Here are a few tips that may help you boost your writing speed and meet that deadline:
1. Start at the beginning—or the middle—or the end.
Writing doesn’t have to be linear. Start recording your ideas regardless of where those ideas may end up in the final document. If that means writing the conclusion first, no worries, you can always update the conclusion later on if your message shifts as you develop the remaining content. The most important thing is to start writing—right now. Which leads us to…
2. Stop copyediting while you’re writing the first draft!
That old saying “clean as you go” may increase productivity in the kitchen, but it doesn’t apply to content creation. While you’re writing your first draft, don’t worry about spelling, subject-verb agreement, or sentence structure. The formal editing process can begin after you’ve roughed out your message.
3. Break the project into timely chunks.
Rather than trying to finish an entire project in one limitless, mind-numbing writing session, divide it into manageable chunks of time followed by breaks. For example, work on a specific section for thirty minutes followed by a ten-minute break. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in a mere thirty minutes when you’re only thinking about one section rather than an entire document.
4. Experiment with different writing tools.
If you’re more prolific holding a pen than typing on a laptop, then by all means, write the old-fashioned way! Even if that means transferring your handwritten work to the computer later on, you’ll still save time by fast-tracking that first draft. Conversely, if you’re more comfortable using a virtual keyboard, there’s no rule that says you can’t do serious writing on a tablet (or even on a smartphone, if it has appropriate software and memory).
Do you have any additional tactics for improving your writing speed and productivity? I’d love to hear about them in the comment section below!