By Ann Smarty
I have worked as a writer now for 7 years, though I was writing as a hobby long before that. In those years I have had to polish my craft again and again, becoming faster, more efficient and reliable. The ability to master those three elements of writing are the lifeblood of a freelancer’s career, because how much you work is half of what decides how much you make. Speed and productivity are your aces in the hole.
Of course there is more to it than that. But whenever I am working with a new writer just getting into the freelancing business for the first time, I tell them that they should be working on that above all until they establish regular clientele that will benefit from it.
For those who are looking to become a faster and more efficient writer, whatever the reason, here are six tips that genuinely helped me. They are so simple you will be shocked you didn’t figure it out yourself.
1. Plan Our Your Content
One of the biggest time savers is laying out the foundation of your content before you start writing. Just a quick brainstorm and it is like the article writes itself. For example, with this post I sat down and decided what I wanted to generally say in the intro, and then broke down the tips I truly believed would be helpful. Knowing where your work is going to go lets you keep yourself focused on the actual writing. Which boosts productivity a great deal.
2. Work On Your Typing Speed
I type over a hundred words a minute, and I have been doing so since I was in elementary school and taught myself on my school’s computers. You don’t have to reach those speeds (though it helps). Just work on increasing you typing speed as much as possible, at least to 60 words per minute. Anything below that and it will seriously impact the amount of time you spend on each article. By the same token, don’t try to rush yourself beyond what you are able to sustain. Having to go back and fix a dozen mistakes is worst than slowing down a bit.
3. Work Offline
It’s hard to brainstorm or get inspired when you are constantly glued to the computer screen (especially if you are using social media sites or like browsing pictures or watching images). Online life is cluttered and distracting. My best ideas come in the plane or train when I can’t use the Internet. Therefore before I go anywhere, I always make sure to print lots of stuff and have lots of pencils to cross, underline, and make notes. That’s my favorite time… I print a lot: Here are some great tips on saving on your printing and as well as some recycling and printing tools from cartridgeink.co.uk.
4. Stick To Well Known Topics
This isn’t always the case, and I am not saying never to take a new topic. But you should dedicate a decent portion of your workload to topics you know well, or plan to come to know well. Already having the facts at hand means all you have to do is quickly double check while you write. Which is so much easier and faster than giving a lot of time fact gathering. However…
5. Learn How To Research
Research is an important element to writing, and you are going to have to do it every once in awhile. This means you need to know a more efficient way of gathering information, checking sources and finding what you need. Sure, Google is going to be a primary tool. But however great it is for finding potential sources, it isn’t so good for verifying the truth behind those websites.
While plenty of people will give you tips they swear by, mine are pretty simple: try to find sources that verify one another, always remember where you got the info, link when needed and learn as you go. Oh, and take notes… they will probably come in handy later.
6. Take Breaks
It is going to seem counterintuitive, but you have to take breaks. Not only throughout the day, but for a couple of days at a time. Make sure you have a day or two off per week, where you don’t write anything more complicated than your name on a credit card receipt. It helps to clear your head and fight the inevitable burnout we all experience from time to time. Your brain can only dedicate itself to the same topics and the creation of sentences for so long before it petulantly refuses to work anymore. Once an hour get up, jump around, shake yourself out, get some coffee, or even go for a walk a few times a day. It will help you so much in the long run.
Have some tips for any writers out there that want to writer faster and more efficiently? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: writing, typing, writer, stenographer.