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David A. Fryxell’s Write Faster, Write Better (2004) is a journalist’s collection of tips that might help you write faster. Fryxell focuses on eliminating waste: wasted research, wasted interviews, wasted notes, wasted words, wasted drafts. You can do this by organizing, planning ahead, keeping your focus in mind, and writing a good-enough draft the first time around (instead of revising loose drafts that run too long or circling around a never-finished perfectionist draft).
I’ve sketched the key points of the book to make them easier to remember and share. Click on the image to get a high resolution version that you can print if you want.
One of the things that I struggle with is that I often don’t have a clear idea of what I want to write when I start writing it. I don’t have a focused high-concept phrase that explains my angle and the surprise twist. I don’t have a clear outline that tells me what kind of research I need to do, who I should talk to, and how everything fits together. I don’t have an editor who’ll force me to come up with a clear concept.
Maybe I’ll get there with experience. It might be okay to do this kind of exploratory writing – a little like journaling in public – and then apply Fryxell’s techniques to extract and polish a chunk that would be useful to other people.
Curious about the book? You can get it from Amazon or other places if you like. (Affiliate link)
Like the sketch? Find more at sketchedbooks.com. They’re under the Creative Commons Attribution License (like the rest of my blog), so feel free to share it with people who might find this useful. Enjoy!