Writing Faster, Yet Better — Old Traditions

laptopExperienced writers have given the same advice for writing faster since well before I was born.  In fact, they’ve given it since before my great-grandparents were born.  Except that in my great-grandparents’ days, there was a lot of emphasis on handwriting speed.

With today’s internet resources, the basic “writing faster” advice — in the meaning of producing more text content — is being passed around at super speed, with the help of even younger, modern writers who’ve re-discovered it themselves.

Since the evolution of the “content is king” concept, everybody and his brother wants to know how to turn out as much written content as possible post-haste.  And they find it discouraging that those with both education and experience in writing keep telling them how hard it is.  How much time it takes even when you get comparatively fast at it.  How much planning is involved.  How much practice is involved.

But don’t be discouraged.  It is true that writing is hard work.  It is a skilled endeavor that requires practice.  It is also true that as you practice and as you start using the tips and techniques, you get faster.  You catch on to why the tips and techniques work.

Even better, you’ll find that along with the new publishing concepts of the Internet Age, as well as new digital techniques, you’ll expand your concept of what constitutes “writing.”

Before I get into that, let me recommend you learn the standard basics of speeding up writing while keeping your work up to good quality standards.

The Traditional Advice

Here are some articles you should read that cover the traditional advice for writing faster and better, but in modern terms:

1. How To Write Better and Faster  by CM Smith.  Traditional advice relearned by young writer.  Warm up, write an outline, let it sit and cook for a while, go back and write like a demon without thinking too hard about it, go back and edit and cut out the unnecessary words.  Now, I would have put a second session of let it sit and cook after writing like a demon.  But his way works, too.

2. 10 Tips for Writing Faster Without Quality Loss
Tara Hornor’s 10 suggestions include three of the top traditional tips:
a. Write at most productive time
b. Practice makes perfect
c. Take breaks and exercise to re-energize yourself in a long writing process.

3. 14 Tips for Writing Faster
Kivi Leroux Miller talks about what to do before you write, while writing and after writing.

She offers tips for each segment of her organized approach to make each part faster.  Most experienced fast writers will tell you this truth: having a plan, a system, an organized approach is the #1 speed secret in writing. She’s got that.

I particularly like her take on the admonition against writing and editing at the same time: she quotes Heminingway’s “write drunk, edit sober.”  Updated, that means write freely as fast as you can without overthinking what you’re saying.  You can edit when you’ve finished writing.

4. Write FAST and Furious! Learning to Outrun “The Spock Brain”.  Kristin Lamb has the best twist on the importance of writing fast now and editing later.  In fact, her motivating article focuses on that subject alone. After you read this article, you’ll probably want to explore her other ideas and advice.  Nice site.

New Documents, New Traditions

All of the traditional advice works.  And since we all have to write — for school, for work, for our blogs, for Kindle books, or whatever — we need to learn how to speed up our actual writing.

However, these days we also have to think not merely in terms of writing, but in terms of “content production.”  Writing per se is part of it.  But writers have to adapt to many different forms of communication and publishing.

There are articles, charticles and infographics. There are videos that need  written scripting, audio scripting and graphics scripting.  There is “content curation.”  There is rewriting of public domain and PLR content.  There are podcasts to script.  And lots more.

So being a fast writer today means not only writing faster, but being able to put all parts of the new kinds of documents together faster.

The good news is that along with the new forms of communication have come new ways of doing them faster and faster and better and better.

But that belongs in another article.

More Resources:

While researching for the series of articles that this article belongs in, I came across two “good old books” that might interest you.

One of the recurring themes in advice about writing faster is the idea that if you want to write faster, you need a grounding in just plain good writing first.

In Everyday English Writing, William Leavitt Stoddard addresses the bulk of non-professional writers who also have to be able to communicate for business, academic or personal reasons.  He wrote this book that could be used by people with only an elementary school education.  He shows you the reason that everyone should learn to write plain and simple English, and he shows how it’s done.  Very progressive for a book from 1919. Just click on the book’s title above to download a copy.

The next book I recommend you look through is Writing Through Reading, A Suggestive Method of Writing.  It’s by Robert M. Gay.  Get it by clicking on the book’s title above.   This book, published in 1921 is another fairly progressive idea for teaching writing.  You’re advised to read, then translate, rewrite, imitate the style or method of a work, or develop derivative works from what you’ve read.  So you learn from dealing with the good writing of others to be a better writer yourself.

Yeah, the writing of the era is a bit stilted, but the idea is sound.  Especially for those of us who want to produce content faster by extracting and/or rewriting public domain or PLR.

Spoof: Google’s Next Algorithm

I meant to post this before my last post. As you could see from that post, I’m leaving the subject of résumés and going to the subject of writing.  Usually I like to do something for a transition.  But, I hadn’t finished the artwork yet.

Considering how much chatter there is among webmasters, bloggers and internet marketers about Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms, I thought I’d add a bit of levity to the conversation.  I ran across a photo of a startled squirrel and thought “That’s just what I look like whenever I hear another update of Google’s algorithms is coming.”  So, I made a printable poster with an image of my own. You can download and print it for personal use if you like (or you can “pin” it if you wish. Remember to  give credit.)  Hope it makes you smile.  Just click on the image to get the 8 1/2 x 11 printable pdf.

squirrel algorithm

Double Your Income From Anything You Do

What if you could make twice as much money from what you already do for a living?

What if you could do that while you kept right on doing what you do, having the same income from your current job or business, with a little change in your daily routine?

What if the new stuff you had to do was easy to learn, easy to do and most of what you needed to do it was inexpensive or even free?

Would you like to know the secret? The secret is free. And many folks have discovered it or rediscovered it for centuries.

Here it is. Document what you do, how you do it and how you make money from it. Then sell that knowledge to others.

The way it works in the Internet age is this: When you work, keep a record of what you do. Write it down. Photograph it. Take screen shots of it. Videotape it. Then compile it into articles, ebooks, videos, multimedia courses, membership websites, and classes on providers like Udemy.

The list of what you can do with the material you compile is longer than what I just wrote above, but you get the idea.

You may be asking how that applies to what you do. My answer is that it applies to almost anything. If you have a job that you are paid to do, then there is a market for your knowledge about what you do. If you have a sport you play, a hobby you do, a business you run or an entertainment you love, you have valuable knowledge. You probably paid to get that knowledge or experience. (For example, if you pay softball, you have learned about playing techniques and about the equipment you use.) Share your knowledge and get paid for what you know.

Yes, of course, you must be able to use a computer and the software necessary to write. You may need to have a still camera and a video camera. But these days most people already have the consumer versions of those things and they are affordable.

If you don’t know how to use your computer well enough to do all the tasks you need to do, you can usually find a family member or friend who can do some of it for you. Or teach you how to do it. These days, your kids or nieces and nephews can do stuff with computers that would make your head spin. And you can get cheap help online at places like Fiverr.com.

What, you can’t write? You can talk can’t you? Get a tape recorder and just talk about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, where you learned to do it, what would make it easier to do, what’s funny about it, what kind of people you have to deal with while doing it, how to get along with co-workers in the same line of work, what are the most unusual experiences you’ve had while doing it.

Get the idea?

Later you can decides what format(s) you’re going to put it into in the long run. Later, you can learn how to distribute it and get money for it. Right now, just get started talking and writing about what you do, how you do it and what’s interesting about it.