“I can't write without that urgency. Something is wrong if it takes more than five days to finish a screenplay. A story created this way will always be full of life.” – Werner Herzog, Born Sep. 5, 1942.
Whatever you're working on, you're probably taking too long.
Do it faster. Stop fucking around.
Focus on the absolute necessities. Leave everything else out.
Any time some part of a project is taking too long or keeping you “stuck”, it's almost always because that part doesn't belong there in the first place.
The struggle is caused by your brain trying to find a place to put a puzzle piece that doesn't even come from the same puzzle.
It's a waste of time and energy.
If you want to increase your productive output AND your quality at the same time, then try this.
The next time you're getting tripped up on a part of a project – or even a whole project – scrap it. Cut that part, or take a completely different direction. Don't waffle for days. Sleep on it one night, max.
Then either fix it immediately, or else kill it off and do without it. Getting held back by trivial shit is not serving your work.
Be decisive and ruthless and RAPID. Practice working constantly and consistently in this mode, and it will become easier and easier.
And your work becomes much more immediate, and direct, and raw… And ALIVE.
Not just dead words on a page or a screen.
Have you been stuck? Are you stuck now? Can you just cut that sticking point and continue on without it?
I bet you can.
Here are three more tips for speeding up your writing so you can put it to work for you faster…
1. Set a timer. The goal is to fill that time with content at the speed you normally type. In other words, you are practicing so that you compose at the same time that you are typing out your first draft. Don’t edit at all. Put ### where you need to make a correction later and just produce. When the time is up, you’re done. If you didn’t finish, continue with part two tomorrow.
2. Get in the habit of publishing your first draft right away on your own blog or social spaces, then do minor edits after posting. The idea is that you can let your audience decide if it’s sensible and valuable, and save yourself the anguish of revision if it’s not necessary. If it needs a major fix as reported by your readership, don’t edit. Rewrite version 2.0 at some future point. This conditions you to get better at writing first drafts that don’t need revision.
3. Play with dictation. Try composing via speech to text. Record yourself and try transcribing it. Train yourself to write the way you speak, and get your internal compositional voice to be speaking out loud in your brain as you are composing and typing. It’s a common thing for writing teachers to suggest students read their work aloud to see where edits need to be made. This exercise is about using that process at the moment of creation instead of as an afterthought.
Those are just three quick tips you can use to transform yourself into a writing machine, able to churn out killer copy on the first try, with no prep. The closer you get to that ideal, the more potential you have to build a business around your endless stream of content.