How to improve your writing speed

Since I started blogging and writing online over a decade ago, I've significantly improved the amount of writing I'm able to do while also increasing my work quality. On a good day, I can write 5-10k quality words with no issue. When I first started, I would struggle to write even 1k words.

As with working out, the only way you can get better at writing fast is by putting in the work. Whether you're looking to produce more content, or want to convey your ideas more often, these tips will help.

Outline first

One of the easiest ways to improve your writing speed is by making it a habit to always outline first. Having an outline does several things. One, it helps reduce the time you spend staring at a blank page. While writing block is real, an outline helps combat it pretty effectively. When you start with an outline, you at least have a foundation to go off of.

I typically like to start with a title and then have a few subtitles to work off of.

For example, I started writing this piece with the title "How to write faster," then added:

Outline first
Improve your typing
Capture your ideas
Use Grammarly

Once I've laid out the outline, it's surprisingly easy to get started. Additionally, if, for whatever reason, I'm unable to finish a piece, it's easy to pick things up where I left off.

In your outline, you can also add a few quotes or stats you want to include and build off that. There's no need to make things harder for yourself when writing, always start with an outline. Trust me.

Improve your typing speed

I'm blown away at how many people continue to slog along due to poor typing habits. You can only write fast if you master the basics. You don't have to write 150 words a minute, but you should always work to improve your typing speed, it really makes a difference. Going from 40-50 words per minute to 80+ can literally double your output purely from a typing perspective.

I really enjoy the fun Typing Speed Racer game where you can compete against others. Aim for at least a 20% improvement in your typing speed, especially if you don't consider yourself a fast typer. Make sure you're using your fingers as efficiently. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can invest in a color-coded keyboard cover to help you build better typing habits. Out of all the things on this list, improving your typing speed is probably the most important. Don't sleep on it.

Capture your ideas

Even if you only improve your typing speed and start with an outline, you' r likely going to see a huge improvement in how quickly you're able to write and produce content. But if you want to see even better results, having a place where you can consistently capture your ideas is also a must—some people like Pocket and Evernote. I use Roam, for example.

Find whatever system works for you. There is no such things as capturing too many ideas. During the outline phrase, you can go through your notes and bookmarks to search for inspiration and pull relevant quotes and stats.

Get in the habit of saving all your ideas, interesting reads, etc. the benefits compound over time. You may not have a lot of reference material when just starting but, after a few months of regularly saving what you're reading and learning, it can be a massive help in producing quality content with your specific point of view.

Use Grammarly

Another simple way to improve your writing speed is to use a tool such as Grammarly to catch the majority of the mistakes you make while writing. While not perfect, Grammarly and similar tools will get you close to perfect.

Instead of wasting time going back over everything you've written, put your writing into Grammarly and spend a few minutes approving or rejecting the suggestions. In my experience, Grammarly will catch most issues, and the ones it misses probably doesn't matter much.

If you write regularly and aren't using Grammarly, you're putting yourself at a serious disadvantage.

Don't worry about typos

Speaking of which, don't worry about typos! You don't want to have 50 mistakes in a 100-word piece of content, but at the end of the day, one typo won't be the end of the world. As long as you're able to communicate your ideas effectively, don't waste another second overthinking a simple mistake.

When I first started writing online, I would spend as much time looking over my writing than I did writing it! Which, as you can imagine, isn't a very effective use of my time. Ignore the "grammar Nazis" who point out every little mistake you make. Trust me.

Edit separately

Another writing hack is to edit your work separately. When you're in the writing phase, just write. Get your ideas out and then edit after. Editing and writing are two very different things, and going back and forth slows you down.

Once you've written everything you want to say, go back and do an edit. This is when you can put it through Grammarly and make any changes. A paragraph doesn't make much sense? Don't be afraid to delete it.

Over time you'll get much better at both editing and writing, but keeping the processes separate is incredibly important.

Use a distraction-free writing tool

Another thing that has made a massive difference for me is to use a distraction-free writing tool. We've all been there. We go to write something then end of browsing Reddit or Twitter a few minutes later. Write now, I'm writing in Ulysses, my favorite distraction-free writing app.

It won't be perfect, you're still going to get distracted every now and then, but it does make a difference. The more you can cut out distractions before you write, the better. In addition to using a distraction-free writing tool, feel free to turn off your internet, put your phone away, etc.

From start to finish, writing this piece took me less than 20 minutes. Not bad.

Give some of these suggestions a try. :)