How to Write Faster (Tips and Strategies)

How to Write Faster

There are two things that don’t like about writing.

  1. Getting stuck
  2. How long it takes to write a book

Before I started ghostwriting, I was a haphazard writer. Sometimes I was in a flow, writing a lot, and other times, I’d go weeks, even months, without writing.

But as a ghostwriter, I’m producing a 70,000 to 80,000 word book a month for my client. To do that, I had to learn to write fast.

Now I’m not saying that you should write a book a month. But if you feel the writing process is going too slow, here are my tips for how to write faster.

Determine Your Goals

To get anywhere, it helps to know your destination. In my client’s case, that goal is a book a month. Goals for my own work, admittedly, have been haphazard, but with Q3 around the corner, I’m re-looking at my publishing goals for the rest of the year.

When it comes to goals, they can be whatever you want. Write a book in 12 months. Write a book in 6 weeks. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is knowing what you want and an idea of when you want it.

What Does it Take to Reach Your Goal?

Once you know where you’re heading, you need to decide how to get there. To write an 80,000-word book in 30 days, I need to write 2,700 or so words a day. If I want weekends off, I need to average 3,700 a day.

To write an 80,000 word book in six months requires writing 13,333 words a month. If you write just on weekends, that’s 1,667 words a day over 8 weekend days a month. Or you can write 445 every day. So, in less than four hours over a weekend, or 20 minutes daily, you can write an 80,000 word book in six months.

The final question is: Is this pace is doable? If not, you need to adjust.

Anticipate What Will Slow You Down

What’s that saying about best laid plans? We all know that while we can set goals and plot out a strategy, life can get in the way. Anticipating potential roadblocks that will slow you down can help you overcome them. Here are common situations that obstruct writing and potential solutions you have on standby to help you through.

Problem Solution
Difficulty getting situated to write Designate a writing area that is always ready
Slow computer ·  Tune up computer to clean out digital gunk and speed up processes, or

·  Invest in a new computer

Stress ·  Eat right and get adequate sleep

·  Get into “writing” mode through meditation or other calming activity

Distractions ·  Turn off computer and phone notifications

·  Turn off social media

·  Don’t check email

·  Shut the door to your writing space

·  Let others around you know you’re writing and ask not to be disturbed

·  Use focus apps

Lack of Time ·  Set a schedule for writing

·  Set limits to Netflix, YouTube, Social Media, etc.

·  Delegate household tasks to others

·  Outsource or use services to save time (EG meal box for dinner)

Writer’s Block ·  Plot or plan what you’ll write before you sit to write

·  Brainstorm ideas with writer group, AI, or do an activity that allows your book to percolate ideas (e.g. walking)

·  Write what you know, even if it’s out of order (E.G. write the black moment even if you’re in the middle of Act 2.)

·  Read some of what you’ve already written to get ideas on where to go next in the story

·  Write about why you’re stuck. Sometimes, writing what’s blocked will guide you toward answers (E.G. I don’t know whether Alice should go left or right. If she goes left, then this will happen. But if she goes right, this could happen. Actually, if she goes right, she’ll run into Alister, which will solve X problem).

·  Ask AI to start you off. Sometimes it’s easier to edit than generate words out of thin air. Ask AI to write the first paragraph and then revise it as a jumpstart to your creative flow.

Procrastination ·  Review above issues that could be the reason for procrastination.

·  Stick to writing schedule

·  Set a deadline

·  Change something (E.G. your writing environment)


Develop a Plan

Developing a plan to write can help avoid some of the anticipated issues that might pop up (above). This plan should include your goal and how you’ve determined to reach it (e.g. write 1,000 5 days a week). But it should also include:

  1. Days and times you’ll write. It’s easiest to have a set schedule, such as 6 AM each morning, or 10 PM each night. If you can’t have a regular writing time, pull out your calendar and schedule when you’ll write week by week. For example, week 1: Monday: 6 AM, Tuesday: Lunch, Wednesday: 6 AM, Thursday: 9 PM, Friday: 6 AM.
  2. Where you’re going to write. Having a designated writing spot saves time in getting set up, makes transitioning to writing faster, and lets others know you’re busy. If you have to move around, for example, writing on your lunch break, set up in advance where your writing will occur. Will you go to a cafe? The library? The park?
  3. Know as much as you can about your book or what you’re going to write. This can include plotting, but if you’re a pantster, having an overall summary of your book and then deciding what you’re going to write BEFORE you sit to write, will make the writing process go faster.

Write Regularly

First, writing regularly is the best way to consistently make progress. Remember, 1,000 words a day is 30,000 words a month. But writing regularly has other benefits.

Speed: The more often you type, the faster you get.

Retain the Story: One of the reasons that I don’t get stuck when ghost writing is that the story never leaves me. Because I write so much so quickly, the story lives in me even when I’m not writing. It percolates, deepens, and evolves as I drive, walk, clean house, dream, etc. When I sit down to write, it’s all there at the surface, waiting to get written.

The longer you go without writing, the more time you need to take to review your writing and get back into the emotions of it. That slows down the writing process.

I write almost daily. I know for many that’s not doable. But if you can avoid letting more than two days go by without writing, you’ll make steady progress, but also, when you sit to write, you’ll have easy access to the story.

Visualize the Scene You’re Writing

It’s much easier to write when you know what words you want to use. It’s one thing to know you plan to write the inciting event. It’s another to take a moment to use your imagination to “view” it play out. Through visualization, you can choreograph movement, “hear” dialogue, “see” the setting, and tap into the emotion of the scene. Now you just have to write what you’ve already seen, heard, and felt.

 Writing Sprints

A writer sprint is a timed writing session with the goal of cranking out as many words as possible without stopping. Sprints can be 5 minutes or 30 minutes.

There are many options for writer sprints. You can join a local Shut Up and Write. Some authors host sprints through Zoom. You can create a sprint that you do on your own or invite your writer friends.

Only Write

Writer sprints are great because you’re not allowed to edit or read what you’ve written. Stopping to revise or read can be a form of procrastination. So when you sit to write, that’s all you should do…write.

Turn off Editing Tools: One tip to avoid editing while writing is to turn off your grammar/spell check while you’re writing and turn it back on when you’re revising.

Take Note: Along with focusing only on writing, find tricks to keep you typing when you want to stop. For example, sometimes I’m writing, and I have a thought that I might be using the wrong name or be off on the timeline. I quickly use the Comment feature in Word to jot down a note to check this, and then keep writing. What I don’t do is stop and sift through the manuscript to find the name or timeline.

Use Placeholders: I use placeholders if I come to a section that I need to research or expand upon, but don’t know what I want to say yet. You can use the Comment feature, enter the note in brackets or parenthesis in the text, highlight, use the traditional writer placeholder “TK”, or anything else that will stand out during revision.


Most of the suggestions here will help you develop a routine, clarity about your story, and focus on writing, all of which can help you get your book written at a steady pace. But for significantly upping your word counts quickly, nothing beats dictation. The best news is that today, dictation is available easily and affordably. It’s integrated into many programs such as Word and Google Docs. There are phone apps where you can dictate.

When I type, I average about 1700 words per hour if I’m in a decent flow. Let’s contrast that with dictation in which I can produce 4,000 words, sometimes more, in that same hour. That’s including revision.

Part of the reason I can write 80,000 words per month is that I’m not typing all the time. If I only typed, I’d spend 50+ hours writing each month. Using dictation, I spend just over 20 hours.

I know many find dictation awkward. I did too. But once you get the hang of it, it has many benefits beyond getting your book done faster. For more information on dictation tools and how to use it to write up to 5,000 words per hour, check out this post on dictation here at Write with Harte.


Writing a book can be a frustrating activity partly because it takes so long. Hopefully, some of the above tips and strategies will assist you in writing faster to get your book done sooner.

Do you have other ideas to pick up the pace in writing? Please let me know in the comments below.


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