• Ivy L. James

10 Ways to Increase Your Words Per Hour

Updated: Jan 29

Want to know how to write faster? How to produce more without taking longer? Well, you're in the right place, my friend. We're going to go over some methods to help you write faster and smarter. These tactics will help you write more in the same amount of time, and by extension can help you increase your total daily word count.


10 ways to increase your words per hour:

  1. Calculate your current words-per-hour.

  2. Know exactly what you'll write before you start.

  3. Find something exciting about the scene you're writing.

  4. Turn off the Internet.

  5. Put away any distractions.

  6. Try dictation.

  7. Don't go back to reread or edit.

  8. Use a writing totem.

  9. Do writing sprints.

  10. Write during your peak hours.


1. Calculate your current words-per-hour.

Calculate your current words per hour (WPH) to find out where you're starting from. You can't know if you're improving if you don't monitor your numbers.


I'd recommend finding out your WPH for different time frames. For example, what's your word count for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and 1 hour?


Pro tip: You might get higher WPH during shorter time periods (which is often the case for me). Use this info to your advantage! Write in short bursts of your peak time frame.


2. Know exactly what you'll write before you start.

Plan ahead, and know exactly what you'll be writing beforehand. This way, you don't waste any writing time with planning.


How much should you know? Enough to scribble a quick paragraph describing the scene. Do it. Boom. These words won't count towards your total word count, but they're about to help you nail it.


3. Find something exciting about the scene you're writing.

Writing always flows more easily when you're excited about the scene. In contrast, if you're bored by the scene, it'll drag on.


Before you start writing, figure out what about this scene excites you. Is someone lying? Is the couple going to fight? Is the dragon about to steal the protagonist's sheep? Pinpoint what you're excited about!


If nothing about it interests you, then the scene needs to be reworked. A scene that bores the writer will bore the reader too.


4. Turn off the Internet.

Yes, turn off the Internet or change the password so you can't use it. Notifications for social media and email will only distract you.


"But I might need Google for research," you plead. Unpopular opinion: writing time is not research time, so you don't need it. What?? Blasphemy! No, I said what I said. If you come across a question or inconsistency while you're writing, make a note to yourself and move on. Don't throw off your groove by diving into Wikipedia.



5. Put away any distractions.

Your writing space should be free of non-writing shiny things. Physically put away anything that distracts you from writing.


For me, this is my Switch, my phone, and whatever book(s) I'm reading. They go in a drawer or across the room so I can't see them. The pull becomes so much weaker, just by removing the temptation from sight.


6. Try dictation.

If you haven't tried dictating rather than physically writing, now's the time to branch out. Even if it's not your favorite method, you've added a new tool to your toolbox.


Most people talk much faster than they can type, so when you dictate your prose, you open yourself up to faster WPH.


As a bonus, dictation also gives your wrists a break. Be kind to your body.


7. Don't go back to reread or edit.

Writing time is for writing only. You are here to draft. Leave your old words alone.


If you need to reread, do only the minimum to set the scene for whatever you're writing right now, and do it before you start your Writing Time.


Editing comes later. For now, you're drafting new content. That's it.


8. Use a writing totem.

A writing totem is a physical object that signifies that You Are Writing. It helps put your brain in Writing Mode.


For me, it's a big pirate hat. When I really need to buckle down and work, I slap that hat on my head as a signal to myself (and others) that I'm writing right now and I'm in it to win it.


Maybe you have a little gnome that you set out on the desk. Maybe you hang a sign that says "Writer at Work." Whatever it is, it's a heads-up to your brain (and to any passersby) that you are writing.


9. Do writing sprints.

Writing sprints are predetermined amounts of time dedicated to writing and nothing else.


Snacks? Email? Bathroom breaks? Illegal. Keep your booty in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard until the timer goes off.


Typically these are in multiples of 5. Set a timer for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 minutes, and do nothing but write for its duration.


Do. Not. Stop. Writing.


10. Write during your peak hours.

Figure out when your most creative time is, and write then.


Are you a morning person? Bless you. Use that prime energy early in the day.


Do you do better after building up some momentum through the day? Arrange your schedule so that you write in the afternoon or evening as it suits you.


Use your best time for writing.


TL;DR:

Our ways to increase your words per minute:

  1. Calculate your current words-per-minute.

  2. Know exactly what you'll write before you start.

  3. Find something exciting about the scene you're writing.

  4. Turn off the Internet.

  5. Put away any distractions.

  6. Try dictation.

  7. Don't go back to reread or edit.

  8. Use a writing totem.

  9. Do writing sprints.

  10. Write during your peak hours.

Now go forth and write more, faster.


I believe in you!

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