It’s what most writers do unless you’re a hipster and you like writing everything long hand, but you probably do other annoying things too like listening to record players and twirling your handlebar mustache.
Where was I…?
Now, if you are any sort of writer than this will be more than rudimentary. But if you’re really a writer you’re certainly not reading my advice articles.
This is for the beginners.
The ones just starting.
The ones that still think writing is a fun a worthwhile thing and not something to have an existential crisis over.
I used to be a really slow typist.
Like really, really, slow.
In fact, in high school I didn’t type my papers I had to get my mom to do it for me. I’d write it out and she’d type it because if I typed it you could measure it with a calendar.
I was a slow hunt and peck typer. I’m sure you’ve seen them before. In high school, I had an old school history teacher. He would type up our tests on a typewriter and then go copy them. It would take him an hour to write up ten questions. You could watch him searching the keys for his next strike.
I envied his speed I was so slow.
Believe it our not, I never cared that I was so slow. I figured I’d never need it anyway. I only had to type a handful of papers in high school. I didn’t plant on going to college. And I didn’t like to write.
Boy, did things change.
After I graduated, I was bitten by the writing bug.
Which was great and fun, but it’d take me an hour to get a paragraph down.
To make things worse, I did end up going to college where I needed to write a lot.
So I decided to try to increase my speed.
First, I just tried to type more.
That didn’t work out well without any guidance.
So I did what anyone would do when they need advice and I went to the Internet.
I came across an article saying that Hunter S. Thompson re-typed The Great Gatsby and A Farewell To Arms to learn how to write.
I thought this was a great idea. I hadn’t developed a taste for Hemingway so I just used a few of the fantasy novels I had lying around.
This helped. It made me practice. I never replicated a whole book but I did big chunks of them.
It was the first time I moved at anything other than a glacial pace I was used to.
With some more practice, I would eventually get to be adequate. I was just productive enough to get the bare minimum done.
But, I knew that if I wanted to write I’d have to type faster.
I tried a free typing game online similar to what they used to teach me to type in school. But it didn’t work.
I get got frustrated and gave up.
Finally, I was sitting there and I tried typing while the TV was on.
I tried to get down as many words as I could.
My first time was abysmal. I got a handful of words down at most.
But I kept trying and each time I’d get more and more words done.
So that was my new task. I would write down what I heard on the television or the radio. Pretty soon I was able to write down a good chunk of what I was hearing.
Then when I’d get bored at school when I sat in the common area waiting between classes I write down snippets of conversations I overheard as people walked by.
This helped me write faster and I got used to the rhythm of natural dialogue which would help me later on when I wrote short stories.
Not too much longer than that I was writing much faster than I ever thought possible.
Now, I was able to write without staring at the keyboard. I could look over at something without stopping.
It was great.
I remember when I first started writing one of my biggest influences was Brandon Sanderson and his podcast Writing Excuses. Sanderson is known for writing fast and putting out multiple massive books each year.
I can just remember thinking that I would never be a fast enough writer to write even one book a year. Now, I could see that happening.
It was even better when I went to finally starting to get work as a writer.
It helped me a great deal.
I write fast. Faster than a lot of people. I know when I started out that I was getting work because I would turn it in faster than anyone else.
So it was a bit of process but after a lot of work and a lot of practice I finally started typing reasonably well.
And it led to me becoming a writer.