How many times have you stared at a blank page, deadline looming, and felt the trickles of sweat on your forehead? Or cringed at the thought of writing a thesis, term paper, business proposition, or status report? Or dreamt of writing a book, novel or screenplay, but pushed it as as "too difficult; it would take forever"?
Alright. Enough procrastinating. Let's cut through the waste and nail down the solution, right here, right now.
The reason you struggle with writing is simple: You think writing is an activity. But it's not. Typing is activity. Writing is a process. And the way to write ten times faster than you do right now is this: Find a systematic approach to that process.
My approach is the FAST System. It's got four simple steps:
Step 1: Focus your idea. All writing is communication, and the first thing to do is capture the essence of the idea you're trying to communicate. Brainstorm, map and plan your concept. See the overview. Give yourself a roadmap.
Step 2: Apply your plan. Once you've got your writing plan in place, get the words onto the page as fast as possible. And I mean lighting fast. Do not stop and re-read a word. You know where you're going thanks to the plan, now just get words on the page.
Step 3: Strengthen your words. If you've created your writing plan and then blasted the words onto the page, you're already halfway home. Now it's time to go through what you've written and strengthened it. How well have you expressed your idea? Mark up your writing. Some of it will have missed the mark completely; other sections will be pretty solid. Edit and adjust, and then repeat steps 1 and 2 if necessary.
Step 4: Tweak your writing. This is what most people do at the start. But that's what slows you down. Forget perfection at the start. Wait until you've created your plan, blasted words onto the page, and then strengthened those words until your idea is expressed clearly. Now tweak and polish your writing to make it a lightning fast read.
Ironically, the more you write fast, the faster you'll write.
Now, writing fast does not mean writing poorly. Quite the contrary. Writing fast means getting your words on the page as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you can talk, you can write – they're two sides to the same coin.
Both are communication. Think about it. If you know what you're saying, the words come easy. So Focus, Apply, Strengthen and Tweak. You will be writing ten times FASTer in no time.