If you’re like most business writers, you enjoy writing. You probably don’t enjoy feeling rushed or under pressure to finish a project. The thought that you missed the opportunity to create a stellar project, just because you needed a few more hours to work on it, can be disheartening.
Writing faster at work is a huge advantage. Some people naturally write faster than others, but we can all take a few steps to improve. Here are a few strategies for writing faster:
- Create an outline: You may think that you don’t have the time to create an outline, but that’s often a big mistake. Take 5-10 minutes to outline each of the project’s sections and information. In the long run, this saves lots of time because you know exactly what you’re writing and what you’re leading up to.
- Cut down on the distractions: It’s almost impossible to write quickly while multi-tasking. Take the time to clear your desk of clutter, send a message to your colleagues that you want to focus on a project, close your browser and email notifications. This helps you concentrate and really dig into the task at hand.
- Set a timer for writing: Carve out a few blocks of time to focus solely on writing. Don’t spend any time editing or reviewing your work – just write until your time’s up. I like using the pomodoro technique of working for 25 minutes straight on one task, then taking a 5-minute break.
- Don’t rack your brain: When you get stuck, don’t spend time searching for the perfect word or sentence. Instead, note what is missing and come back to it later. For instance, add [insert transition sentence] or [insert title]. Write until the timer goes off, then return and fill in the blanks now that your brain is clearer. Not only does this method usually take less time, it also prevents writer’s block.
- Take a break before editing: The slowest way to write is to stare at the screen without direction or ideas for improvements. If you find yourself loosing momentum, take a short break. Once you’ve finished the project, take a longer break – ideally one full day – and edit it with fresh eyes.
How about you? Do you have any strategies for writing faster?