Writing Speed

This might be pure luxury to think about how fast you are able to write, when others would be pleased with just finishing that one paragraph. But wether you like to optimize or compare yourself to the speed of trained, professional writers, the topic of writing speed might have an appearance.

Word Count

The pure math of your writing speed is how many words can you crank out in a given time and how long will this take you to finish your 100K novel (for example). This is no must for hobbyists, but if you start to write more frequently or work toward a goal, you want to know your writing speed.

First of all, this is not your typing speed. When writing stories you come up with the events as you go, making you slower then when copying a receipt for strawberry cake. The average writing speed is at 500 words an hour (8 words per minute). Even if you are technically faster, don’t forget to include some minutes to grasp that specific word or remember what you wanted to happen next.

Let’s say the writing speed ist at the average 500 words an hour. The goal is to write a 100.000 word novel. Therefore this would take you 100.000 / 500 = 200 hours to write. If you write every day of the year, you could still take days off and go to vacation and finish a first draft within a year.
Brandon Sanderson has a nice video just about that.

Try to track some of your writing sessions and calculate your writing speed. When participating NaNoWriMo, use their statistics tool.


Some writers need their warm up phase during these their writing speed is much lower. Others use the first half of their precious, daily writing hour to stare at a blank page.

Write regularly to get used to the word production. Use triggers to get into the writing mood. Don’t wait for inspiration, motivation, or your busy muse. Just build a habit of your writing. Try it daily, every other day, or once a week. But start to write as soon as your writing time begins to not waste it.

To prevent the case of having no idea what to write next, simply try to plan beforehand. This is easy for plotters, but even pantsers want to create the upcoming scene in their head bevor putting fingers to the keys. Use your activity before writing to get into the mood. (It has some humor in it to plan your next murder while putting your kids to bed…)

Concerning habits you might want to read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.


Do yourself a favor and learn touch writing. Not only will using all ten fingers speed up the writing process, it comes in handy when typing for your day job or answering e-mails.

If typing is just not your thing, try writing long hand, dictating, or give writing on a smartphone a try. At least it makes you more flexible at when and where you are able to write.

Limit all distractions. This plays into building habits, but really put your phone away, use fullscreen mode, and do your research later. When you need some specific information while writing, use brackets to mark it: [research different strawberries]
Especially when writing the first draft.

What ist your (average) writing speed? Do you have additional, exotic tipps to ramp up this number?


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