So what do you do when you’re pressed for time, swamped under works and you still need to get some stuff written, and written well? Your nerves are tightened up so well that you can’t sleep, but you can’t squeeze even a sentence out of your mind. I know the feeling so well, but what I did then was, just start writing fast without even thinking, then a professional article was born with the time shorter than usual. Heck, it might be even more professional than my previous articles!
The phenomena have nothing to do with the God I worship or any supernatural phenomenon, it’s just how the brain works: we write fast and professionally if we can just limit something, abandon certain habits, and put up some beneficial habits. That’s all, it’s really easy, and I’m going to explain them clearly in this article, so master them all and write like a ninja from today!
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1. Freestyle Writing
To be honest, I hate this method. I’m one of those annoying writers who edit as I write. It just works better for me. I’m able to form better sentences, find my flow and generally write better if I take my time with it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make for fast writing, and just because I hate freestyle writing, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work.
If you’re pressed for time and really want to get some writing done, open up a fresh Microsoft Word document, and start typing. Don’t worry about how it will sound, whether your sentences are grammatically correct or even if they make any sense. Don’t look at the clock. Get it all written.
Editing and cleaning up a copy in 10 minutes is more than enough for you to produce a quality article. So you see, there’s really no magic here, you just let your brain has more freedom, and it rewards you completed work. Fast and practical.
2. Set a Timer
I know a lot of people who don’t like setting a timer and writing till it goes off. However, I don’t know anyone for whom this hasn’t worked. So go ahead and try it. Set a timer for 10, 20 or 30 minutes, then sit in front of your computer and start writing. It’s okay if you can’t think of anything to write and you might be just staring at a blank screen. It’s totally fine.
Chances are that as your timer starts to run out, your brain will jump-start and your fingers will start flying on their own. Like what I wrote earlier, it doesn’t have to be pretty and it doesn’t have to make sense. It just needs to be written! You can pretty it up later.
Once you timer is off, step away from your computer – even if you’re on a roll. Leave your brain wanting for more. If the timer proved ineffective in jump-starting your writing then take a break and come back to it later.
Your timer doesn’t have to be a clock. You can write after you’ve put a few cookies to bake in the oven and use that as your timer. Stop when the oven dings and treat yourself a cookie. After all, you deserve it! My personal favorite timer is the train. I write every time I use the metro and have no choice but to stop and take a break when the train arrived at the station. And let me tell you, my fingers fly as the train is about to reach the station. Suddenly I have so much to say!
3. Turning Off Spell Checker
One thing that really bugs me is seeing a red-underlined error while writing in Microsoft Word. I mean can’t it tell that this is my first draft? That it doesn’t need to be perfect right now? That right now, at this very moment, it just needs to be written?
Well, apparently it can’t. So if you’re one of those writers who get bugged by the spell checker, you need to turn it off. For Microsoft Word 2010, you can simply click on the dark blue tab on the top left side of the software, then click on the Option > Proofing, and uncheck “Check spelling as you type“.
You can also uncheck any other option that will interrupt your writing process, such as “Mark grammar errors as you type”. You can check all these errors later by click on the Review > Spelling & Grammar Check, which the options exist on the top bar of the software. By doing this, you will find that your idea will flow more naturally and writing will be more comfortable.
4. Turning Off Backspace
Ever had one of those sentences which you typed, then you feel it’s bad, then you pressed backspace about a hundred times, just to delete it? Yeah, I had a similar experience. What’s worse is that after I’ve pressed the backspace key a hundred times, I realize that my original sentence was fine.
To avoid pressing the backspace key for unnecessary changes, you need to make a determination to not touch the backspace key and stick to it. If you make a mistake, whether it’s a spelling mistake or a grammatical mistake, just move on.
If you manage to not hit the backspace key while writing, chances are you’re going to end up with some word combinations which have the potential to be composed into epic phrases that you might use after all.
5. Do Research Before Writing
One of the fastest ways to write is to stop the urge to check on your facts or refer to information for accuracy. Before you sit down to write, make sure you’ve done all your research and are well versed in it. This way all you have to do is write without stopping. Everything is already there in your head – you just need to put it down in writing to make sense of it all.
Research before writing will also stop unnecessary actions like reading off-topic articles while you are writing. You might be even tempted to see certain Youtube video for “research” purpose and boom… another day well spent with nothing but procrastination completed. Surely we need inspiration from different kind of sources, but not for the time when you need to write fast.
6. Write Outline
This is absolutely my favorite tip for writing fast. Think about what you want to write, then outline it. If it’s an article, jot down the subheadings. If it’s a web copy, write down the points you want to cover. The process is pretty much the same for any writing you need to get done.
If you prefer, you can also write more detailed outline for easier writing later. Give some keywords to every topic or even paragraph in the article. Surprisingly this action will possibly spawn more ideas for you in the writing stage later. Most importantly, once you have the outline, writing will be a breeze and doesn’t take much time. Before you know it, the work is done!
7. Get a Writing Buddy
If nothing seems to be working, then teaming up with a writing buddy/partner is your best bet. A writing buddy holds you accountable, watches the clock for you and even writes with you.
If you have a lot of writing to do or have a big project that needs to get done, partnering up with a writing buddy is going to keep you motivated and on track with your deadline.
Your writing buddy doesn’t necessarily need to be your friend. They just need to check in with you to see if you’re doing what you have decided to do. Set a few ground rules before starting. What time will you check in with each other? How will you compare notes? Will you exchange each other’s work and provide feedback?
For me, the best writing buddy is one who has to do some writing of his/her own. This way, it’s a two-way thing and I’m not just getting help but I’m helping someone too.
What About Writing Professionally?
Your writing can’t be professional if it’s not written at first. Concentrate on getting it written first, then spend a few minutes revising, editing and generally prettying it up. You’ll notice that there are really not many differences between the speed writing and the common writing, as you’ve done the research, wrote the outline, and edited the article to make it professional. You just took another approach which costs you less time.
So get it written first, then make it professional. Use these tips and tricks regularly and you’ll find yourself doing lesser editing with time while enjoying more on writing great articles! Also, do let us know your personal favorite tricks for writing fast and professionally!