5 Ways to Get More Writing Done in Less Time

Photo of a young woman wearing a smartwatch using a laptop computer; it looks like she is at an outdoor cafe, and there is a coffee cup on the table too.
Nothing slows business writing down more than not knowing what you want to say before you start. (Photo: ammentorp)

Not everyone can just sit down in front of a keyboard and launch into polished business writing that pours onto the screen. Sometimes it’s not what we want to do anyway.

Generally, however, there are deadlines. If you do need to pick up the pace, what’s the secret?

How to Get More Writing Done in Less Time

There’s no secret, actually. It’s more common sense and practice. Nothing slows business writing down more than not knowing what you want to say before you start.

So refine what you want to write about beforehand. For some, this is simply a mental process. Others elect to outline, which helps them identify information gaps that need to be plugged before starting.

5 More Tips for Picking Up the Pace

  1. Focus. This has nothing to do with being “Zen.” Just choose a writing topic that’s not so overly wide that it requires you to stop and think about “what if” when you want to be nailing “what is.”
  2. Write when you are most productive. You should already know the different times of the day (or night) when you can produce the optimal mix of quality and quantity. What does it matter when the muse comes to visit and you know to expect her? My wife, Julie, has been burning the midnight oil lately working on her master’s thesis. She’s figured out that 3 a.m. is her optimal time for writing. Whatever works, right?
  3. Just write. Forget about spell-checking, grammatical errors, or how sentences flow. Just get the words down. Write nonstop until you’ve covered all your major ideas. Resist the urge to stop and read what you’re writing—it’s slowing you down. Many writers will tell you that the magic lies in the editing/rewriting stage.
  4. Be prepared. If you’ve completed all the research and have an outline (which can be a mental one), you should know what you want to say and you should be able to write that out quickly. If you’re finding that the words just don’t come, it could be your mind’s way of suggesting that you’re not quite ready to write. Of course, you can still choose to write—just be prepared to sacrifice speed.
  5. Practice. Commit to the process of writing. Your biggest obstacle may be that you haven’t conditioned yourself to be a writer. A person doesn’t just decide to run a marathon and then do it the next day.

Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I'm Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than two decades of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes after Hurricane Katrina. Today, I have put together a hand-picked team of copy editors, and we especially love working with ad agencies, marketing departments, and education companies to make their text as polished as possible. Learn more here.

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