7 Tips to Increase Your Typing Speed

There you are, writing an email to a friend, when all of a sudden you have a “Eureka!” moment about how to set up a breathtaking climax for your current manuscript. You quickly pull up a blank document and start to type, but after a few minutes you lose your train of thought—because you’re only typing at 20 wpm, but your brain is dictating the scene at 60.

It’s essential for writers and authors to have a fast typing speed; you need to easily jot down ideas as they come to mind. If you’re typing at 20 wpm, chances are you’ll spend more time trying to remember that great scene than you will typing it.

Here are 7 tips to increase your typing speed:

1. Practice Touch Typing

Touch typing is a technique that lets you type without looking at the keyboard. This method is achieved by memorizing the position of each letter on the keyboard. This is an important skill to have and practice as it saves you time by allowing you to type words as you think of them.

Touch typing is also useful for writers and authors who create drafts on paper and then transcribe them later. Without touch typing, you look at three different areas. First, you look at the draft to read the content. Next, you peek at the keyboard to identify which keys to press. Finally, you glance at the screen to see if you typed the words correctly. It’s time-consuming and a pain in the neck. With touch typing, you can just look at the draft while confidently typing the content.

2. Utilize All Your Fingers

One of the secrets to touch typing is knowing which finger to use for which keystroke. Beginners usually make the mistake of using only their index fingers to type. It may seem easier and faster if it’s what you typically do, but in reality, you’re putting too much stress on your index fingers. Take note of the following chart; each finger has its own territory on the keyboard.

Finger Keys
Left Pinky 1, Q, A, Z (and everything to the left of these keys)
Left Ring Finger 2, W, S, X
Left Middle Finger 3, E, D, C
Left Index Finger 4, R, F, V, 5, T, G, B
Right Index Finger 6, Y, H, N, 7, U, J, M
Right Middle Finger 8, I, K, “,”
Right Ring Finger 9, O, L, “.”
Right Pinky 0, P, “;”, “/”, (and everything to the right of these keys)
Right/Left Thumb spacebar

Correctly positioning your fingers will help increase your typing speed and make touch typing faster. To put it simply, it would take you at least 6-9 seconds to write the word “authentication” if you only use your index fingers, whereas you can write the same word in 3-5 seconds if you use all your fingers.

3. Memorize Keyboard Shortcuts

Your computer and writing software come with a lot of built-in keyboard shortcuts. By using Shift, Ctrl, and Alt (on a PC), or Control, Option, and Command (on a Mac), along with a variety of keystrokes, you can quickly and easily do any of the following:

  • Select All (Mac=COMMAND + A) (PC=CONTROL + A)
  • Cut (Mac=COMMAND + X) (PC=CONTROL + X)
  • Copy (Mac=COMMAND + C) (PC=CONTROL + C)
  • Paste (Mac=COMMAND + V) (PC=CONTROL + V)
  • Save (Mac=COMMAND + S) (PC=CONTROL + S)
  • Undo a change (Mac=COMMAND + Z) (PC=CONTROL + Z)
  • Print (Mac=COMMAND + P) (PC=CONTROL + P)
  • Underline text (Mac=COMMAND + U) (PC=CONTROL + U)
  • Italicize text (Mac=COMMAND + I) (PC=CONTROL + I)
  • Bold selected text (Mac=COMMAND + B) (PC=CONTROL + B)
  • Switch between open programs (Mac=COMMAND + B) (PC=CONTROL + B)

I use all of these shortcuts on any given day. However, this is just a partial list! These embedded functions allow you to spend less time using the mouse and more time using the keyboard. Keeping your hands on the keys helps keep the flow going when you’re riding a wave of momentum. You’ll type faster with fewer distractions, and you’ll have the chance to practice using your pinky fingers.

Read Related: Best Book Writing Software

4. Use Typing Tutors

Some software applications are intended to help beginners increase their typing speed. For example, RapidTyping and Key Advantage Typing will teach you the basics of finger positioning. You can also take online typing lessons that match your skill level (beginner, intermediate and advanced). These applications offer competitive gameplay where you can challenge other players, and the player with the highest WPM wins.

Practicing with these typing applications will help your typing speed. Play during a break, or entertain yourself if you encounter writer’s block.

5. Avoid Bad Typing Habits

Typing with only your index fingers isn’t the only bad habit out there. If you’re an avid gamer, your left hand may be more dominant than the right because your right hand is always using the mouse. Because of this, there will be instances when your left index finger reaches out for keys like Y, U, H, N, 7, 8, and 9.

You can also develop WASD Syndrome, where your left middle finger rests on the W key, your left ring finger rests on the A key, your left index finger rests on the D key, and your left pinky finger rests on the shift key. The proper resting position for fingers is the middle row (A-S-D-F and J-K-L-;) with your thumbs on the spacebar.

Try to avoid these bad habits since they lower your typing speed. First, by wasting time reaching for inappropriate keys, and second, by pressing the wrong key when your fingers are not in the proper resting position.

6. Develop Proper Posture

Believe it or not, proper posture impacts your typing speed. It can enhance your concentration and increase the flexibility of your fingers. Here are a few tips that will help your typing speed:

  • Keep your head straight
  • Place your elbows close to your body
  • Relax your shoulders and neck
  • Use proper back support
  • Avoid resting your wrists on the desk
  • Put your feet flat on the ground

Improper posture while typing may cause tension on the hands, and can be detrimental in the long run. Consider doing some stretching before a long session of typing to warm up your fingers and to avoid injury.

7. Type, Type and Type Some More

If you’ve been writing a while, you’ll agree that being a great author doesn’t happen overnight. You need constant practice to develop perfect sentences. The principle is the same with typing. You won’t increase your typing speed by practicing for just one day. The average person takes a week to memorize the key positions and a month to execute touch typing. The secret behind high wpm is typing daily. You’ll encounter mistakes, and you’ll use the backspace key often, but eventually, you’ll master the art of typing without even noticing it.

Conclusion

Having a typing speed of 60–80 wpm is an advantage for writers. It’s not impossible to achieve a high wpm—even up to 100 wpm or more—with dedication and daily practice. It will be hard in the beginning but will pay off in the end.

What’s your typing speed? Check out this free online typing test to see where you are now, then put the above seven tips into practice for 6-8 weeks and retake the test. Come back here and leave a comment to let us know how much you’ve improved!

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