Writing

How to Improve Your Writing Speed

Kevin Kessler
May 25, 2020
7 minutes

Are you struggling to improve your writing speed?

There are millions of people with the same issue.

This guide will teach you all about speed writing and how to improve your typing.

In turn, this should boost your business performance and potentially save hours of your time every week.

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What is Speed Writing?

Speed writing is a technique that increases your typing speed and accuracy. It combines various methods to gradually improve your typing performance. Seen as an essential skill for business purposes, speed writing will help you be more efficient and productive.

You can use Grammarly or other writing apps to check if you made any errors while speed writing and whether your tone is consistent throughout your writing.

Why does speed writing matter?

An average person types just above 40 words per minute (wpm) with about 90% accuracy. People who type for a living are averaging somewhere between 50-80 wpm, meaning they can do the job twice as fast. That should be your goal too, as it will enable you to finish your work much quicker.

Speed Writing in Action

Example #1: Freelance transcription experts

Freelance transcription experts use speed writing to translate speech into words.

This is important because it helps people with hearing impairments (in relation to subtitles), for example.

Transcription has another valuable purpose, as videos with accompanying text are ranked higher on search engines. Highly skilled typing experts can transcribe dialogue into words in real-time. This means that they can complete tasks quickly and efficiently.

Example #2: Secretarial and assistant jobs

These jobs require a lot of typing.

These positions often involve managing the company’s email accounts and daily correspondence, running social media pages, or maintaining calendars. Every minute saved with speed writing is important. Potential employers often ask for job candidates to type around 70 wpm.

Example #3: Court reporters

Court reporters need to transcribe every word said during a trial. This requires the highest level of speed writing, above 200 wpm. To achieve that, they’re specially trained to use stenotype machines. Unlike a typical keyboard, a stenotype has fewer keys than a QWERTY model. Multiple keys need to be pressed at the same time to form words, syllables, and phrases.

Example #4: Journalists

Journalists are required to have speed writing skills, as it’s important to publish new stories accurately and quickly. This is especially the case since the rise of social media. Being the first to post an important news story means more views and potential earnings. Other content creators, such as bloggers, also require this skill to turn their ideas into words and edit them later.

Example #5: Content creators

Content creators and freelance writers can get more work done (and therefore get paid more) if they learn how to speed write.

If you can halve the time it takes you to complete an article, you double the amount you can make in a week.

How to Improve Your Speed Writing: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

The more you type, the better you’ll be at it. The techniques outlined below will help you achieve your speed writing goals.

Find the right keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard comes in many different variations. But if you type a lot, an ergonomic keyboard will suit you best. Generally, the larger the keys are, the easier you’ll find them without looking.

Get a keyboard with concave keys and with strong tactile feedback. That way, you’ll know if your stroke has registered. Using the best keyboard alignment for you can help you to quickly use your own type of shorthand to get information down fast.

Proper finger arrangement

You can type 200 wpm, but if you’re making lots of errors, your speed won’t matter much. That’s why it’s important to improve both your speed and accuracy. Proper finger placement is what you need to learn first and to use all 10 fingers to type.

Every keyboard has a slight bump on the “F” and “J” keys, as this is where your index fingers should be when you’re typing. Using the right fingers for the right keys will help to improve typing speed and writing speed.

Touch typing

Learning how to touch type is extremely important in many fields of employment. If you master this discipline, you can focus your eyes on the screen and check if you’re making mistakes. There’s no magical solution. Like anything, you’ll need to practice.

Thankfully, you’ll find lots of fun ways to do it for free on the internet. You can try TypeRacer and compete with other people from around the world. There are no penalties for coming last – it is all about learning how to type faster while feeling no pressure.

Screenshot of typeracer
Example screenshot of Typeracer

FAQs

Is it possible to type more than 300 wpm?

Typing speed of over 200 wpm is extremely rare, and reaching 300 wpm can only be done in short bursts, at least on standard QWERTY keyboards. To illustrate this, we can look at the current world record holder Barbara Blackburn.

In 2005, she reached a typing speed of 212 wpm, while her average was 150 wpm for 50 minutes. When it comes to fast writing, Barbara Blackburn is a true champion.

What is the minimum speed writing requirement for a job?

The average typing speed is about 40 wpm, and that’s a minimum requirement for jobs in general. Secretarial and administrative assistant jobs ask for people to type 50-80 wpm. The same goes for data entry specialists.

Court reporters can double or triple that speed, but they’re not using standard QWERTY keyboards. With a good speed writing system, getting a job that requires this skill should not be difficult.

How long does it take to improve typing speed?

Increasing typing speed requires a lot of dedication. On average, to improve your typing speed by one wmp, you’ll need around three hours of practice. In this respect, progress is mostly linear, meaning that getting from 70 wpm to 80 wpm will take you the same time as getting from 80 wpm to 90 wpm.

Something which we would recommend is taking a shorthand course from professional writers to improve your writing skills. There are even some free writing classes online that can help you improve typing speed. Secretaries and professional note takers will learn this in a secretarial college, and yes, this is indeed a real thing.

How to practice typing

One of the best ways is to go online and take a typing test. The site will judge your results, and also give you tips on how to improve. Focus both on your speed and accuracy for the best results.

Are There Different Types of Shorthand?

There are a variety of shorthand note taking systems that may work for you. Here are some of the best ones to check out.

  • Pitman Shorthand
  • Teeline Shorthand
  • Gregg Shorthand
Example screenshot of Pitman consonants (Speed writing: shorthand).
Pitman consonants

(Image Source)

Wrap Up

Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to improve your speed writing. While we presented techniques to help you reach your goal, the most important thing is to practice and be patient.

Taking speed typing tests online and playing games will help you do that while having fun in the process. As you gradually improve, you’ll save a considerable amount of time for other tasks.