Tips & Tricks

Increase Counts Like A Champ

Why do writers feel like it’s a competition when it comes to how many words they write in a day, a session, an hour, and every other measurable standard? Perhaps it’s because we feel like we’re standing still while others are accomplishing their dreams. Maybe that’s not your reason.

I see it every day in FB groups, and shortly after the back and forth begins someone asks “how do you type so fast/so much?”

The last time I took a typing test, I did somewhere in the 90s per minute. That was trying. On an average, relaxed state, I type in the 70s consistently. Is that the fastest? No. I have friends who type over 120 words per minute, and their keyboards look it with the faded lettering and that one key that sticks from repeated use—it’s the E key if you were wondering.

So? Are you ready for the secrets to making you a better writer and upping your word counts?

  1. It may seem like sitting in your favorite chair, typing away on the laptop/phone/tablet is the best way to write, but just like that container of cookies is great for a snack but lousy for a meal, comfort doesn’t necessarily mean great for the body. It’s important that where you type is designed more for endurance than the occasional splurge. Having good posture with the correct joint and spine placement can eliminate and prevent issues later on. When your body doesn’t hurt, it’s a lot easier to relax and enjoy what you’re doing.
  2. Know what you want to write about. Get the research out of the way first. What points are common in the genre you’re writing? Maybe you need to plot a little or maybe you need the entire story arc laid out … maybe you just need to know what the scene is about. Is your character a baker? A doctor? A con man in the trade of forged paintings? If you know where the story is going or things for the character or plot, you can write more without stopping. You don’t have to be in front of the computer to work on these things either. Use the note app on your phone, send yourself a FB message, or use the old fashion pen and paper to keep track of your ideas during your day. All those minor pieces are part of “knowing” what you want to write and where your story is going.
  3. Be willing to [] or tk what you don’t know. Maybe you need more info or you don’t know what you need to get from A to B. When that happens you can [leave clues in brackets] or use letter combos like tk that aren’t found in your native language so you can Find and Replace your way through during your revision process.
  4. Turn off spell checker and auto correct. If the squiggly lines are distracting you while you’re hammering out a first draft, turn them off. The first draft isn’t perfect; it’s about you telling yourself the story. On your subsequent read throughs, you can correct spelling, flesh out meanings, and all those pesky grammar and punctuation issues.
  5. Write every day. Simple enough, if you do something every day, you’ll naturally get faster. Your brain is a muscle, no different from your bicep or calf muscles. When you do something often enough, in this case write, your brain generates pieces of thought, character actions, and the world your story takes place. Since your brain begins to autopilot some things, you naturally are faster. This also goes back to the “know what you want to write.”
  6. Find typing games that you enjoy doing. When your fingers know where the keys are without looking, your brain can work on putting long, complex sentences together, and your fingers can keep up.

Some of these are common sense. Some of these might feel embarrassing to do. But having the right tools for the right moment comes down to the basics of typing and understanding the story you want to write.

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This post was edited with ProWritingAid.

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