The Big Benefits for Writing Fast

Yesterday, I shared a process you can use to outline your online articles.

One of the big reasons to do that is that it will help you write faster. And, learning to write fast — without editing as you go — is one of the greatest things you can learn as a writer.

When you switch off your internal editor and just write, you’ll tap into better writing, bigger ideas, and more inspirational moments.

Writing becomes what it should be — an almost magical process where you communicate ideas in a way that moves your reader and makes a real difference in his outlook on the topic.

Switching off your internal editor is difficult. Getting out of your own way so you can really write is a very important skill to learn.

Think for a moment about playing a sport … let’s say basketball. Imagine trying to make a lay-up using a running, internal editor like you do with writing. You’d find yourself pulling up in the middle of your drive toward the hoop because your dribble was too high or your angle of approach wasn’t perfect. You’d go back to where you started from and begin your drive again.

In a game that would be ridiculous! You’d never do it. You’d just keep going and try to make the shot as best you could, despite your mistakes. You need the same attitude when it comes to writing.

Write fast now. Plan to edit carefully later.

Shutting down your internal editor is something a lot of writers struggle with. Over the years, I’ve learned a few strategies that work well for me. And today, I’m going to share those with you.

  1. Build your muscle.

    Writing uninterrupted is similar to strengthening a muscle. If you practice, you’ll get better at it.

    Start small. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write without interrupting yourself until the timer goes off. Do that on every project for a week. Then next week, bump the time up to 15 minutes. Keep building up the amount of time you write without editing, and it will get easier and easier to do.

  2. Welcome the pauses.

    It’s usually when you have a break in your thoughts that you go back and start editing. It feels more productive than waiting for the next train of thought to develop. But editing will keep the next train of thought from arriving.

    Instead, just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Keep your eyes closed until your thoughts take shape and you’re ready to write again.

  3. Write blindly.

    If you’re having a really hard time stopping your internal editor from hijacking your writing flow, turn your monitor off and write blindly for 10 minutes. (This only works if you know how to touch type.)

    The first couple of times I tried this, I found it absolutely paralyzing. But once I came to terms with not being able to see what I was writing, it really worked. The internal editor switches off because you can’t see your work-in-progress to review. You remove the temptation.

Learning to write fast — and without editing as you go — will have the biggest impact on your productivity as anything else you’ll ever learn.

Today your assignment is to review the outline you created yesterday and to write — as fast as you can — a first draft of your online article. Aim for 600 to 1,000 words. Feel free to let me know how it’s going in the comments.

Then tune in tomorrow — I’m going to share my favorite editing techniques for making your writing effortless to read.

Check out more writing techniques that will make your content engaging and impactful to readers.

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

Learn how to become an in-demand online copywriter for companies big and small. Online copywriting expert Nick Usborne shows you how to write web copy that converts. Learn More »

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Published: October 8, 2014

9 Responses to “The Big Benefits for Writing Fast”

  1. Hi. What a great analogy to springboard my writing. .."basketball". I need all the help I can get. And While I know neither about the rules of where, how or when to even shoot the ball, Im afraid I don't really care for sports...And to think my son played "All American" in high school, football in college. Go figure!

    My comment is included with a question. I am student, taking courses in health IT..I m writing papers all the time. Is it possible I could submit one of my papers for your review?

    Guest (Barbara)

  2. The idea of welcoming the pauses hit me as the biggest writing "Ah ha!" moment I've had in a while. I see in myself the habit of avoiding that pause in creative flow by running back to reread and edit. I did this mostly without thinking, but, if pressed, I think I would have said that I was stuck, so I was going back to reread what I've done and get re-inspired. It makes much more real sense to realize that this habit actually gets in the way of the next thought. Thank you for this.

    Guest (Colette)

  3. Thank you Heather; I like the interaction, and the guidelines this assignment has. The information you are giving us is very simple top notch stuff. I like your presentation and am enjoying this platform.


  4. Hi Heather,

    My question regarding the assignment is, will we be submitting our final article to you for critique, or will be published for viewing if it has been polished correctly?

    I am really enjoying this assignment and would love the chance for it to be reviewed.

    Thank you All the Best Nancy Mindo

    Nancy Mindo

  5. Hi Nancy,

    If you have an article that would appeal to freelance web writers, I encourage you to submit it to me through the Wealthy Web Writer Contact page. I'd be happy to review it and publish it if its ready.

    Thank you!

    Guest (Heather)

  6. Thank you Heather I look forward to sending it your way once it is finished. Also I would like to ask, is there a limit to how long the article should be?
    My topic is Fitness ( something I am focusing a lot on during my companion series )

    Nancy Mindo

  7. A big "thanks!" for this series. I am B2B-focused, white papers, case studies, etc., but had not tried online articles yet. Interestingly, just last week a client prospect told me, at this point, they have more need for short articles and blog entries than a white paper ... You can imagine my surprise when I started reading your series about an assignment for online articles.

    My only problem: my freewriting was almost 1500 words! (See what fast writing did for me?) Thanks! Now, let's edit!

    Les Worley

  8. Even when I try to write fast... I am slow..

    Guest (Randy)

  9. Hi this is sanya this page is really helpful to me

    Guest (Sanya)

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