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Is slow writing cramping your style and affecting your productivity? Learning how to write faster can dramatically improve your workflow and help your hands keep up with your thoughts.
In my 15 years of freelance and content writing experience, I’ve learned quite a few hacks that will certainly help you optimize writing speed if you actually implement them.
In this article, I’ll share 20 useful tips for accelerating your writing speed without compromising quality. Let’s jump right in!
20 things you can do to write faster
1. Block the time for writing
Ever find yourself not satisfied with how much you managed to write in a week? This is likely due to the lack of proper planning and time management.
Failing to prioritize writing often leads to lower productivity because there are so many other things seeking (and often winning) your attention.
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of “I’ll write when I find the time,” but let’s be honest: that time often never comes. There is always something else to do.
Tools like Sunsama allow you to plan and prioritize your workload every day to make sure you have the time to sit and write. The idea is to block time in your calendar specifically for writing, treat it as non-negotiable, and then plan everything else around it.
You can also use AI schedulers like Motion to automatically schedule your tasks into your calendar around your meetings and other time-bound arrangements.
In this example schedule, I dedicated 4 hours per day to focused writing, which means saying no to everything else during that time. (You can read more about Motion in my detailed review.)
2. Get yourself in a productive mood
How many times have you sat down to write only to find your mind wandering or stuck in a mental fog?
You might feel like you should be able to just “power through,” but writing in that lazy mood usually leads to wasted time and subpar work. The key here is to prepare for a successful writing session before you even start!
Take a few minutes to engage in an activity that boosts your mood and sharpens your mind. Find your own effective ways of pumping yourself up for writing and getting your creative juices flowing. You’ll find that this preparatory step can significantly accelerate your writing process and produce better-quality results!
3. Use AI writing tools
Depending on what you are writing (it might be a book, an article, an essay, a social media post, or even an email), you can leverage different tools to generate the first rough draft.
I often find that editing something is mentally easier than writing from scratch. Even if the generated text is not exactly what you had in mind, it helps you get going and think about how you want to see it. As you polish or rewrite bits and pieces, you gradually fill your blank page with your own thoughts.
In many cases, you end up finishing faster than you would without AI writers.
Additionally, AI tools can generate ideas and additional angles in an instant, giving you food for thought and something to work with.
While these tools won’t entirely replace your creative input, they do offer a rapid way to get the ball rolling.
4. Write in focused sessions
Ever get into a writing groove only to be pulled out by a notification, or worse, find yourself involuntarily scrolling through social media? Before you know it, an hour has passed, and you still only have the 100 words you had an hour ago.
If this tends to happen to you, working in focused sessions can be a real lifesaver. Using focus apps that set the timer, block distractions, or create a good environment for concentration can help you make the most of those time blocks you created in tip 1.
As you sit down to write, commit to doing nothing but writing for a dedicated period.
Some apps use techniques like the Pomodoro method to structure your writing time into intervals. The most common schedule is 25 minutes of writing followed by a 5-minute break.
Personally, I prefer 50 minutes of writing with a 10-minute break as this allows me to really get into that deep flow where my brain stops wandering and the thoughts start to pour. (I use the Freedom app.)
5. Do exercises to improve your writing speed
When you hear “writing exercises,” you might think back to those tedious high school assignments. But this is different. Think of it more like warming up before a workout – it primes you for better performance.
Regularly doing speed writing exercises can significantly improve your writing stamina and speed. Whether it’s freewriting for 10 minutes (no editing allowed!) or practicing with typing software, the goal is to get you comfortable with putting thoughts to paper rapidly.
By consistently incorporating these exercises into your routine, you train your brain to churn out words more quickly, making it easier to meet your writing objectives in less time.
6. Leverage smart suggestions
You know that moment when you’re typing a sentence, and you pause to think of the best word to use next? It feels like every second is a drop in the bucket of lost productivity.
Text expanders and various tools that offer smart suggestions come to the rescue, helping you waste less time seeking the right word. These tools suggest word or phrase recommendations as you type, helping you complete sentences without losing momentum.
For instance, if you frequently write “best regards” at the end of emails, you can set up a shortcut that auto-fills this phrase whenever you type “brg.” Or use a text expander tool that will finish the sentence and even add the name after you type “best.” It’s a small trick that adds up to big time savings.
7. Listen to concentration music
Just as you sit down to write, your neighbor suddenly decides it’s the perfect time for a DIY project. Or maybe the chatter of people around you keeps interrupting your train of thought. Or maybe it’s just too quiet. Either way, you’re finding it hard to focus.
I used to struggle like this, too! Personally, I love writing in silence, and ALL external noises are distracting for me. Thankfully, none of these are the issue for me anymore since I started listening to science-backed focus music at Brain.fm!
They build soundtracks specifically designed to boost concentration, and they have actual studies that showcase the impressive difference in brain waves.
As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the track called “spectral transmission.” It’s an acoustic soundscape with a gentle neural effect that is meant for deep work.
I used to listen to Spotify and “work music” playlists on YouTube, but they didn’t do much other than block the noise. Brain.fm makes a real difference in my ability to focus.
8. Don’t strive for perfection
If you’re waiting for each sentence to be a masterpiece before you move on to the next, you’re setting yourself up for a long, long, loooooooong writing journey. It’s the quickest route to staring at your screen, paralyzed by indecision, and spending several extra hours on unnecessary polishing.
Instead, focus on getting your ideas down as quickly as possible. First drafts are supposed to be messy; that’s what revisions are for. So give yourself permission to write badly, and don’t let yourself perfect anything before you finish.
Once the words are out, you can always go back and make them beautiful!
If you are brave, there is this app called Squibler that pushes you to write non-stop. If you pause for too long, it will remove everything you wrote. This is an extreme way to prevent yourself from editing as you write. Try it if you dare!
9. Turn off the spell check
You’re in the zone, typing away, when suddenly that red squiggly line appears, signaling a typo. It’s tempting to go back and fix it right away, but that’s a trap! Doing so interrupts your flow and costs you valuable time.
Turn off your spell check while writing your first draft. It will allow you to focus solely on getting your ideas down without the distraction of correcting typos or grammatical errors. The time for polishing comes later.
I use Grammarly as my spelling and grammar-checking tool, but I make sure to turn the extension off when I’m writing the first draft. Those smart corrections mean well, but they disrupt my flow state more than they help, so I only turn them on for the editing phase.
10. Leverage the power of accountability
No matter how self-disciplined you are, everyone can benefit from a little external accountability. You know how it’s easier to stick to a workout routine when you have a gym buddy? Writing can work the same way.
You can either find an accountability buddy in your inner circle, utilize accountability partner apps that match you with random partners online for a work session, or use a daily coaching service like GoalsWon to keep yourself on track.
Involving other people to hold you accountable is an incredibly powerful method to write faster and get your daily word count out as soon as possible. You’d be surprised how much faster you write when you know someone counts on you!
It’s after 9 pm right now, and I’m sitting here writing this article because I have a daily goal to check off in GoalsWon, and I don’t want to disappoint my coach Joel. Trust me, it works!
11. Outline first
Diving into a writing project without an outline is like going on a road trip without a map. Sure, you might reach your destination, but you’ll likely take a lot of unnecessary detours.
The lack of direction means that you might get too generous with words when it’s unnecessary and will need to cut a lot or do additional editing later.
It’s also easier for your reader when there is a defined structure, such as headings in an article or short chapters in a book.
So, before you start writing, create an outline. It doesn’t have to be super detailed – a few bullet points to guide each section can do the trick. Knowing the roadmap makes it easier to navigate from one point to the next without getting lost, saving you time in the long run.
12. Limit distracting websites
We all know the internet is a double-edged sword when it comes to writing. One minute you’re researching for your article and the next you’re down a YouTube rabbit hole.
By using productivity-oriented website blockers, you can limit access to distracting websites during your writing sessions. This helps maintain your focus so you get deeper in the flow, write faster, and use your time more efficiently.
For example, here is how a website looks when you try to access it during a focused session with Freedom:
And here is how it looks if you use RescueTime:
13. Fight writer’s block
It happens to the best of us: one minute you are on a roll and the next, suddenly, you hit a wall. Writer’s block is not just frustrating; it’s a well-known productivity killer, and nobody is immune.
Thankfully, we live in a wonderful world of smart technology now! An AI personal assistant can offer a quick escape by helping you do research, finishing your sentences when you get stuck, or writing the first draft so you don’t have to stare at a blank page.
Just feed it a prompt with details on something you intend to write or your last couple of sentences, and let it generate some ideas for you. This will give your creative muscles a push in the right direction and get you back into the groove.
14. Train your brain to think faster
Sometimes, the bottleneck in writing isn’t your typing speed or your focus but how quickly you can generate ideas and solve problems.
Cognitive training exercises can help in this area. These are tasks designed to improve your memory, reasoning, and speed of information processing.
Repetitively challenging your brain like that helps you build new neural connections and strengthen the areas of your brain (such as the prefrontal cortex) that are important for your creative work.
You can also learn more about brain training and how it can change your life in John Assaraf’s science-based book called Innercise.
Over time, brain training can help you become a faster and more efficient writer.
15. Leverage your most productive time
Everyone has that golden hour when they’re exceptionally productive. For some, it’s early morning; for others, it’s late at night.
Your energy is not distributed evenly during the day. It fluctuates based on a multitude of factors, but it usually has some kind of a pattern.
The goal is to identify your optimal hours and schedule your writing sessions during these times. Your brain will be at its peak performance, allowing you to write faster without feeling tired or experiencing brain fog.
16. Don’t waste time procrastinating
We’ve all been there – telling ourselves that we’ll write “when inspiration strikes” or after just “one more episode” of that addictive show. This delay tactic is nothing more than procrastination in disguise, and it eats away at the time you could spend writing.
The most effective way to avoid procrastination is to set specific times for your writing and stick to them. You can also take a critical look at your behavior and try to figure out what causes your procrastination so you can deal with it.
One of my favorite quotes that I have on my inspiration wall is this:
Don’t wait for inspiration; make writing a non-negotiable part of your routine. Before you know it, you’ll find that the simple act of sitting down to write the first sentence at the same time every day builds momentum, making the process a lot smoother and faster.
17. Set up a comfortable and productive workspace
Have you ever sat down to write and found yourself constantly adjusting your chair or getting distracted by random things on your cluttered desk?
Your environment has a significant impact on your productivity, and an uncomfortable or disorganized space can seriously derail your writing flow.
Invest time and maybe a bit of money in setting up a workspace that pushes you to focus. Whether it’s a cozy corner with a plush chair or a minimalist desk with just your computer, make it a place where you feel motivated to write.
You can take inspiration from some of the tips I shared before:
- How To Make Your Home Office Cozy And Comfortable: 16+ Ideas
- 15 Ways To Make Your Home Office Look Professional
- Best Zoom Setup For Home Office In 2023
The less distracted you are by your environment, the faster you’ll be able to get that target word count down!
18. Invest in good quality tools
You’re halfway through a sentence, and your keyboard misses a keystroke. Or you’re jotting down ideas, and your pen runs out of ink.
Sounds familiar? Faulty or subpar tools not only disrupt your writing but can also cause unnecessary stress and waste time.
Surprisingly, it’s proven that a better-quality keyboard or pen can literally help you write faster!
For example, watch this video by one of my favorite Youtubers Ali Abdaal where he compares the typing speed of different keyboards:
If you want a summary, the fastest keyword is Apple Magic Keyboard. In my opinion, it’s also the most aesthetically pleasing and compact (I’m not a fan of colorful and chunky tech), but to each their own.
19. Do all your research beforehand
There’s nothing like having to stop to look up a piece of information when you just picked up a good writing pace. Each interruption, no matter how minor, fractures your focus and extends your writing time.
Make it a habit to compile all the research you’ll need before you start writing. Whether you use traditional methods like note-taking or employ AI tools to gather information, having everything at your fingertips means you can write without unnecessary breaks.
If you are open to using software to streamline your writing, here are some resources I recommend:
- Sudowrite is an awesome app for fiction writers that can help you build a solid plot, write faster with autocomplete, suggest unique character names, etc.
- Content writers can leverage AI keyword research tools to create a content strategy based on topic clusters, competition analysis, and good keywords.
- Perplexity.ai is great for fact-checking and finding related studies or statistics to support your writing.
20. Track where your time goes
If you often find yourself wondering where the time went and why you managed to do so little in a whole workday, it might be wise to take a step back and review your work habits.
One way to do it is by using time-tracking tools like RescueTime that monitor your computer activity over time and offer insights into where your time is commonly lost.
Knowing where your time is going allows you to make conscious decisions about your writing habits. If you notice you’re spending too much time on non-essential activities, you can cut them out or at least timebox them and channel your energy into writing, which will inevitably make you faster.
What is a good writing speed?
A good writing speed varies depending on the task at hand and your skill level. For typing, a speed of around 40-60 words per minute (WPM) is considered average, while 100+ WPM is seen as fast.
In a professional setting, particularly for writers and content creators, aiming for at least 60-80 WPM is beneficial for keeping up with deadlines and workload.
When it comes to handwriting, a speed of about 20-30 words per minute is typical for many people. However, if you’re taking exams or need to jot down notes quickly, striving for a handwriting speed of 30-40 words per minute can be an asset.
Handwriting speed is often a bit slower than typing due to the physical nature of the task.
Which factors affect your writing speed?
Various factors can influence how quickly you write, impacting both the quality and quantity of your output. These factors can range from your mental state to your physical environment.
Here are several things that affect your writing speed the most:
- Skill level: Proficiency in typing or handwriting will always be the most important factor. The more you practice anything, the better you get at it.
- Mental state: Focus, alertness, and stress levels all influence how many words you manage to get out of your head in a given time.
- Writing tools: The quality of your keyboard, pens, device, and software you use can all affect how fast you write.
- Helper tools: Using text expanders or AI writing assistants can save you hours per week when you get the hang of it.
- Environment: Physical workspace and external distractions contribute a lot to your ability to get into the flow.
- Time management: The ability to allocate focused time for writing and identify your most efficient hours in a day are both game-changers for writer’s productivity.
- Task complexity: The complexity of the topic or assignment is also a factor that affects your writing speed. How well you know the subject is another thing that can either slow you down or write the whole thing in turbo mode.
How to physically write faster
Improving your handwriting speed is particularly useful for students who take handwritten exams or professionals who need to jot down information quickly.
Start by identifying a comfortable yet efficient grip on your writing tool, as an improper grip can slow you down or make your hand fatigued quickly.
From my experience, ball pens are a little faster than gel or fountain pens.
One of the best ways to physically write faster is through consistent practice. Consider doing speed writing exercises where you copy paragraphs from books or articles within a set time frame. Gradually increase the complexity and length of the text to challenge yourself.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and improving your writing speed will require some practice or getting used to the new tools.
I shared with you the hacks I myself use to be an efficient writer. Pick a handful of these tips that make the most sense to you and start implementing them today!