Imagine waking up one day with blazing fast writing skills.
You plop down at your keyboard, crack your knucks, and blast out your work in half the time it normally takes. You don’t just finish your work, you demolish it. You look up at the clock and can’t believe how fast you got done.
And the best part?
You’re actually having fun.
You don’t waste any time staring at a blank screen. Ideas flow out like a firehose. Your fingers zip across the keys at warp speed. You’ve become a writing machine.
Suddenly you’ve got tons of free time and don’t know what to do with it all. What used to take you a full day now only takes half. You’ve got some time to kill.
Will you pick up more clients to earn extra cash? Start that side hustle you’ve always been too busy for? Show the world what a Netflix binge really means?
Doubling your writing speed opens up a whole new world of opportunities.
And the cool thing is, it’s not even hard to do.
By reading through these speed-writing hacks and practicing them every day, you’ll be writing faster (and having fun doing it) in no time.
#1.) Crank up the pressure
This is a surefire way to not only boost your writing speed but also make it more fun.
According to a wise dude named Parkinson, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
And he’s not wrong.
By giving yourself time constraints and competing against the clock, you’ll be surprised how fast you can get work done.
Don’t believe me?
Go bet a co-worker 50 bucks that you’ll finish your project an hour faster than it normally takes. If that doesn’t ratchet things up to hyperspeed (and keep you from checking emails “real quick”), I don't’ know what will.
Here are some example constraints:
In (4 minutes) I need to (tell a personal story) about (product).
In (25 minutes) I need to (explain a unique way) to use (product).
In (1 paragraph) I need to tell website owners why they should be using (SumoMe).
With only (.gif images) I need to show (my software) working on a website.
While (inside a dark room) I need to come up with (3 business ideas) in (7 minutes).
#2.) Find your flow
The secret to doubling your speed is finding the writing process that works best for you. Everyone is different. To find your unique workflow, you need to experiment.
Remember, what works for me might not be what works for you.
Maybe you prefer different writing tools. Maybe you like to research before brain dumping. Maybe you’re a writing wizard and an outline just slows you down.
Whatever the case, the important thing is to test different flows, record the data, and determine what’s fastest.
Once you figure that out, put together your own checklists. This streamlines the process and shaves down time thinking about the next step.
#3.) Get in the zone
Here’s two more tweaks to rev up your writing speed.
First, what time of day do you write fastest?
Maybe you’re thinking, “Cool Mitch. Heard that one before. Tell me something I don’t know.”
But have you actually tried? Don’t underestimate this one. I’ve done the tests. I write 2x faster between 9-12am than I do after 4pm. No joke. When the clock strikes 4, my brain checks out.
So what do I do after 4?
I edit. I email. I check the fridge over and over hoping food will magically appear.
And if I really need to keep writing?
I crack open a beer. Which brings me to the second part of finding your zone...What mental state do you write fastest in?
You might think it’s whenever you’re most alert, but that’s not always the case.
Sometimes the opposite is true. You might actually write faster when you’re groggy. When your “inner filter” is snoozing and you’re too tired to care if your writing sounds good (perfect for brain-dumping).
Or maybe you hit max speed after a shot of caffeine or alcohol.
The point is, keep experimenting until you find your sweet spot. You’ll never know what works best until you try.
#4.) Destroy writer’s block
Writer’s block is a pain in the nuts. Ain’t nobody got time for staring at a blank screen. You got shit to do. Here’s some simple techniques that’ll give writer’s block the throat punch it deserves.
Play “sticky seat”
Set a timer for 33 minutes.
You must sit in your chair, hands on keyboard, until time runs out.
No phone. No internet. No talking. No smiling.
After staring at a blank screen for a few minutes, your brain will start to think, “Yeah, I’m bored as hell. Better start writing.”
Never run out of ideas
If you’re wasting time racking your brain for topic ideas, you’re doing it wrong. Try this instead…
Start with the easiest part
Give your brain a warm up by starting with the easiest part of your project. Once it breaks a sweat and limbers up a bit, you can move into the heavy lifting.
Blocked on a blog post? Write out your purpose or main point and work backward from there.
Stuck on a sales letter? Begin with your guarantee.
Struggling on an email? Put together a quick call-to-action.
Use your momentum to your advantage.
Just type something
Seriously. Just type anything.
Format your page. Edit last session’s work. Heck, even start adding in placeholders describing what you would write if you weren’t blocked.
But it just might be the jumpstart your brain needs to get in gear.
Now, let’s pretend you suffered through a 33-minute sticky seat. You used the idea generators. You tried building momentum. But your brain still isn’t cooperating. This doesn’t happen often. But when it does, there’s only one thing left to do…
Move your ass
You’re restless. Speed writing doesn’t work when you’re restless.
Time for some stimulation.
So do some...
Take cold shower
slap yourself in the face
Whatever gets you stimulated
Just get that blood pumping.
WARNING! This is the last resort. Only do it if all else fails, and limit yourself to 5 minutes. Otherwise you’re just procrastinating.
#5.) Become a distraction assassin
If you’re serious about doubling your writing speed, you have to protect your “focus time”—ruthlessly eliminate all distractions.
Distractions come in four flavors. Technology, real-life, and emotional.
Technology distractions—like email, social media, and other notifications—are easy to get rid of. Just disconnect from the internet and your productivity will soar.
Real-life distractions are harder to control.
A grumbling tummy.
A Chatty Cathy in the office next door.
A Colombian neighbor blasting salsa music for the whole block to hear.
To handle these, you need to get creative.
Make yourself unavailable. Eat and use the bathroom before settling down to work. Buy some earplugs. Do whatever it takes to protect your focus time. You’ll be surprised how fast you write when you prevent these little distractions from taking up your brain bandwidth.
Lastly, you need to get your mind right and rein in emotional distractions. It might sound weird, but creating a pre-writing ritual can make a big difference.
If your emotions are out of whack, you’re writing will be too.
#6.) Save time with technology tricks
Technology can be a distraction. But it can also be a tool.Distraction BustersThese programs are made specifically to fight distractions. Some popular ones are:
- Freedom (block anything that distracts you)
- Brain.fm (soundtracks to block outside noise and boost productivity)
- Ommwriter (distraction-free text editor that promotes “writing zen”)
- Neville’s trick (Macs only)
Screw typing, talk instead
Talk-to-text makes writing with a conversational tone dead simple. And with practice, it’s way faster.The average typing speed is 40 words per minute.
The average talking speed is 150 words per minute. Auctioneers can spit out up to 400 words per minute!
Master talk-to-text and you’re looking at some serious speed gainz.
And it’s easy to do. Just open up a voice memo in your phone or use the voice typing tool in Google docs. If you’re an overachiever, you can even buy high-tech talk-to-text software like Dragon.
Custom keyboard shortcuts
Less keystrokes = less time.
This one’s guaranteed to boost your speed. Software like TextExpander, typeit4me (mac), and breevy (windows), let’s you type in short snippets that expand into longer phrases (or even images). As you can imagine, this makes both typing and editing faster.
The trick is setting shortcuts to be snippets you’d never type when writing normally. For example…
%bio = My name is Mitch Glass, and I help Neville teach slowpoke writers how to crank out content at lightning speed.
%contact = Hit me up at 1-800-SPEED-WRITERbook you should read = This Book Will Teach You How To Write Better by Neville Medhora
#7.) Take a brain breather
Yes, even writing beasts like yourself need breaks once in a while. Whether you like it or not, your brain has limits.
It’s easy to skip breaks when you’re under pressure, but science says that’s not smart. Powering through will slow you down.
You’re probably tired of hearing it, but if you’re serious about doubling your writing speed, there’s more testing to be done.
First, how long can you work before your concentration starts to fade? If you’re like most humans, it’s between 25 and 90 minutes.
Next, what’s the minimum break your brain needs to catch its breath?
Remember, a break doesn’t mean opening a new tab to go facebooking. A break means changing activities. Get up and do something different.
So what does this look like in real life?
For me, 55 minutes of work with a 5-minute break works best. You might do better working 25 and breaking for 2. Or working 90 and breaking 15. Once you find your sweet spot, you’ll notice a nice boost in writing speed.
#8.) Don’t write from scratch
If you’re racing against the clock, shortcuts are your friend. And the best shortcut of all?
Don’t waste time thinking of a headline, use a proven template.
Don’t tinker around with email sales copy, base it off a successful template.
Don’t reinvent the wheel with social media, find some time-tested templates. If you see an ad that catches your attention, dissect it and re-use it. Here’s a simple one...
“Need help with [big problem your audience has]? Right now we’re doing [something to help their problem #1], [something to help their problem #2], and [something to help their problem #3] inside [your companies product/service]: [link]”
Easy, right? That took like 12 seconds.
Just make sure to add your own flavor. You don’t want to sound like a robot.
#9.) Train your speed writing muscles
Writing faster is like running faster. The more your train, the more your muscles grow, the faster you get.
So, do some experimenting. Find your writing zone. Beat your time records. Push yourself to the limits.
Do it day in and day out. Even when you feel lazy.
And remember, this has nothing to do with writing talent. Anyone can do it. (Even you!) The question is…
How bad do you want it?