I once came across an article about Anthony Trollope who was easily one of the most prolific writers ever walking the Earth.
Over his lifetime, he wrote 47 novels, dozens of short stories and a few books on travel.
Not a significant number compared to other prolific writers like Barbara Cartland who churned out 700 books during her active years. But considering he only wrote for 3 hours per day, it was quite a substantial output.
Trollope held a full-time job as a post office inspector, which left him only a few hours to write each day. Nevertheless, he was able to squeeze out 10 pages of one novel volume during a 3-hour writing session, which added up to 3 novels of 3 volumes per year.
What was his secret of churning out content so fast?
A daily writing ritual.
Trollope paid his servant an extra $5 a year to wake him up at 5 every morning with a steamy cup of coffee.
With his coffee ready, he dived into writing for three hours before leaving for work at 8 am.
To make sure these 3 hours did not go to waste, Trollope also required himself to produce 250 words every quarter of an hour.
This rigid ritual made him one of the fastest writers of his time, so fast his critics did not take his work seriously. (Writers in the Victorian era were expected to wait for inspiration not follow a schedule).
So comes two important lessons about speed writing:
1. Create a daily writing habit
2. Set a goal of how much you will write each day.
Do these two things and you can amount to any of your writing output.
But most people are too lazy for this. They make all sorts of excuses to get away from hard work.
It surprises me how some writers expect to speed up their writing when they only hit the keyboard or paper once in a while.
So please do me, yourself and your readers a favor: get done with the excuses and start writing.
Make a habit of writing daily even if you’re in no mood for it. That’s how most speed writers get speedy and how you can become one.
Another tip for ramping up your writing speed:
Shut out the inner critic as you write.
Stop going back to fix your writing, which only slows you down. Instead, just let your thoughts out. Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always edit it later.