May 26, 2012

How to Write Fast - Karen Toews

Recently a "foodie" business acquaintance, Susan, kindly commented to me about my blog: "I really enjoy reading it, it's well written, as compared to a lot of blogs out there that I can't say the same for..."

"Hey, thanks" I replied, "I always appreciate hearing that - but I'm just so slow, it takes me forever to write it to the standard I want it to be."

Can anybody out there relate?

A few days later a message from an online business powerhouse, Marie Forleo, was waiting in my inbox. The topic of the free video? How To Write Faster - now how timely was that?!

Multi-tasking - kitchen clean-up and viewing the short video - I jotted down the following notes, not in a particular order and it's possible I missed some points when my hands were in the sink. I think I've correctly covered the basic thoughts; the italics are my personal notes.

A. Begin with the end in mind - what is the key point I wish to get across?
No more jumping in and seeing what I end up with.

B. Keep a topic list - written down. It's that universal tip of having a notepad and pen always available to remember those inspirational ideas. Include on that list other writing prompts, i.e. the questions that people/blog commenters ask.
Make one master list where all these idea bits and pieces reside in an easily accessible location.

C. Make it short and sweet. Focus on one specific tip.
I don't have to explain everything I know about something in one blog.

D. Plan it out. Make an editorial calendar that outlines your next writing week, month, 3-months: a plan so you know what you're going to do when you open the screen.
Don't worry, there will still be room for spontaneity amidst this structure.

E. Don't write and edit at the same time. Get it down and fix it later.
 Have I ever done it?!! Big learning curve here.

F. Flip the internal switch. From "I am so slow and this is going to take forever" to "I can do this well and in a timely fashion."
Self-talk with the same language I use to encourage those I love....

G. I am the vessel, not the source. To paraphrase Marie: as writers we show up at the page and whether we call it the muse, the spark, the inner flow, or Divine inspiration - the words will come and are often "beyond" ourselves.
Commit to the work, trust in the Spirit, believe in myself. God, you know my desire to share a wholehearted, meaningful message.

H. The amount of time you allow is the time it'll take.
I take that to be a "specific" not a "however long".

Of course there are factors like: what it is I'm writing, e.g. a book, a blog, a memo, or a newsletter - and the parameters of the literary expectations.  However, I'm here to say that my current writing exercise is learning how to apply these tips.

My allotted time is up and I am done.


  1. Thank you Karen for the valuable tips you shared on writing faster. I needed that and I'd like to share it with those in my writers' group if you don't mind.

  2. Karen,
    You have some excellent ideas. One that I have found that works is, Just Do It.
    I love a, c and g. Going to write those down and post them at my desk.
    I write for 5 minutes on Fridays - that has been the best exercise in getting me to write.
    Great post.

  3. Please feel free to share this - in hopes something will "click" with another writer.


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