Saturday, March 5, 2011

10 tips for becoming a faster writer

  1. Don't worry about the first draft: The first draft of almost any writing project, whether an article or story or blog post or book or whatever, is not going to be very good. Don't worry about that while you are writing it. If you worry about it, you'll keep trying to correct yourself by editing and reworking. Don't do that. Get that first draft done. You can always go back and edit to your heart's content afterwards.
  2. Learn the basics: Grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. This might seem overly simplistic, but it's not. If you know these basics well, you will be able to incorporate them into your writing without even thinking about them. The better you know these basics, the less editing you will have to do.
  3. Shorthand: If you write in longhand, meaning on paper with pen or pencil, consider taking a class or studying a program about shorthand. Most shorthand writing styles will teach you various symbols that can take the place of some words. Something as simple as using an ampersand while writing in longhand can help to save a little time writing. Of course this means your typed drafts will take longer to input.
  4. Software: There are a few computer programs that can help you write faster by allowing you to replace certain words with shorthand of your own creating. One such piece of software is Texter. Think of it as shorthand writing for computers, which is what it is.
  5. More software: What about instead of using a pen, pencil or keyboard to do your writing, you could just speak and your words would appear on paper or on a screen. Well, actually, that can be done, at least the onscreen part. Consider using speech recognition software, such as Dragon, for your writing. Basically, you speak, and the words appear on the screen.
  6. Outlining: Outlining isn't for everyone, but if you are a writer who sometimes finds yourself becoming lost while writing, you might consider outlining your projects before you begin writing them. An outline not only can help keep you focused, but it can help you save time with that focus.
  7. When you write, write: This is easier said than done, but try to gather all your research or whatever other material you need for a project before you sit down to actually write. If you have all your material together and organized, you won't have to go looking for it or sifting through it while trying to write.
  8. Avoid the time sucks: What is a time suck? It could the the telephone. Or the TV. Or the Internet. Stay away from them. You'll never get anything done if you're constantly distracted.
  9. Write through it: Writer's block is a common enough malady for many writers, but don't let that deter you. If you're a writer of any experience at all, if you are truthful with yourself then you will know when you are facing a block. You might even see it coming. Sometimes a writing block is there because the writer doesn't know what to do next, where to go, on a particular project. Fight through this. It's easier said than done, but just keep writing. Eventually you'll work your way through this type of block, and even if much of what you wrote isn't very good, you can always edit later.
  10. Don't read what you are writing: Yes, you read that correctly. While you are actually writing, do not read what you have written. Do not look back on paragraphs or at the beginning or your project. Just don't look back. Keep writing. You'll do your rewriting and editing later.

More writing links
There's nothing wrong with writing for money

Writing for a Living, a blog for online writers
E-book indie author's blog

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