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Speed drafting: How to write an article in 25 minutes

No backspace. Ignore grammar. Write forward.

Ondrej Markus
Ondrej Markus
3 min read
Speed drafting: How to write an article in 25 minutes

This writing method can turn a hopeless perfectionist into an article-shooting machine.

I stumbled upon it by accident one day when I struggled to start an article. I kept rewriting the first section for hours. I was stuck, unable to find the right words. Or as I call it: Thursday.

This is the point where I would usually give up:

"I don't know enough about this topic."

"Who am I to lecture others about this anyway?"

"Maybe writing isn't for me after all."

But on this day, my frustration took over: "Fuck this. I'm just going to write as fast as I can and see what happens."

So I did. And what happened blew my socks off.

Why is it so hard to start writing?

We are afraid that what we write is going to suck. It's painful to look at bad writing, especially if it's you who made it.

So we try to avoid writing badly. We want to get it perfect the first time.

And, if you're anything like me, you don't even need other humans for criticism. You've got that covered. You are your worst critic.

So how did I overcome self-doubt, overthinking, and perfectionism in writing?

Well, I didn't. At least not entirely.

But writing faster somehow removed the obstacles that normally block me from getting my ideas onto the page. Aiming for speed freed my brain from agonizing about perfection.

The goal of your first draft is to get ideas out, and thinking too much prevents you from doing that. But when you write fast enough, there is no time for thinking. There is no time to worry about mistakes. This is why you can overcome what is blocking you by writing faster.

Drafting an article is like riding a bike. It's easier to keep going at slightly higher speeds. Constantly slowing down, falling, and then getting back up isn't a smart strategy if you want to get far.

Using this method can liberate your writing process. Especially if you have a tendency for perfectionism and thinking too much as I do.

Welcome to Speed Drafting.

Write faster to write better

The first time I tried Speed Drafting, I expected my writing to get worse. I set a timer for 25 minutes to push myself to write faster. And it worked. I rushed to get as much as I could onto the page without looking back.

And when the timer beeped, it felt like I just woke up. I was so focused on speed that I wasn't even sure what I just made. I had to read it.

The draft was flooded with confusing parts, but there were also some shockingly good bits. In fact, there were many more good bits than usual. So I didn't just wrote more, I wrote better. My writing improved in both quantity and quality.

This got me so excited, I immediately drafted another 2 articles using the same 25-minute method. In less than 90 minutes, I finished drafting 3 different articles.

That's the same time I'd normally kill hypnotizing the first few paragraphs.

I felt free.

Apply these principles to your writing

These days, I start every article using this Speed Drafting method. If you want to try it, these are the rules that work for me:

  1. Set a time limit → This creates pressure that turns your first draft into a kind of game. It shifts your attention from writing flawlessly to writing quickly. 25 minutes feels just enough.
  2. Forget backspace → Backspace is the enemy of your first draft. Act like it doesn't exist.
  3. Ignore grammar → Don't correct mistakes as you write. There is time for that in future revisions. And turn off the red underlining for devil's sake.
  4. Think on the page → Don't stop writing to think. Leave no moment for self-doubt. Transcribe your thoughts directly onto the page as you go.
  5. Write only forward → Don't read what you just wrote. Keep your thoughts moving forward and worry about whether it makes sense later.

Use my Notion template

I keep testing and tweaking this method.

If you want a specific step-by-step blueprint, I share it here for free: Speed Drafting Template.

Speed Drafting made my writing easier and more fun, and I hope it will do the same for you.

Set the timer for 25 minutes and give it a try. It's magic.

Writing

Ondrej Markus

I write about life design.