7 steps to accelerating your writing

How many words can you pump out in an hour? No idea? You’re not alone. The larger point is that bad habits might be slowing you down. Here’s how to break them and pick up the pace.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Ask a bunch of journalists or professional writers how many words they can produce in an hour, and you’ll get a dog pile of half-answers and creative guesses.

I know, because I did that recently.

I surveyed more than a dozen friends—all of whom I know to be reasonably fast writers—and none of them could answer my question with any certainty. Their responses ranged from 200 words (Peter, I know you’re way faster than this) to 1,500.

Most of them observed that editing or revising takes much more time than writing—a sentiment I echo heartily. A few had amusing comments. One said: “Give me an hour until deadline and then the answer is ‘as many as you need.'” Said another, now retired: “I wrote the articles in my head before typing them. It saved on white-out.”

A third said: “I—or anyone—can write crap as fast as I can type…” (I don’t think she realizes how many people struggle with producing a crappy first draft, for all the reasons I outline here.)

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.