How I optimized my writing to be faster

Photo by Cash Macanaya on Unsplash

Two years ago, sitting down to write a blog post meant sitting at my computer for four hours on a Saturday morning. I would get restless, each of the 600–700 words felt like pulling teeth. I would get sweaty, drink too much caffeine, and it always set me up to have a terrible day after such excruciating work.

I can now write an 800 word blog post in less than 15 minutes, 20 if we’re including the time to find a good image and post. But how did we go from THAT to THIS?

Practice.

No writer wants to hear how practice makes them better, so I’ll tell you, it does make you faster. Deciding on a steady tone, a focus for your piece keeps the bumpers up on your writing. My writing would take forever because I was getting distracted, listening to podcasts, following every single stray thought into a new paragraph and then hating the result.

That’s not writing, that’s journaling.

I eventually began to see where I could bridge the two in a way that would be helpful to my readers, like right now. This blog post is an empathetic piece, meant to connect with you, the reader, who wants to write better. But you’ve got to start writing more, which means you need to write faster, which is why you’re here.

Looking for a coach to keep you accountable as you improve your writing? Hire me here or learn more about my work at my website here.

I used to think I had a disadvantage with writing because at a young age I memorized my keyboard outside of home row, and could never really kick the habit. What was really happening was my indecisiveness. I let each idea take precedent instead of “putting a pin in it” and following the true purpose of a piece.

I’ve also found that by writing more, and doing so faster, I want to write about the things I want to write about, pitch ideas for articles, and find humor in my daily writing so much easier than if I was setting aside all my “writing energy” for a listicle piece about fashion.

I have written about plenty of things that were not the most interesting to me, or inspired me, or I’d necessarily include in a pitch as a relevant byline. But each of those “fluff” pieces made me faster. By the end of my first month contributing to an online publication,I would write TWO articles in one weekend (wow, imagine).

And two years later, I can write TWO 800 word articles for my medium account in less than an hour, and schedule them for publication. It wasn’t a matter of finding the energy, it was about getting faster at writing by dedicating practice to it.

Most weeks, I have between 4–5 stories scheduled for publication at medium. There are no rules, just general guidelines I try to stick to. Inform my reader, help my reader, and something of self-indulgence with a topic about cults or tv shows or cats.

And then on weeks where I haven’t worked ahead, I still find myself sitting down at my laptop first thing to write a short blog post about an idea or burnout or a relevant topic that’s been top of my mind. This is a writing habit I have formed through practice.

If you want your writing to get faster, you need to optimize the experience by writing faster. Narrow your topic, stick to an outline, and publish it quickly.

Looking for a coach to keep you accountable as you improve your writing? Hire me here or learn more about my work at my website here.

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Liz Brinks

Hey, I’m Liz Brinks (they/them) I’m a queer gender-non-conforming writer, business coach & cat-parent (@itsjuustliz everywhere) based out of Wisconsin!