When you sit down at the keyboard, you commit time and effort to tell a story. It could be fiction, nonfiction, or a textbook, all take large amounts of time. But will it take less time to tell your story if you can type faster, and will it improve your overall writing skills? 

Faster typing does not improve your writing skills, but it might make your words come out faster. A true writer is driven by their passion and improves with practice. Whether you can type 120 words a minute or 20 is immaterial. But that doesn’t mean typing fast doesn’t have benefits. 

This article is two things: a love letter to the writers out there who know the struggle and a guide on how typing impacts your work. Read on to learn more. 

Do Writers Have To Type Fast To Be Successful?

Writers do not have to type fast to be successful. That being said, typing quickly will help you complete work in less time. Whether you want to write a novel or you are looking to get into freelance journalism, it is a valuable skill. 

According to Wikipedia, the average professional typist types between 43 and 80 words per minute. Adding to that, the average novelist takes six months to write the first draft of a book. But we can break that down even further. 

WordCounter.net gives us the following list of average times for writing an essay from start to finish: 

  • 500 words: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • 800 words: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • 1000 words: 3 hours and 20 minutes
  • 5000 words: 16 hours and 40 minutes

That article mentions that typing speed is an essential factor in the above figures, but it doesn’t specify exactly how it applies. If we factor in the other statistics, we start to get a clearer picture

The slower your typing, the more time it is going to add to your writing. Not only does this waste a lot of time and set your deadlines back, but it can also be downright disheartening. 

But you are an artist with words. This is your passion, something you love. Otherwise, you wouldn’t do it. It takes bravery to choose writing, putting yourself out there, and sharing your vision with the world. 

Taking on some keyboard practice is nothing. 

The Creative Benefits of Typing Faster

There are more than logistical reasons to try and type faster. You can also discover creative benefits that will help you become the writer you want to be. It isn’t because the typing part is crucial. 

Let’s look at a few reasons why typing faster will make the creative process smoother.

You Can Get Into the Flow

Nothing is worse when you are writing than getting distracted by your hand placement. Picking at keys is slow and keeps you from sliding into the flow of your words. Some writers even find that faster typing gives them more ideas, though that can’t be proven. 

You Will Be Focused on the Content

The last thing you want is to have to catch up to your thoughts when you write. If your brain is going faster than your fingers, it can be challenging to focus on the content itself. When the act of thinking matches the speed of typing, you can lose yourself in what you are putting down. 

You Will Become Less Frustrated

Let’s face it, typing slowly gets frustrating. 

It takes you much longer to finish anything, and you become burned out much faster than your peers. You may even start dreading writing, which is a surefire way to make it nothing but a chore. If you can finish more quickly, you won’t feel nearly as irritated with the process. 

You Will Feel More Confident

Having confidence in your writing is hard at the best of times. Add in being unable to type as well as others you know, and your ego can take a real beating. It might impact your work or your willingness to let people see what you have written. 

Improving your typing speed can give you back your pride in your work, and yourself. 

You Will Make Fewer Mistakes

A study from the University of Cambridge found that more proficient people at typing tend to make fewer mistakes. They took 168,000 volunteers from 200 different countries, 70% of which had previously taken a test that taught “touch typing.” They discovered that those with higher speeds are less prone to typos, even if they had not taken a class

How Can I Increase My Typing Speed?

You can increase your typing speed by practicing “touch typing.” This is the ability to type without looking at your keyboard, using only muscle memory. By practicing this method, you will become faster, more accurate, and better focused. 

Everything you do is improved with practice, and typing is no different. There are dozens of typing programs out there that can be accessed for free. Most teach the touch technique and will help you build your speed bit by bit until you are a pro. 

Touch Typing Trainers

  • TypingClub: With a version for both individuals and schools, they have multiple lessons to try. Some of these include games, placement tests, different key focuses, and even has the ability to save your progress.
  • Typing Study: This is a bare-bones version with a lot to do. Coming with dozens of practice tests and available in most modern languages, there are no frills but a lot of opportunities to learn.
  • Keybr: The simplest on this list, all you have to do is activate the text box and start following the moving marquee. It will keep track of your speed and mistakes and encourage you to look at the screen to see the practice words, not your hands. It is an effective way to get comfortable with touch typing. 

There are no other ways to improve typing speed that are as effective as simply practicing. If you give yourself some time and work at it, you should see a marked difference within a few weeks. 

Conclusion

Being the slowest typist in the world doesn’t mean you aren’t an incredible writer. But being productive and efficient is a necessity in this industry. Improving your typing speed will ultimately help you to do more in less time. There isn’t a writer alive who won’t appreciate that. 

Sources


Ol Adams

Letter Review is currently edited by Ol Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Ol Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. Ol has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.