Speedwriting in School: Guide

Speedwriting in School: Guide
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Sometimes you may need to complete a lot of writing work but you don’t have enough time for it. In this case, speedwriting is what can help you.

Speedwriting is an approach that allows you to write a lot within a limited time frame. In this article, College-Writers.com is going to introduce you to this method and explain how to use it. Here are a few issues that we are going to consider:

  • How to write fast
  • Overview of the method
  • Limitations
  • Purposes of speedwriting
  • Benefits


Most often, the speedwriting method is used to take notes. This approach was invented by secretaries who needed to quickly transcript oral text. A distinctive feature of this sort of speedwriting is that words are written exactly how we hear them. Short vowels are excluded. If you want to write a word “you,” it will look like “u.” You also don’t need to use too many words, avoiding articles and using fewer prepositions.

However, we are not going to describe this particular type of speedwriting. We want to talk about writing a full work quickly. In this context, speedwriting is any method that allows you to write fast.

What Is Speedwriting?

This method is used to work on any writing tasks faster, quickly organizing your writing in a straightforward manner and saving your time. This process, in general, includes three main steps: writing an outline, writing the text itself, and editing.

All these steps logically follow each other, allowing you not to waste your precious time without a clear understanding of what you’re going to write.

The outline is a very important type of work that consists of planning your structure and content. When you have an outline, you can easily follow the structure that you’ve prepared before, without getting stuck.

Editing is the last part of your work that allows you to quickly fix all the mistakes when the whole text is ready.

Why Is It Useful

Many of us face problems with managing time and fitting various deadlines. We have tight schedules, and the more we work, the less time we have.

For example, the Pew Research Center found out that 25% to 33% of employed Americans claim that they always need to rush. These numbers don’t even include people who feel rushed sometimes.

Thus, if you’re trying to attend school and also work or have kids, the chances are you often feel overwhelmed by too many responsibilities.

Young people don’t have as many responsibilities as most of the college students. However, there are many students who focus on their education and make it the main priority. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students who are 25 years old or even older is growing all the time. Hence, there are more people who want to build their adult lives while attending classes.

Obviously, the majority of such students don’t have enough free time. In this case, speedwriting may come in handy. It will help you complete your writing tasks quickly so that you won’t need to sacrifice your other priorities and obligations. Perhaps, writing isn’t the most important kind of activity in your life, so you would benefit from making it as efficient as possible.

Advantages of Speedwriting

First of all, this method makes your writing process less stressful, which allows you to improve the quality of your documents, regardless of how much time you have. It will help you clearly understand what you need to write.

According to the article published by the Association for psychological science, 20% of people procrastinate because they feel like there’s nothing else they can do. Moreover, some people put themselves in stressful situations intentionally because they work faster under pressure.

On the other hand, there are many people who procrastinate because they are afraid to start working or don’t know where to start. When there’s no time left, such people get even more stressed out.

According to the statistics of the American Psychological Association, procrastination is a common problem for 95% of students from different universities and colleges. This problem is associated with stress and has a very negative influence on their lives. 58% of all students struggle with this problem when they need to pass online exams, and their grades are considerably lower than those of students who devote more time to studying.

Speedwriting is a method that prevents you from procrastination because you feel more confident in your writing skills. Using speedwriting, you understand that there’s nothing to be afraid of and the writing process isn’t so complicated.

This matter makes you feel more competent, it helps you work faster and improves the quality of your life. The thing is that you have more time so you don’t need to worry about other responsibilities.


If you’re ready to try this method, you need to focus on your work and choose a proper environment where you can hide from all distractions. Speedwriting is all about paying attention to writing. Don’t stop the writing process, just keep writing.

If something distracts you, you’ll lose focus and the speed of writing will drop. Avoid such distractions as phone calls, SMS, or notifications from social networks.

According to Common Sense Media, half of all teenagers in the U.S. have smartphone addiction. It’s one of the most common and serious problems in America. Teenagers are not the only group that is addicted to mobile devices: 27% of parents also have the same problem.

A good example of this addiction is the statistics on immediate responses to notifications or text messages: 48% of adults and 72% of teenagers respond immediately.

If you want to write fast, you need to get rid of such a habit, which may be difficult. Make sure you’re offline when writing. Don’t respond to any messages or notifications, don’t check your feed. You need to dedicate some time exclusively to writing your paper.

We suggest turning on the airplane mode on your phone or tablet. Of course, it may be difficult for you, especially if you are addicted to social media. Just try to think of your work. It may be much more difficult to complete your important tasks if you don’t get rid of these distractions.

In addition, you can always answer any messages later, when your work is done. Let’s be honest, checking social media is not urgent.

Set the Mood

If you have to write an ordinary college paper, speedwriting will take about three hours of your time. Check your schedule and define when you’ll be able to create a proper environment and get to writing.

Children may be a big distraction, so we suggest writing when they sleep. If your biggest distraction is your job, start writing when you’re not overwhelmed with the work responsibilities.

Many writers agree that the best way to stay focused is to find a quiet place where you won’t hear any distracting sounds. However, everyone is different, and you may need to listen to some music. All the writers have different opinions about working when listening to music and working in the complete silence.

Many writers demonstrate better productivity and quality of work when listening to music. It helps them avoid getting stressed out when working on complex assignments. On the other hand, some studies have shown that music may have a negative impact on memory, and the most difficult tasks become easier in silence. However, they also agree that ordinary tasks benefit from quiet background noises because our brain starts to filter information better.

There are many kinds of research with opposite results, so it’s hard to suggest any universal methods that would work for everyone, under any circumstances. Perhaps, the only obvious thing about the working environment is that you shouldn’t work in loud places. Unlike loud noises, ambient sounds and music are a favorite choice of many students.

Just listen to yourself and create the environment that helps you stay focus and be productive. You must feel comfortable and don’t waste your attention on unnecessary distractions, in order not to interrupt the speedwriting process.

Writer’s Block

This is a common problem that is familiar for most writers. They get stuck looking at a blank sheet of paper on the screen, having no idea of what to write.

Writer’s block is a problem caused by your blocked creativity. This problem is common among professional writers, as they need to write all the time so it becomes a routine which leaves no place for creativity.

Even such a famous writer as William Faulkner wrote that he couldn’t write when he didn’t feel inspired. However, he said that his inspiration came every morning at 9 AM.

Most of us may not have such a wonderful ability, so every writer needs to find his or her way to deal with writer’s block and to manage all assignments. It’s important to know when you are in the best mood for writing and when your creativity is at its peak.

Your mood matters when you practice speedwriting. You must avoid any delays, so try to clear your mind and calm down. Prepare for the writing process and focus on it. For example, you can take a walk, try meditation, listen to relaxing music, or even have a beer with one of your friends.

Perhaps, there is some kind of activity that makes you feel relaxed. It’s great if you know how to put yourself in a right mood. The worst thing that can happen to the writing process is you feeling anxious.

The good news is that speedwriting itself may help you tackle writer’s block. The thing is that speedwriting implies writing an outline, so you eliminate creative block when writing your paper.

It’s also very important to not stop and not to be concerned about minor details. Don’t forget that you can always fix any mistakes when editing the first draft. Just keep your pace and you will see that writer’s block is not so hard to overcome if you’re really determined. Many writers also use another method, writing everything that comes to their mind, no matter how good it is.

Tools that Will Increase Your Speed of Writing

You can choose from among dozens of various tools that can help you with the technical aspects of the writing process.

Citation style generator

It’s impossible to imagine a college paper without such an important thing as citations. We suggest checking books and articles where the required citation style is used. Quite often, you will need to use both the reference list and in-text citations. Don’t forget that you should always give credit to authors of any ideas that you use in your own paper.

If you don’t include proper citations, your work will suffer from plagiarism, which is one of the most problematic academic issues. Professors check all papers for plagiarism, and if you get caught, you may destroy your whole degree program. Always include accurate references.

Different academic fields use different citation styles. The most common citation styles are APA, MLA, and CMS. APA is popular in psychology, business, and nursing. MLA is mostly used in literature, and CMS — in history.

Many students have problems with various citation styles. Indeed, one must be an experienced writer to know all the specifics of each format. On the other hand, there are online citation tools that will help you format all your references according to a certain style.

Even Google has such a tool. However, be careful when using free tools and make sure that the chosen website is credible.

Spell check

This is another tool that is crucial for speedwriting. The thing is that speedwriting implies writing at a constant pace, with no breaks, so you may make many typos. Of course, typos make your work look unprofessional, so make sure to proofread your paper and check it with special software.

Google Docs and Microsoft Word have spell check algorithms built in, and these editors will fix your mistakes on the go. There are also other online tools, so you can choose the one that fits your objectives best.


Students need to write various assignments which imply using different formats and styles. Title pages may be formatted according to different standards, you may need to use different margins, footnotes, endnotes, or other specific features of a certain style.

It’s much easier to meet all the requirements when using templates created especially for a particular citation style. For example, you can download an MLA template where the blank document will be set up according to the rules of MLA.

How to Write Fast

1. Choose your topic

If you need to write a college assignment, you likely have a prompt. Usually, students can select one of a few topics. Make sure to select a topic that will not require spending too much time.

Try to find a topic that is already familiar to you. Your background is what can simplify your work significantly, as you won’t waste your time on additional research and preparation. In addition, some topics are better for speedwriting than others.

If you cannot choose a topic, carefully read your prompt and make sure you perfectly understand your task. You also need to focus on a specific aspect of the topic to narrow down your answer to the given question.

Sometimes, college assignments have a section that is called a rubric. This is general guidelines that explain how exactly you need to write any particular component. Make sure you perfectly understand all of such requirements because your professor will grade your paper based on the rubric.

2. Outline

Unless you’re a professional writer, you need to prepare an essay outline, if you really want to write your paper fast. An outline allows you to plan the structure of your text in advance so that you don’t need to think of what to write next. Speedwriting implies writing without stopping, so you need to have a clear plan of what you’re going to write next.

Perhaps, you’ve heard about five-paragraph essays. The structure of a typical five-paragraph essay includes an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion. However, many writers agree that this structure is overrated. Indeed, there are not so many things that can be described in just five paragraph. This format is quite difficult when working on short papers, like essays.

When working on long papers, five paragraphs may turn out to be not enough for you to provide all the arguments and to use all the space that you have. The truth is, if a paper contains at least 4 pages, it means that you will need to write more than five paragraphs. Thus, keep in mind that this rule is somewhat controversial.

The main purpose of an outline is to break your arguments down into key points. You can draw a structure of your paper and so understand what sections it will contain.

3. Compiling sources

To write your paper fast, you need to analyze all the necessary resources and references before you start writing. You shouldn’t interrupt the writing process in the middle.

The outline will give you an understanding of what services are necessary for your topic. Thus, take your time and find sources that you can use in your reference list.

After that, when you write the paper itself, you can include certain citations from the list, clearly understanding what sources would better illustrate a certain point.

You need to use only credible sources. If you’re searching for the information on the internet, we suggest using only websites of authoritative professional organizations and scientific journals. Books are also very useful. You can search for books in the electronic format on Amazon and Google.

Journal articles is another solution for everyone who wants to use credible information. Check Google Scholar and other databases, as well as your university or college library.

There are many websites and online tools that can help you write a proper list of references using any citation style. It’s important to understand how to properly cite journals, books, movies, and other types of sources that are different from articles and books.

4. The writing process

Once you’ve selected your topic, figured out what is the structure of your paper, and found the necessary sources, you can start writing.

Find a place where you can feel comfortable, turn off your phone and other devices that may distract you.

Start writing your paper following the structure of the outline. Check your list of references while writing, in order to include the necessary citations when you want to support a certain point.

You don’t need to worry about such mistakes as typos when using the speedwriting method. Don’t try to create a perfect paper on the first try. The main thing is not to stop and write the first draft.

If you have a proper outline and keep in mind all the requirements of the rubric, your content will have the necessary format. Just keep writing until you reach the necessary number of pages.

5. The editing process

When your first draft is ready, start editing your paper, fixing all the errors and making sure all the sentences make sense. Once again, you don’t need to do it while working on the first draft! We suggest using the spell check function in your text editor to simplify the proofreading process.

If you don’t have much time for editing, you may benefit from hiring a professional editor who can quickly fix all your mistakes and change some details in your structure if necessary. For example, you can order editing on College-Writers.com.

Limitations of the Speedwriting Method

This method will help you with regular college assignments, however, it also has its limitations. Some types of writing assignments are hard to complete using this approach. We suggest that you start working on such complicated tasks as early as possible.

Technical Writing

Technical writing includes such types of documents as manuals, various technical guides, journal articles, and other papers that provide technical information.

Speed writing becomes almost useless when working on technical writing, as this type of assignments requires you to pay attention to every detail. Here, every word must be chosen accurately.

Therefore, the main principle of Speedwriting is not applicable when working on technical documents. It’s impossible to work on such papers without stopping or focusing on minor details. You need to follow all the instructions carefully, making sure that every word is meaningful.

Some writers say that technical writing is similar to coding. We suggest not using speedwriting when creating technical papers.

Long Documents

Speedwriting works best with short essays and other short assignments. However, you can try to use it even when writing a term paper, but keep in mind that such an approach is not recommended.

This method is not the best choice for longer papers. For example, you may need to write a dissertation or a thesis at the end of your degree program. You will not be able to write such a long paper in one day, so don’t try to use this speedwriting method in such a case.

Dissertations have complicated structures, and you may need to use more than 100 sources to create a good paper.

When writing a dissertation, we suggest sticking to your regular schedule. You may need to spend a few months or even years to write a dissertation of a high quality.

Most writers cannot write more than 15 pages in one day, and you should take it into account. If you have any problems with longer documents, you can always contact our professional writers. College-Writers.com can help you with dissertations, term papers, and other difficult assignments of any kind, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Data Analysis and Research Studies

Research studies require you to conduct a certain experiment before you start writing the paper itself. First, you need to write a proposal with independent data that will serve as the basis for your paper. Such a task is not simple and very time-consuming.

When writing the final draft, you may feel like when writing technical documents. You also need to stick to a certain structure and make sure your content meets all the academic requirements.

There are also different methods of data analysis. When conducting quantitative research, you need to use various formulas and focus on numbers. Qualitative research requires you to interpret your data in the best way possible. Such tasks are too difficult and require you to focus on details. Thus, we suggest not using speedwriting when working on such papers.

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