The idea of paying for typing classes is almost laughable to many freelance writers. If you’re a freelance writer, you know how to type! The more you practice, the faster your typing speed will get. Freelance writers should spend their time writing, not typing nonsense to increase speed. Your work gets done and you feel like you are typing at a fine pace. There has probably never been a time when you got frustrated and thought to yourself, “this would have been done two minutes ago if I were typing faster.” It just doesn’t happen. You get paid because of your ideas, not because you can type fast.
At least this is everything that was running through my head when the idea of typing class was first brought to my attention. However, the more I researched the subject and read testimonials of writers who have made speed a priority, the more I realized that this wasn’t such a crazy idea. In fact, being able to type fast has several benefits:
- To state the obvious: Your writing will get done in less time.
- You will find yourself more productive because your ideas can flow onto the page without the distraction of typos.
- You will not only be more productive, but more efficient. Writing means multi-tasking—typing and generating ideas and forming sentences. You are more efficient when you can focus on just one task.
Although we’re all writers here, I think this is best displayed by a little bit of math. Consider some of the numbers and equations below:
Are You An Average Typist?
According to Type Fast Now, the average adult types 36 – 45 words per minute (WPM). In general, one word is calculated as 5 characters or 5 keystrokes. You can also calculate speed by characters per minute (CPM), but most stick to words per minute because it generally averages to each word consisting of 5 characters (after all, who types an entire article with a bunch of short words or a bunch of long words?). Now let’s have a little bit of fun:
- Time when you have above average speed.
Since you’re a freelance writer, we’ll say that you are a little bit more advanced and type 50 words per minute. Therefore, if you were to write a 1,000 word article at 50 WPM without stopping, you would finish your article in about 20 minutes. Now let’s say you get paid 10 cents per word. This means that you will be making $300/hour.
- Time when you focus on improving your speed to the speed of many professionals.
Now what if you were to make an effort to improve your typing? Typing 80 WPM is considered very fast, yet this is somewhat common amongst those who make typing their profession. Many writers actually record typing over 120 WPM on sites such as 10fastfingers.com. However, let’s just say you improved your typing skills to 80 WPM. You could take that same 1,000 word article and, once again, type continuously without a break. In this case, you would be finished in 12.5 minutes. If you were getting paid 10 cents per word for this same 1,000-word piece, but you had a faster typing time, you will be making approximately $480/hour.
What about Errors and Research Time?
Now I don’t claim to be a math genius. You have probably noticed that there are a few factors not discussed in the above example. First, what if you type lots of WPM, but make a bunch of mistakes. Well, any WPM average number was derived by accounting for these mistakes. According to Data Entry Home Business, WPM researchers go through and count the number of mistakes made and subtract that from the total number of words typed. For example, if someone typed 45 WPM and made three mistakes, their total WPM average would be 43 WPM. It might sound harsh, but if you really think about it, typing quickly without accuracy is somewhat pointless!
These numbers also do not account for the time it takes someone to craft an article. After all, creativity and research take time. Therefore, finishing a 1,000-word article in 20 min and making $300/hour simply won’t happen. However, the numbers do give you a feel for the difference in time and money that occur. The numbers are mere representations.
How to Improve Your Typing Speed
If you find that increasing your typing speed would help improve your work, there are several different things you can do including taking typing classes, practicing on your own by copying paragraphs from novels, or buying typing software. You can visit Top Ten Reviews to help you decide which software is the best fit for your needs.
If you have no idea how many WPM you type and are wondering if you even need the help, visit CalculatorCat.com. I got 83 WPM, and according to the Guinness Book of World Records 2011, the fastest typist ever recorded was Michael Shestov who recorded over 200 WPM. What’s your time?
Photo Credit: fast-typing.jpg
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from freelance writing tips to starting a business. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including phone systems to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.
I think writers only need to be average typists. I can type about 60 wpm but in the average day I only put about 2,000 words on paper. Typing and writing are two completely different things!
I see your reasoning in the “Are You an Average Typist?” section, but in my experience things just don’t work that way. If you typed 80 wpm you could technically do more than 38,000 in an eight-hour day!
Amanada DiSilvestro says
I do agree that being a fast typist isn’t a necessity because you’re right–no one writes for 8 hours per day. If you’re just doing a little bit of writing, an average pace is probably fine. In fact I bet many people don’t even know whether they’re average or above average (I know I didn’t). 38,000 words in an 8 hour day would be insane!
I just think it’s fun to play around with the idea. Just one extra way to improve your craft. Thanks so much for reading!
I enjoyed reading the article! And I think you definitely need to be a competent typist. My “hunt and peck” husband would be screwed if he decided to become a writer. LOL
Amanada DiSilvestro says
Totally. Those one-finger typists would never make it. I think as long as you at least have the home-row keys typing down you’re doing pretty well.
Jan Michael says
The faster you can type, the faster you can complete all of these tasks—and the more productive you can be. Typing remains a fundamental skill, and it is still one of the most important computer skills you can learn. Learning to type fast and accurately will help you in many ways in life, and it should be considered an essential skill for anyone who sees themselves working with a computer in some capacity.