Tuesday, 4 March 2014

How to Write 1,000 Words Quickly

There has been a lot of interest in a short post a wrote last week called "How to Write 1,000 Words". This was a time-lapsed video of a writer creating a 1,000-word blog post.

So I thought I'd expand on this because I often receive comments about how much I write, I how much I do in a day and how I do it all.

But it's really not that hard. I mean, yes I'm busy, but I'm enjoying it so it doesn't always feel like work.

And I think it all comes down to mindset, or to put it another way, knowing how much you're capable of doing in a day so that you don't overwhelm yourself or your daily 'to do' list.

Now I'm a pretty consistent writer. I write every day, and usually only week days unless I have a pressing deadline.

But I don't write all day. I work for a few hours a day and then stop.

I'm not one of those hype-merchants who brags on and on about how much money I earn for doing very little. Instead I'm a bit of a plodder. I work, I write, I earn money, I repeat it all.

I have a great work-life balance and I love it. And yes, I could work more and earn more, but I enjoy my life just how it is.

So now to get down to writing quickly, which is really what you're probably doing already but you just don't know it.

Years ago I did a short writing course which only lasted a few weeks. It was mostly about writing quickly because the best type of writing is that which is done without too much thought, which means less of the internal editor that we all have which slows us down.

So I spent the time mostly free writing which means I was given a brief few words to write about and a short time to write. And it was really short. 5 minutes only.

But do you know what? I was averaging writing ⅓ of a page in that 5 minutes.

Doing the math, this meant that in 30 minutes (6 x 5 minutes) I could write 2 pages.

I worked it out that 1,000 words is approximately 2 ½ pages of typed writing which means that in 40 minutes I could write 1,000 words which I thought was really fast. But it was actually my own normal writing speed and it probably is yours too, if you practiced it and timed yourself.

When I watched the video of Scott Berkun writing 1,000 words, he made it look so easy. But the video was time-lapsed so he was writing at 30 times his normal speed.

His 1,000 words also included editing, rewriting, thinking and proof reading. Altogether, his 1,000 words took him 150 minutes to write over a space of 2 days.

So my free writing of ⅓ of a page in 5 minutes was quite normal.

But remember that I was free writing. I was working to a brief outline. I was given a few words to write about, I'd think about it for a few minutes and then start writing.

I didn't pause, I didn't edit, rewrite or proof read.

But I did learn that I could write fast.

I actually prefer to write long hand first with a pad and pen so that's how I work. I then sit down and type it all up later (or sometimes pay someone else to do it). I can type fast so it doesn't take me long. Then I can print it out, on used paper, for easy editing.

The secret to writing quickly is to know what you are going to write. You need a detailed outline.

Outlines are easy to do. You can write them by hand or straight onto your computer. Having an outline next to you as you write keeps you on track and helps you to keep writing.

And a trick I learned to keeping my writing interesting is to ask myself "so what" whenever I make a point. That way, I can explain how the point I was making is helpful which helps readers to understand what I'm saying. Just look at the previous paragraph as an example of what I mean. I made a point then explained how it can help.

So if you think you're not getting enough writing done, just try free writing.

Below are websites where you can find free writing prompts to help you get started (all open in a new window):
If you're skeptical that writing prompts help you to free write, just give it a try. You'll be amazed by how well they work.

And once you know how quickly you can write, you'll have no reason to not write a least 1,000 words a day.

And best of all, it will make you feel more motivated to write when you know you can write so much in such a short space of time.


  1. Hi Ruth, once again you gave me inspiration to keep on keeping on. I enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks

  2. Thanks Patricia. It's great to know I'm helping. Keep being inspired every day.


Share Your Comments