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My primary goal this year is to grow my side-hustle significantly while maintaining my full-time job. I’m a woman on a mission!
And it hasn’t been easy, but so far I’ve been able to mostly stay on track with my goals. (Goals that I’d of never reached had it not been for Horkey Handbook’s fabulous courses and resources.)
One of the biggest challenges is making the most of every spare second I have to work on my business. There are only so many hours in a day!
And as a large part of my business, is freelance writing I’ve had to get increasingly efficient at writing articles and blog posts. (Need help choosing your own freelance writing niche? Check out this free list of 200+ freelance writing niches!)
Although I’ve already learned some great strategies for writing faster, I want to reveal the greatest (if counterintuitive) writing hack I’ve discovered yet. This unlikely hack allows me to write 1000 words on an hour. (Double that, even!) It pretty much destroys my writer’s block!
And I can almost guarantee you that it’s different from other writing hacks you’ve read about.
So if you’re a freelance writer or someone who otherwise does a lot of writing for work, you’ll be interested in the below!
How Time Constraints Taught Me to Be a Faster Writer
A few months back, the company I work at during the day changed the schedule so that our lunch break is only 30 minutes instead of an hour. As a trade-off, we get to come in either half an hour later or leave half an hour earlier.
It was an adjustment for me because I had been using my lunch hours to scoot home, jump on my home computer and get a few things done for my business. (Yes I live pretty close to work.)
But now there isn’t enough time to drive home and back.
Meanwhile, article deadlines are always looming. So one day on my lunch break, I whipped out my phone and thumb-tapped my way to a 1000 word rough draft in about 30 minutes.
(If this seems a little less than humble, allow me to take myself down a notch and confess that I once agonized over the last sentence of an article for 2 hours. It’s taken a really long time to get comfortable writing long-form articles and it’s only in the last few months that it’s become easier for me.)
Although I have come a long way in writing speed, this was breaking new records.
I thought it must be a fluke, but I tried it again on the next lunch break.
Another 1000 words.
Now my phone isn’t a last resort, it’s my secret weapon. (I even wrote this draft on my phone! #meta.)
Phone-Writing: a Counterintuitive but Effective Productivity Hack
On my computer, I type 90+ wpm. On my phone, I type about 34 wpm, which factors in my uncoordinated thumb-striking and Apple’s sadistic autocorrect function.
So what the heck is going on here? How in the world is my tiny, unwieldy little phone allowing me to write 1000 words in an hour or less?
It’s because it’s not about writing faster in a technical sense. It’s about entering into that flow state.
Let’s dig into that a bit more:
No “blank white page syndrome”
Don’t you hate it when you load up a new document to start writing, but then you freeze as at the site of the blank page looming in front of you like a glowing, soul-sucking tundra of white? Writer’s block is the worst!
Well, the nice thing about typing on your phone is that the page is about one inch high when you’re typing and somehow that makes it way less intimidating. Completely psychological but if it works, it works!
It feels like texting
Think about how easy it is to text your friends. You don’t agonize over what you’re going to say or how you’re going to say it. It’s perfect if the kind of content you write needs to have a more casual, conversational tone. (And a large percentage of online content does use a conversational tone, these days! No one wants to read a dense wall of text full of jargon and formalities.)
Even if you use a lot of bullet points or abbreviations, you can easily correct them when you come back to the draft for editing on your computer.
All that’s missing are the smilies and poop emojis.
But maybe your article is better off without those.
Permission to be imperfect
When you write on your phone, you feel like you have one hand tied behind your back. Or in this case, eight fingers.
So you give yourself permission to just tap it out as quickly as you can before your hand cramps up. You’re not worried about phrasing or proper spelling (since the ever-helpful autocorrect will likely decimate your attempts to spell correctly anyway), and you can just focus on getting all the meat and potatoes onto the page.
Make no mistake, these articles are not ready for the client’s eyes at the end of these first thirty minutes. And depending on what kind of formatting, linking, and source-citing you need to do, there may still be an hour or more left of work to do on the article.
But for me, that’s the easy part. The hard part has always been getting the guts of the article written, to produce something that I can actually edit and polish.
How to Become a Phone-Writing Wizard
If you haven’t tried it and you struggle with writing quickly, I highly recommend you put your texting-thumbs to the test with this method. You may surprise yourself!
If you’re interested in trying it out, the secret to my success has been using Google Docs.
I have been using Google Docs for years now but didn’t realize they had a phone app until recently. Everything you can do in Google Docs on your computer you can now do on your phone. Even adding headings, checking the word count, and adding hyperlinks are intuitively accessible in the app.
The beauty of this is that you don’t have to cut and paste or email the document to your computer; the draft will be waiting for you on the Drive whenever you’re ready to edit and polish at your computer.
Experiment to Find Your Own Writing Hacks!
Everyone’s creative process is different. Even though this unconventional writing hack works for me, it might be a different story for you. It’s always a good idea to experiment with different methods and find the hacks that make your life easier!
For example, another thing I plan to experiment with soon is voice-typing my articles. I have heard that many writers have a lot of success with this. And you can still use Google Docs for it too!
The takeaway is, you never know what great things you’ll stumble upon if you don’t experiment.
What do you think of this hack to write 1000 words in an hour? Any other strategies you’ve tried? Share in the comments!
Ever think about putting your writing chops to use as a freelance writer, but have no idea where to get started? Download my free, 3-step, no-nonsense guide to get started!