How I write so darned fast.

How do I write so fast?

I know I write fast. I’m not nearly as quick with my writing as Nathan Lowell (who will rack up 5,000-10,000 words per day), but I’m quick. How quick? Well, so far this year I’ve written over 71,000 words. That means I’ve averaged over 1400 words pre day, but I haven’t written every single day this year. On the days I have written I’ve averaged just shy of 2000 words. My best word count so far is just over 4000 words.

So Yes, I think I write fairly quickly, but to be honest, I don’t feel like I do. I know I could write a lot more words. I waste a lot of time. I surf the web, I watch TV, I read books. I also have a full-time job. I have a daughter with a busy social life. I have a wife. I spend time with my family. I do housework. I spend time with friends.

And I write.

Writing is a hobby. It’s something I love to do. I enjoy creating worlds, universes, characters to populate my made up places. I have a blast each and every time I sit and write. Even when the words are hard to put down, I’m enjoying what I’m doing. When the blank page stares back at me and dares me to flinch, sometimes I do, but I still want to show that blank page who’s boss and write anyway.

Yes, if I had more time during the day, I’d probably write more. In my past I have had days of 10,000+ words. I know I can do it. For now, I’ll take when I can get. There’s a lot happening with my life and I’m still enjoying that as well.

How to type quickly? First, I type very fast. If you’re not a fast typist, I recommend learned how to up your typing speed. Take an online course. Take a course at your local community college. Just sit and type a LOT when you do sit in front of a computer. Also make sure you know what type of keyboard helps you type faster. I type fastest on my mechanical keyboard. It’s the type I learned how to type on way back in high school and for many years as a programmer.

Yes, I can type fast on a laptop (or netbook) but I do prefer the big kcickty-klack keyboards best. So I invested in a very nice keyboard that I use for work (it’s programmable) and I use for writing (cuz it’s awesome). This helps with my typing speed so I can get the words out of my head as quickly as possible.

Next, I know what I’m going to write before I actually write it. I don’t mean I’m plotting every single scene and writing sample dialogue. I mean that I’ve already thought the scene out and I’m ready to make it become a reality. Yes, there are times I’ll be typing away and something will happen I didn’t expect (I love those moments) and I roll with the change and keep going to see what happens next. These times I just keep at it. It’s like my hands have dislocated from my brain and words just flow out like water. Hence the term ‘flow’. This is a great time to write as the words literally flow from my brain onto the page.

But how do I do this? How can I type words to a story when I’m not sure what’s happening?

I’ve turned off my internal editor. I’ve learned to trust in myself and just let the story happen. To-date I’ve completed 15 novels and I have partials for 7 others that I intend to finish between this year and next year. So I’ve had a little bit of practice with this writing stuff. So I know what I’m capable of writing, I’ve developed my own style, and I have a great time doing it.

This last one is difficult for a new writer. I understand that. I was a new writer once. I questioned every word I put down. I questioned my plot, my characters, my motivation. I questioned everything. I asked people to read what I’d written long before it was complete and I allowed their opinions to hinder my progress and I took years before I finished anything.

Then I started reading books on writing. I read ‘rules’ for how to write a good book. What it needed to contain. How to plot the story. Growth arcs. I read conflicting ‘rules’. I would read something I liked and then read a review about why that book I just liked was a terrible book.

Again, I allowed outside influence to taint my own work. Many times I stopped writing because I felt like I was a fake, a fraud, a fool, and just plain a bad writer.

But I learned to ignore the noise. I don’t let people read anything that isn’t finished. I don’t want input on what I’m writing. I honestly don’t. You want to be a beta reader? Email me. I’ll send you something that’s a first draft of mine. Yes, it’ll have typos and grammar errors maybe a plot hole or two. But that’s what editing is for. That’s what re-writes are for.

To write faster isn’t difficult. You need to learn to ignore the noise, ignore the rules, and just go for it. Have fun! Enjoy what you’re writing. I guarantee that a reader will enjoy a book more by a  person that had fun writing a bad novel than a person that hated their book and wrote some brilliant prose. Take a look at books like Twilight, 50 Shades of Gray, The Hunger Games. All these books get great reviews, and terrible reviews. Great reviews because people have fun reading them. Terrible reviews because the stories are, when you really look at them, just plain bad. The writing isn’t even that great. Yet, they sell a lot of books because people enjoy reading them and I’m willing to wager that the authors had a blast writing them as well.

So you want to write faster? Have more fun with your writing. Practice a lot! Write in more than one genre (maybe you’re trying to write a sci-fi when your heart belongs to mystery). Write some flash fiction, short fiction, write as much as you possibly can. Don’t edit as you go, just start typing and see where it leads you. Turn your brain off for an hour and just let the words flow out of your fingers. Don’t look back. Keep going forward. Look at these 1000 words I just typed. I had a blast typing them because I love to talk about writing. It took me less than 30 minutes to type.

Don’t let your brain get in the way of your writing. Trust yourself to write something enjoyable. When you get to ‘the end’ THEN turn your brain back on, read what you wrote, and fix what needs fixing. After, not during.

Speaking of writing, I should go make some words happen!

Until Next Time!


Posted on February 19, 2014, in Blog Post and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I have not even made it 1/2 way through this article. And I have to stop and comment. YOU DO HOUSE WORK? What the heck. You know you are ruining it for the rest of us guys right?

    Sorry I could not resist. Thank you for being a real man.

  2. This is great advice, for a new writers, and old writers alike. Have fun with writing, it is the best advice. If you are not having fun, what is the point.

  3. That is not to say that writing isn’t work. That is not to say that you should not work a little. Writing is work, and if you want to me taken seriously, you have to take it seriously, but when you are story telling you should be having fun at it. You should be enjoying getting the story down on the page. When I used to run GreatHites,. Philip Carroll and I had a conversation once. He said, I am story teller not a writer. At that point in time, the stories had to be written in less than a week. You didn’t have time to make them perfect. So it really was just story telling, that is what made it so much fun. There are some real gems in there, there are also some real stinkers, but that, as you said, is what editing is for.

    • And as a first draft, that’s what you should be doing; telling a story. It doesn’t matter if you get a name wrong or a comma out of place. That really is what editing is for.

      Speaking of which, I’ve had characters change names in the middle of a book before and I liked the change so much that in the EDIT phase, I swapped them completely. These things happens.

      and I’m also glad you’re bringing back GreatHites 🙂

  4. “Yes, I can type fast on a laptop (or netbook) but I do prefer the big kcickty-klack keyboards best.”

    I finished my first novel on my college PC that even then had an ancient keyboard on it I preferred with those clickety clackety fat keys. I love the sound it makes and I love the way those keys feel. Great post. Thanks for sharing Jay!

  1. Pingback: How I write so darned fast – Part 3 | J.R. Murdock

  2. Pingback: How I write so darned fast part 4 | J.R. Murdock

  3. Pingback: How I write do darned fast – Part 5 | J.R. Murdock

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