Read faster, write more

Let me start with a disclaimer: I’m not boasting, just hoping to show you how you can be as fast a writer as I am, too, if writing more content more quickly would be useful to you in your role as a creator or a creative professional.

So at the moment I’m writing about 6 to 9 articles a day at work. That’s about one an hour, including time spent researching the topic. To give you some perspective, I won’t tell you what my colleagues are averaging, but rest assured that I am fast.

How do I do it? What’s my secret? It’s simple, and you can do it, too.

I’m about to share with you one of my biggest secrets.

I read super fast.

Scarily fast.

So fast The Flash shivers when he hears me open a comic book, because he’s afraid he won’t be able to tell the story fast enough.

The Flash Comic #2: The Fastest Man Alive. This is the new cover variant. Image source: Comic Mega Store

The Flash Comic #2: The Fastest Man Alive. This is the new cover variant. Image source: Comic Mega Store

How can I be so consistently productive and still write with some creativity about, well, vacuum cleaners and dishwashing detergent?

Reading speed and typing speed. Quick eyes, quick fingers.

You can become faster, too.

Practise doing typing speeds online. When you’re typing while doing your own writing, focus half on typing faster and half on what you’re actually typing.

My fifth grade teacher was very kind to me and let me “win” our class typing test a few times, even though he’d finished first, because I hadn’t yet learnt to touch type. Touch typing is magic. If you can’t touch type, how do you get your thoughts out onto the page fast enough to keep up with your head? I know I can’t. I used to get a hand spasm every time I did an exam in law school because we had to hand-write so much content and analysis in such a short time frame.

Practise reading more. I’m not going to tell you to try skim-reading, because too many people would shout me down about how it doesn’t work, it decreases your attention capacity, blah blah blah. That’s not the point anyway, because you still need to take in all the content you need.

The only way to read faster and still “get it”, I’ve found, is just to read more and more often. Think about how kids learn to read – they practise reading lots of different books until they can read faster and get through longer books with bigger words. Try being a kid again – you know you want to.

It probably doesn’t matter whether you’re reading in print or online. Studies from the York NHS Trust show that children with autism learn to read faster when using learn-to-read computer programs than when reading paper books with a teacher aide (Williams et al, 2002). Reading uses some of the left hemisphere and temporal lobe of your brain (check it out here or here). So you can also cross-train the reading-related areas of your brain using the repetition exercises in the Fast ForWord program (free demo version).

Proofread when you finish writing! With writing faster comes more typos. I know – a couple of my loyal readers always let me know when I let one slip in a post here. (Thanks you guys – much appreciated!)

Try reading and writing more and faster this week, and let me know how you go!

Yours truly tapping away at this post

Yours truly tapping away at this post

This post was written by TJ Withers-Ryan © 2015. Re-blogging is always highly encouraged as long as you credit me as the author.

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