My friend, an auto-mechanic, shared a story about his co-worker who was assigned a difficult repair that should have taken twenty-two hours, but it took him much longer. The next time the same job came in, he volunteered for it, this time finishing it quicker. Soon, every one of these repairs went to him. Each time, he did it faster, not by cutting corners, but through increased efficiency and greater familiarity with the process. Eventually, he could complete this twenty-two hour repair in less than one day. Plus, he actually improved the quality of his work, making fewer errors and learning how to better deal with potential problems.
The same applies to writing. With practice, we can write better and faster. Here’s how:
- Embrace Repetition: The key is to write every day or at least with scheduled regularity. With repetition comes improved quality and increased speed. Ask a journalist; they know.
- Specialize: Just like this mechanic, who sought to do this one job every time he could, we do it by writing in one genre. At the very least, group like tasks together. For example, I often write two or three blog posts at one time or do book reviews back to back – and with better, faster results.
- Work Smart: Have all your writing tools and resources available. Know what to expect and be ready. Remove distractions. Set boundaries with others, both those physically present and those who can invade your writing world with a phone call, text, or email.
- Focus: When it’s time to write, do you just start writing or ease into it? Don’t check email first, login to social media, get sidetracked when doing research, or watch TV to get ideas flowing. Write first; do other things later.
- Reward Yourself: The mechanic was paid according to the time the job was supposed to take, not his actual time. More money was his reward. In the same way, each time we finish a job, we need to reward ourselves. Don’t push into the next project right away; that leads to burnout. Instead, celebrate each accomplishment or give yourself a small reward. That makes us more ready to jump into the next task.
What tips do you have to write better or faster?
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!