These days, I write pretty darn fast.
The first draft of this 1,300 word post took 51 minutes because when I write I live and breathe the principles outlined here.
But it wasn’t always this way!
As a journalist, before I taught myself to write quickly I had such a hard time. Spending hours or even days more than I needed to on every article – self conscious, over-editing, always trying to make my language sound ‘more intelligent’ with clever words and long sentences.
Making it duller instead.
I remember my first ever published article was on the Philippine stock exchange. Those 800 words took me 63 painful hours – Aargh!
But then, over time, I learned the principles outlined here. And I got faster, and faster and faster. One particular exercise exploded my writing speed and confidence.
The awesome exercise you’re about to learn will allow you to blog faster.
Why write super-fast?
You know that feeling when a writer is talking directly to you – isn’t that just a wonderful sensation.
What they’re saying is just what you need to hear in that moment. You get lost in the conversation, you feel their warmth and care spilling out of the webpage, and before you know it you’re at the end of the post. Hungry for more.
I guarantee you most of the time when you read a post like that it was written fast – the first draft at least. Because it’s actually very tricky to write in a real, human, conversational voice when you write slowly. Very tricky indeed.
Plus, when you can knock out quality posts and articles quickly you save yourself a whole heap of your valuable time.
Alrighty. You can skip straight down to The Trick, but just before we get into it you should know the five fundamentals of fast writing (which The Trick will help drum deep into you very quickly);
The Six Fundamentals of Fast Writing
Follow these rules and you’re half way there…
#1 Write about what you know
When you know the topic well, you can talk for hours about it with a friend, can’t you?
You don’t need to refer to notes, or constantly stop and pause. You just go like the blazes and talk.
You’re excited – lost in the message you’re trying to communicate.
It’s the same with writing. Write about what you know well and you will write faster. I wrote this article quickly because I think about this stuff all day long and I love it.
But here you might say, ‘well, I’m not sure I’m a great expert. How can little old me claim to know enough to be the expert and teach others?’ If this is you, you need to;
#2 Trust in yourself
The self-belief comes After your fingers start hitting those keys. Not before.
When you sit down to write, all the ideas may not be ready in the front of your mind right from go. But trust that you’re passionate about the topic and you know a lot more than you realize.
It’s all in there, buried in your lovely creative brain. Waiting to burst out when you get into the flow.
Imagine if you could sit down and talk to you from 3 months ago.
You could teach younger you a great deal, couldn’t you? Well there are plenty of ‘you’s from 3 months ago’ out there – speak to them!
A nice idea is to write about something you’ve just discovered or were recently excited about, while it’s fresh and loud in your mind.
#3 Aim for good enough
“The lowest standard in the world is perfection. ‘Cos it doesn’t exist!” Tony Robbins (Click to Tweet!)
Imagine planning to speak the perfect sentence to your friend, right now. It’s a weird concept isn’t it! You wouldn’t be able to say anything at all… so why do we do it with our writing?!
Simply focus on getting your message across clearly. And that will do.
Just make sure you;
#4 Have something important to say
When you’re excited about what you’re about to tell or teach someone, the words just spill out.
When you’ve got nothing much to say, of course you’ll have trouble writing. So just stop and find something worth saying.
#5 Don’t edit ‘til the end
This is a tough one, and I’ve struggled with this my whole writing life. But when I manage it, it’s incredibly powerful.
Don’t read what you’re writing until the very end. When you stop and go back after every paragraph it breaks the flow of your thoughts, and it really makes you self-conscious.
In conversation with a friend, you don’t suddenly stop and go back over what you’ve talked about for the last 5 minutes, do you? Well it’s the same with writing.
(I’ll be honest, I reread this post once after finishing these 5 points, but that’s 700 words in and at a good break in the article – I think that’s ok. I’ll let myself off).
#6 Write EVERY DAY
Like anything in life, if you want to do it well, do it every single day. At least to practice if not to publish. Geff Goins wrote a wonderful little article on this.
When you write every day you relax, you lose self-consciousness, you grow in confidence and power of voice. Most importantly, you simply get tired of writing slowly! You want to write faster because your mind is working faster and you get eager to express everything quickly.
Even if you don’t publish it, start writing. Heck, keep a journal if it helps.
So, do these five guidelines sound a lot? Don’t worry. This technique will help you to smash through all of them.
I’ve adapted this technique from a method taught by the great writing-teacher Steve Manning, who teaches how to write good books seriously fast. And hundreds of people have used this to smash out novels very quickly.
All we need to do is one little blog post. So without further ado;
How to Train Yourself to Write Seriously Fast… And Well
Do this every day for a month, when you sit down to start writing;
Step One – Question Time
Take the major point of your blog post and turn it into a question.
For example; ‘One Trick to Make You Write Blog Posts 50% Faster’
Becomes; ‘What trick can make you write blog posts 50% faster?’
Our minds respond very powerfully to questions – when you ask a question they just fire off like a canon. Consider this. If I say to you; ‘talk about the chair you’re sitting on’ it’s a bit hard to know where to begin, isn’t it.
But if I ask you; ‘what kind of chair are you sitting on?’ or ‘what’s your chair like?’ An answer springs to mind. Our brains just work better and faster when triggered by a question.
Step Two – Three Magic Words
Just think about the answer to your question briefly – the start of it anyway. Think of three words which jump to mind in the answer. Three words that kind of represent the beginning of your blog post. Write these three words down.
For my example, I might write for this blog post; ‘conversation, faster, trick’
Don’t worry too much about them – they can’t be right or wrong. They’re just to help you kick off and get the juices flowing when you begin.
Step Three – Set a Timer
Get the timer on your phone, or I like to use: Egg Timer
Set it for 5 minutes. And then;
Step four – hit that timer. And write for five minutes, without stopping
You’re going to write for 5 minutes flat out. This means you must promise yourself you won’t stop until that timer beeps at 5 minutes.
Do not stop!! Even after 2 minutes when you feel you’ve said it all, don’t stop writing. Just write more! And more and more. Even if it’s nonsense, keep on going!
It’s essential that you just keep on writing, as quickly as possible. For the entire 5 minutes. Just go and go and go and go.
Ready? Ok, begin!
Most people will write 200 to 300, maybe even 400 words in 5 minutes without stopping. And you’ll likely be amazed at how good it actually is.
But don’t worry about the quality, not yet.
The technique is to train you to write faster overall, and to trust yourself to write fast without editing.
Step Five – Repeat for 30 Days
Repeat this exercise every day for 30 days. The best time is just before you’re going to write for your blog. But even if you have nothing to write that day, pick a topic you like, set that timer.
And blast that keyboard. I wanna see smoke rising!
How to make it fun
If you are worried about doing it, then just do it for fun, for play.
Tell yourself ‘it’s ok, I’ll do this silly exercise, then delete it and start writing the post properly.’
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what this silly little exercise produces!
And one thing is for sure, your general average writing speed and confidence will skyrocket.
When you give this a go, please comment and share your experience.
I’d love to hear about it!
Oh – and share this post with all your awesome followers right away!