As a freelancer, the speed at which you can write directly affects the speed at which you can earn money. That means, technically, if you can write faster, you can probably earn more money. It’s not the only way a freelancer can earn money, of course, and the fact that it relies on you writing more isn’t always a plus.
But it’s not out of the question that you can improve the speed at which you write.
Prep Work Makes All the Difference
When you watch a busy chef put together dinners at a restaurant, you may notice that he or she turns out meal after meal quickly. If you watch closely, though, you may notice one of the secrets: a good chef rarely needs to stop and chop ingredients while actually cooking. A good chef will come in before the dinner rush ever begins and prep ingredients.
A good writer can speed up the time it takes to put together an article with a similar approach. By making sure the research process provides you with the specific ingredients you need, ready to go when you start writing, you can move a lot faster. Study your research process and see how you can tweak it: I found that just by asking sources to give me their bio information in a certain way, I could shave at least a few minutes of of trying to get into shape — and even more if I was dealing with a source who normally wouldn’t have even thought to give me bio information in a usable format.
Practice Always Helps
Just writing on a regular basis can help improve the speed at which you write. It’s not always a question of your typing getting faster, although practice does help with that. Instead, it’s more of a matter of becoming a better writer. You learn certain formats inside and out, you start recognizing certain mistakes before you even type them.
It’s slow progress, but every so often, most writers notice that you’re moving a little faster than you used to. It’s a good feeling and it may mean that it’s time to adjust your estimates of how long a particular project will take you.
Speed-Reading It’s Not
All that said, there’s no secret trick to make yourself suddenly start writing faster. Writing isn’t just a matter of typing — a skill that’s relatively easy to improve on — there is a thought process that goes into it, turning mere words into a cohesive whole. When you’re trying to write faster, you’re also trying to think faster — and sometimes you just have to invest the time.
There are a few ways that can make it easier to think through the constructive process of putting together an article. Mileage may very, though, depending on your writing style and the topics you’re working on. Reading is a good method — it makes you more familiar with approaches other writers have used, give you more options. Setting yourself writing challenges is another way to improve your ability to quickly come up with a written solution.
Interesting article. Preparation really is key. If you have six or seven articles to write on one topic, I find that it’s easiest to stick to those until you are done, rather than jump around between topics, so you’re in the mindset. I can whip out short articles in ten minutes, if I’m fairly familiar with the topic, but give me a new topic and it takes me an hour!
Arwen Taylor says
I agree that prep work is the key. I find that when I have enough info on a subject, I can churn articles out pretty quickly. Additionally, knowing the angle that I want to write helps a lot too.
Nita Wired Web Writer says
Hi Thursday – great article. I find that brainstorming future topics and then setting them aside is a useful approach. Then when you have chosen a topic from your earlier list to start writing, your mind should already be percolating (hopefully!) with some great stuff to write about.
Thanks for these writing tips. I think that the greatest challenge of any full-time freelance writer is how to cut down research time. When you’re writing for the web and information can give you more than a million search results, you need to use keywords wisely and yes – speed read. Checking the PR ( page ranking ) and social proof of your resource/reference is also crucial, specially when you’re doing technical writing. Overall, there’s no one formula that will work for all.