How Can I Write More Quickly?

January 7, 2013 § 6 Comments

"Eat My Dust."  Public domain via

“Eat My Dust.” Public domain via

Yes, every writer I know or have heard of, has professional issues.  My own professional issue *used to be* that I wrote at a glacial pace.  This was kind of a secret, except, well–I guess it really wasn’t.  Everyone I worked with until seven days ago, knew that if it wasn’t in by the end of the first afternoon, it was going to be in some other afternoon.  Maybe in the next week, maybe in 2025, aged like fine wine, or maybe vinegar.

Thus it was that on January 1, 2013, I resolved to change.  At 12:31 AM I wrote a list, and did not allow the writing of this list, to stretch past 12:45 AM.  This week, I’ve thrown out some of the sillier methods and am trying the rest.  And I’m happy to say, I’m already writing more quickly.

Here are 70 suggestions from my list.  The other 30 were either repeatsies or unprintable.

  1. Don’t edit or fret.
  2. Get something or someone to push your hand.
  3. Set a quota for the day and don’t do anything else–even pee–until it’s done.
  4. Make someone else do it.
  5. Get a thought projector to beam your words directly into the computer.
  6. A picture is worth a thousand words, so sketch the piece before you write it.
  7. Even better, make it into a comic or infographic.
  8. Since headings stand for big chunks of words, write the piece in headings.
  9. Write the ending first.
  10. Break it into 50 word chunks and set a stopwatch for each chunk.
  11. Publish daily–that will move you to write fast.
  12. Get a nag to mercilessly bother and offend you, every hour until it’s done.
  13. Put on a song and write a paragraph (or page) which must end when the song is done.
  14. Sing the words to the song that’s on.
  15. Get a child to tell you your story.
  16. Gamify it.
  17. Tell your story to a young child in words of one syllable or less.
  18. Play it on an inner monitor and catch it with inner bit torrent.
  19. Have God dictate it to you–just transcribe.
  20. Cut and paste from other things which stand for your piece of writing.
  21. Lie.  Say it’s done, and that you wrote it yesterday.
  22. Throw it out.  Now–you’re done!
  23. Make it shorter.  If it’s a 5 minute film instead of a 90 minute film, how great is that?
  24. Make it long but make each section so pretty you want to be there longer.
  25. Make your own private Monopoly board, with directions on each space for what to do if you land on it.
  26. Reward each sentence with … some great little reward.
  27. Only eat a number of calories less than or equal to the amount you wrote the day before.
  28. Have someone clap and cheer you on at 11 AM when it starts to get tedious.
  29. Write the same sentence over and over until your thoughts naturally move on.
  30. Put your characters in a diorama and write their thought bubbles whenever you move them.
  31. Use both hands and both feet to type out more words at a time.
  32. Play it like music.
  33. Pretend you’re Jackson Pollack and spray it out orgasmically.
  34. Assign each paragraph to a room in your house, or stage of a walk, and travel as you write.
  35. Write about something more urgent.
  36. Such as a burning personal desire.
  37. Solve a world problem with today’s words.
  38. Prove yourself in a pitch session to your inner boss.
  39. Write it from the point of view of future past–it’s already written; what did you say?
  40. Just write the clear parts.
  41. Write exactly three pages at a sitting–and no more.
  42. Quit rewriting when writing.
  43. Serve it like a meal you’ve already cooked–to friends.  Light candles, serve wine, then speak it out and ask them to take notes.
  44. Physically put the amount of pages of your planned book, into a notebook; jot down notes as fast as you would read the finished book.
  45. Set a timer.
  46. Light a candle when you’re writing fast; blow it out when you notice yourself lagging.  Push yourself to have more and more candles lit by the end of an hour.
  47. Make it your living and demand a certain paycheck.
  48. Make a living ritual out of it, with prayers and sacrifices to the gods of writing.
  49. Don’t think–just make the pen move.
  50. Make writing an escape from something less pleasant.
  51. Write when extremely uncomfortable with a comfort added for each paragraph.
  52. Associate the mundane tasks of writing with whatever you find most fun, most daring, most splendid.
  53. Fill a tiny notebook before you go to bed each night, or first thing in the morning.  Don’t look at them or type them up until the following week.
  54. Do NaNoWriMo–put your next novel’s production into a social context.
  55. Structure a writing retreat for a week–away from all routine and habit.
  56. Physically assemble a group of productive writers who are working on well defined projects; alternate production exercises from each member of the group.
  57. Clean your writing of all excess–write the heart of it at each moment.
  58. Write lists instead of sentences or paragraphs.
  59. Get your mom to write it.
  60. Lose your temper, or fall in love, on the page.
  61. If it’s not something you want to be remembered for after your dead, don’t write it.
  62. Just write faster–look, you’re already doing it!
  63. Run from the monster you’ve trapped within–with words.
  64. Put on a metronome and rev it up to higher and higher tempi, while writing.
  65. Fast write in the middle of the night.
  66. Use personal shorthand–figure out the 30 words you use most often and abbreviate those words always.
  67. Fast write in the middle of the night, when all your defenses are down.
  68. Write for your family’s survival.
  69. Feel lighter and lighter while writing, as though each word is a stone you’re releasing.
  70. Promise yourself something great with every breath, even if it’s a lie.

Copyright 2013 by Jacqueline Austin.  All rights reserved.


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