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How To Write Fast

fast writingHi Anne,

Thank you very much for the job listings that you send me. I was able to find a freelance work which I enjoy doing.

Can you please. give me some techniques that will help be research and write faster? I was assigned five 250 words articles about boating and it took me 18 hours to finish them. How can I speed things up?

Thanks a lot,


Hi TU,

Actually, it took you 3.6 hours to research and write each article. If, as I suspect, you’re new to boating and to writing, that isn’t too bad. Not great, but it could be much worse. Of course if you got only $5 an article it means your hourly rate is way low. And if you agreed to do all five in a day you must have been trashed.

I think the biggest ‘secret’ to reaching and  writing fast is practice. I know I’m much better at framing search terms for research than I used to be. Of course, search engines have gotten better and there’s way more information out there than their used to be too. Pausing for a moment or two to think about how I want to frame a search, to think through what I actually want to know often helps.

That pause also works when I’m writing. Rather than write something down just as fast as I can, I’ll often stop, take a deep breath and ask myself what I’m trying to say. This approach usually means I’ll have way less editing to do. It’s a case of slowing down to hurry up, if you will.

As you write more and more, your writing will speed up. And as you write more you’ll probably develop some specialties or areas of interest. When you write about something you’re familiar with it takes less time than when you write about something brand new to you. Of course, one of the joys of freelance writing is the opportunity to explore all sorts of things we wouldn’t be likely to find out if we held a more traditional job.

Finally, as you grow and mature in your writing, if you keep at it, you’ll find yourself picking and choosing more carefully. Your writing will improve and so will your pay. It all comes from practice.

How have you learned to speed up your writing?



{ 6 comments… add one }
  • You know, I’m pretty good at research and the like, and I often write pretty quickly. However, a problem I’ll have, interestingly enough, is when I can’t find enough information on a topic and yet I still need to try to write at least 200 words. There’s really nothing one can do to write faster on stuff like that.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..Accessing Folders In Vista And Windows; My Palm Story =-.

    • Anne

      Really? There are topics you can’t find enough info for 200 words? That surprises me… how about a sample?

  • TU, I wrote some writer’s block tips a while back that include some techniques for speeding up the writing process…maybe they can help. But mostly Anne’s right, the more you do it, the faster you’ll get.
    .-= Carol Tice´s last blog ..6 Tips For a Great Freelance Writer’s Vacation =-.

  • I’m still working on it but I’m getting there. My biggest problem has always been self-editing while writing. It’s a nasty habit I am getting better at breaking. Here’s what works for me.

    -Set a time on research & stick to it. Research can suck you in for days. I create a list of what I need & keep to my time schedule.
    -Create an outline-no matter how well I know the topic and think I know what I’m going to write, an outline really speeds up the process.
    -Write the 1st draft without stopping for spellcheck, grammar usage, flow, etc. -just do it!
    Sometimes I’ll find when I’m writing that additional research might punch it up. I jot down the idea for research and save it for editing later.

    I’m still a work in progress with speed. 🙂
    .-= Cathy Miller´s last blog ..How to Create a Community With Creativity =-.

    • That’s really good advice, Cathy. I do that too, self-editing and wasting time on research that turns into surfing!

      I will take your suggestion and make lists when I have to do that. Then I can check off each thing and then be done. 🙂
      .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Remake Rants =-.

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