Increasing Your Hourly Word Rate

Recently, I wrote a post “What Prolific Should Mean“, and mentioned that there are ways to increase your hourly word rate so that, no matter what speed you’re writing at (dead slow, marathon or white-knuckling it), you’re producing more words per hour than you used to.

As this entire site is dedicated to helping you write more words per hour (as well as more hours per day), the topic is a very large one and I’ve tackled it more than once in the past.

I thought I’d do a very quick overview today of some of the ways you can learn to increase your hourly word rate.

Track your word count

Logging isn’t simply a way to calculate and monitor your word rate.  It is also a means to write more per hour.  The simple act of measuring your rate will increase it.  That is because it draws your attention to the speed you are writing at.  You will become conscious of distractions and you will also find yourself in competition with you:  Can you write more today than you did yesterday?  Can you increase your word rate this month?

Use white knuckle pace to improve your marathon pace

In other words, sprinting.

There are a half-dozen different types of word sprints outlined here.  I don’t advise using them on a permanent basis, but they are perfect for training you to write more words per hour.  A week or even a few days of sprinting will see a sharp rise in your marathon pace.

The effect does wain, though, so repeating a week of sprints once a season will help your pace remain at the higher rate.

Learn to Just Start

Procrastination is the number one killer of speed.  If you regularly dither about writing and put it off, then learning why you do it and figuring out ways to defeat it will skyrocket your writing pace.

Learning to Just Start is probably the most effective of all the procrastination hacks out there.

Learn to Write Anywhere

This sounds like a time hack, rather than a pace hack — learning to write anywhere is a way to put in more hours.  But it’s actually both.  By learning to write comfortably no matter where you find yourself, or what you’re using to write — pen and paper, phone & swiping, tablet or laptop, noisy crowd or silent meadow…if you can learn to disengage from your environment and get into the story, your word rate will increase.

Oddly, it will increase even more when you have optimal and preferred conditions.  When you get back to your desk, the absence of distractions will spike your word count.

Learn to Write in Increments

Related to writing anywhere, writing in five minute snatches when you’re standing in a line or waiting for the bus will also increase your hourly wordcount because it trains you to instantly drop into the story and get your fingers moving.

If you have twenty minutes before a phone call, or an hour’s wait for your doctor’s appointment; if you have five or ten or fifteen minutes to spare at any time, write.

Not only does it train you to start writing without delay, the little increments of writing will also keep your head in the story throughout the day, which makes it even easier to drop straight into the story and write as soon as you open the file.

You’ll also pile up the pages.


That’s five master strategies for increasing your hourly word rate.  Even a 100 word/hour increase will net you significant gains across a year.

Happy writing.


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