In a perfect world, deadlines wouldn’t be a thing. You’d have unlimited time to complete everything you need to write, like essays , reports, reading responses, and even the kinds of writing you do for fun, like blog posts and short stories.
How to Write Faster: 8 Strategies for Productivity
Slow writing is a challenge that every author faces — one that can be particularly frustrating to tackle. So, if you want to save time, publish more books, or simply finish your project, here are eight tricks and strategies for writing faster:
Writing requires focus, so find a distraction-free environment that works for you. For some people that means leaving the house and writing from coffee shops or libraries, while for others it comes down to curating their perfect writing environment.
The internet, of course, is one of the biggest challenges in terms of distraction. To protect yourself from being pulled away from your novel, leave your phone in another room and set specific hours to surf online (i.e. from 7 to 8 in the morning/evening). If you need the Internet for research, you can always use apps like Self-Control or Cold Turkey to block specific websites during your golden hours (adiós, Twitter rabbit holes!)
Tell us about your book, and we’ll give you a writing playlist
Streamline the writing process
You’re most likely familiar with the writing process . It’s the six steps just about every piece of writing goes through to develop from an idea to a published piece. Working through these steps means doing a thorough job of brainstorming, outlining, writing, editing, and perfecting your work . . . but it can be a slow process. When you’re crunched for time, you simply don’t have the luxury of working through the unabridged writing process.
In a pinch, you can streamline it. One way to streamline the writing process is to combine steps one and two and outline your work as you brainstorm it. This might mean a less coherent outline, but that’s fine—you’ll smooth it out when you write.
After getting an outline on the page, get right to writing. We’ll later on cover strategies that can help this step go faster. During the writing stage, the goal is to start getting words down. Don’t worry about irrelevant, superfluous, or awkward words winding up in your text—you’ll fix these up when you edit your work .
Speaking of editing, you’ll also need to cut out an important step in the writing process: editing your work with fresh eyes. Ideally, you’d wait about a day after writing to edit your work so you can catch mistakes more easily. But with a limited amount of time, you’ll need to dive right into editing after you’re finished writing. Depending on how pressed for time you are, you might also have to combine the last two steps in the writing process, editing and proofreading.
Build a bridge to tomorrow
Building bridges is one of my favorite tips from the book “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp.
Ernest Hemingway had the nifty trick of always calling it a day at a point when he knew what came next. He built himself a bridge to the next day. I cannot think of a better creative organizational tool. (…) I try to do a variation of the bridge. I always quit for the day before everyone’s totally exhausted. I stop when there’s still energy left in the room and I know where we would have gone if we hadn’t stopped. Knowing what comes next is like crocheting: The end of one day knits into the next, and you wind up with a garment that’s flexible but strong.