Yes, you read that right. How to write faster. Well, more specifically, how to write faster when you’re short on writing time. A little hint: you’re going to need to get organized!

Something I get asked quite often is how I write so fast when sprinting. I know the silent question is, how do I write so fast and, lately, publish so slow. The second part of that question, of course, is that life has been kicking me roughly in the backside and kept the amount of time I can actually sit down and write to a minimum, but when I do get time to write, I don’t waste a single second of it.

Now, I will fully admit that a part of the grander answer is my typing speed, and the only way to up your typing speed, unfortunately, is practice. A lot of practice. Probably also some trauma from middle school when we transitioned from typewriters to keyboards and our keyboards were blank and we just had to type and type and lose a point on our tests for every error, so you know, I don’t recommend that, but!

The other part of the answer is because of how I outline! 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m working on a manuscript, I spend hours upon hours writing and rewriting it in my head. I had a college professor once call it dashboard time – he would write something while sitting in his car, entirely in his head, and hope that by the time he got home, he would be able to write it all down, despite his brain working faster than his fingers did. I will second the sentiment – my fingers definitely do not move as fast as my brain does. And yes, okay, in this modern age, you can totally do voice notes and then transcribe them, but that is something I have tried time and time again, and audio notes just don’t hit for me the same way they probably do for others.

So, instead, I outline. A lot. Like, good god, I probably spend more time typing out various notes and outlines than I do on writing the actually book itself.

Because with limited time to actually sit down and write, I don’t waste any of it, confident in knowing that, if I have to leave mid-thought. I can pick right back up where I left off.

Now, I already know some of you are sitting here scratching your heads, because you’ve seen my overall plot outlines before, and the spreadsheets I use to plan out all of the chapters in a book, and you’re wondering what I am even talking about right now. And, yes, okay, a grand overall outline is something useful, but not to the degree I’m talking about right now. Yes, that is an outline – for the BOOK.

What I’m talking about right now? That’s a chapter outline… and maybe outline is the wrong word for it. Bullet points? Beats? Movements? I don’t know.

I just call it word vomit, and then I clean up the mess as I write the book itself.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, I think. So, let’s take it back to the beginning.

How to outline, and in turn, write faster.

Setting up your Book Outline

I know, I already said that what I’ve been talking about CHAPTER outlines, but it feels crucial to touch upon the BOOK outline first, before we get too far ahead of ourselves.

Now, no matter which method you use to plan your book, whether it be save the cat or romancing the beat, you’re going to have, in essence, plot points that take you from start to finish. With those, you can then break it down further into the book itself. If you’ve never written a book before, it can probably feel daunting to answer these questions, but…

Figure out how many chapters you want to have (30 is a nice number), how many words you want to aim for the entire book to be (90k is nice), and then divide that out to figure out how many words you want each chapter to be (look at that, we came to 3k). Once you have these numbers, you’re going to need to take that 9 plot points or 12 or 16 or however many you have, and EXPAND.

Expand it until you have as many plot points as you have chapters. And that’s your book outline.

(Does this make sense? Probably not. Therefore, I’m going to show you how I do it, granted with romance so if that’s not your genre I’m sorry, but yolo.)

I personally use Romancing the Beat, by Gwen Hayes, and I split my books into a four act structure. I personally like to have my third act (the breakup) really punch you, so it’s shorter for me, and yeah! But, here we go. How I take the first 5 beats for act 1 and drag it into a total of 8 chapters.


Chapter 1 – Meet FMC

Chapter 2 – Meet MMC

Chapter 3 – Meet Cute

Chapter 4 – The Internal Debate

Chapter 5 – Flirting / Sexual Interactions

Chapter 6 – More Smut

Chapter 7 – Smutty Ending

Chapter 8 – I have to do this again

You can somewhat see, by looking at this, how it fits with Romancing the Beats, which is Meet MC1, Meet MC2, Meet Cute, No Way, and Adhesion, and then shape it into my own. You, yourself, will have a completely different set up from me, obviously, but…

Figure out your chapter count. Figure out your acts. Split it all up. Assign it to a chapter. Rationalize how many words you need for each plot point. And then you have an outline.


Yeah…. that’s about it. Plot Points, Acts, Split Up, Assign, Chapters.

Or something like that.



Alright, I know some of y’all crazy pants hop all over your timeline and write whatever chapter you feel like, but that’s not me. I write from start to finish, chapter 1 to chapter 30, not skipping ahead at all, because otherwise, I will totally have a thousand plot holes and there will lack any form of cohesion. That stated, this sometimes creates the problem that I am writing chapter 6, but I can’t stop thinking about chapter 22. And this is where CHAPTER OUTLINE/NOTES come into play.

Should I be calling this how to write chapter notes? Maybe, but I already called this Chapter Outlines, and I’m not turning this car around.

By going ahead and assigning plot points to a chapter number, my notes stay organized, and I can already have a file in 4thewords with the chapter number I can easily find later and have my notes already written down. I will say as well, if I reach a point where I realize a plot point assigned to one chapter needs to be split, I WILL NOT SPLIT IT YET. Instead, I add a scene split line, but go with five asterisks instead of three, on either side of NEW CHAPTER.

Now, am I creating more work for myself later down the road? Sure, yes, a little, BUT BY DOING SO, this means that I can KEEP WRITING without having to update my notes on chapters, etc. I can go back once I’m in the editing phase and split it on my chapter tracker, etc, all at once, and I don’t have to worry about notes I’ve already written for certain chapters having the wrong chapter number.

(I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you’re not wrong for how you do things, I’m not right for how I do things, but this works for me, so do what works for you.)

And so, as I am working on a manuscript, if I have dashboard or shower thoughts on chapters I’m not ready to write, I can go ahead and sit down and WRITE DOWN MY THOUGHTS. This also gives me an opportunity to go ahead and make notes of things that happened in past chapters that I want to mention in future chapters as well. Really, this whole, writing a chapter outline thing, it’s more about STAYING ORGANIZED and keeping my thoughts and my notes all in a logical place that makes it easy for me to work on them in the future.

I swear, this may not make sense, but I’m giving all of the key details now before I continue, because what comes next is, well, an example.

Basically, how I do my outlining, so that you can see how I set myself up to sit down and write, and you can use these tools to help you keep your thoughts and plans organized as well.

(ADHD is not winning this battle.)

Please note, the chapter outline I am about to give you is somewhat based on an IRL moment for me that I’m planning to put in a future book lol. So don’t worry, I’ll actually write it one day.


FMC walks into the bar bathroom.

There’s a drunk woman crying looking at herself in the mirror. By herself.

FMC makes a mental note to check in her after she pees, because she has to go now.

FMC pees then fights the good fight to get her pants back up.

FMC goes to wash her hands and the drunk woman is trying to wipe the tears off her face.

FMC asks if the drunk woman is okay, asks what’s going on.

Drunk woman, doesn’t look at FMC or the mirror, says she’s crying because she got beer on her favorite shoes.

FMC looks down and sees the woman is wearing black boots and the liquid isn’t visible.

FMC makes a mental note she doesn’t understand but hey she’ll console the woman anyways.

***After all, there was no telling what else was going on in this woman’s life. Maybe it really was only about the boots. Maybe the boots were special for sentimental reasons. Or maybe it was just the last straw that broke her after a long day. She knew what that was like, having that one small thing break you completely. It would sound absurd to try and explain it to someone else, but that didn’t make her feelings any less valid, nor did it change the fact that after a thousand things go wrong, sometimes you need a good cry.

Drunk woman suddenly lets out a shriek, startling the FMC.

***”Oh my god, you look so beautiful! Look at you! Your dress and your hair and your makeup! You look so amazing! Oh my God, tell me you’re here with someone who tells you you look like a Goddess, because you do. A divine Goddess. Oh my god, you look so good in that. Amazing color for you, seriously!”

FMC is amused and confused by the sudden change in topic from the drunk woman.

Drunk compliments are honest compliments. She already knew she looked good in this outfit, but it was nice to have someone else point it out.

Awkwardly tries to thank her for the compliments, but still concerned why she is crying.

Drunk woman then continues on saying she looks like a mess now, but that’s okay, her night is over.

FMC still has questions but top concern is now making sure the woman is gettnig home safe.

FMC offers to walk her out, help her find her friends.

Drunk woman says she’s there alone now.

FMC realizes her phone is at the table with MMC, so can’t call for a ride.

FMC takes her by the hand, and leads drunk woman out to the bar area.

Drunk woman playing with her hair.

MMC takes notice immediately and asks if everything is okay.

FMC says she needs to find her new friend a ride home really quick.

MMC tells her not to worry about it and stay right there.

MMC gets a chair and helps Drunk woman into it.

FMC watches MMC walk off with phone in hand

CHAPTER THROWBACK – previous time MMC worried about others “insert quote from that moment here”

MMC returns with a water bottle, still sealed, for the drunk woman and offers it to her.

Holds up phone and says he has a taxi on the way.

Drunk Woman says she can’t pay for one, but MMC says he has it covered.

FMC fights the warm fuzzies in her belly from how kind and good he is.

FMC gives MMC a tiny smile while still letting Drunk woman pet her hair.

Drunk Woman says she’s a goddess again

MMC agrees, and looks at her with love.


So, when you look at this example, you can see how I broke down each action that would take place in the chapter, along with words that are already written and ready to be thrown into the manuscript, and notes/quote from a previous chapter, that I want to reference here. 

With these notes already sorted into a complete chapter outline, I can now sit down and start writing the chapter itself, following the outline I have written here. As I write, I cross off each item as I go, so that I can stay on track with where I’m at in the plot without having to double back to reread it, nor do I forget anything that was important to be included in this chapter.

No, the notes don’t need to be that expansive, but the more you have, the easier it is to follow the path.

I’ve already written and rewritten and planned and plotted out and mapped the actions of this chapter a hundred times over in my head. Now, it’s just time to actually write the words itself, and with a clear path on how I want this chapter to progress, it’s easier and faster, making better use of my writing time.

Chapter Outlines like this? Or at the very least, my chapter notes? I can write those down on a notepad, or type it up with my phone, or have it be a voice note I transcribe. And with having individual files/sheets for each chapter already set up ahead of time, along with all of the plot points already assigned to a chapter number, it means that my random thoughts and plans can all be safely tucked away until I have a chance to actually write them.

AND THIS INCLUDES OTHER THINGS AS WELL! Like random conflicts that could become future plot holes, or having various story threads that don’t get tied up by the end. When I introduce something new to the story, I make sure to note in later chapters that these items need to be resolved or discussed or noted later on down the road.

And that saves me time when it comes to future editing. Rather than saying OH MY GOD WAIT I FORGOT ABOUT THIS, I never forgot it to begin with, because my notes already told me to not forget mentioning something.


Now again, just because this is the way I organize my notes and plan my chapters doesn’t mean you have to do it this way, but if you are wondering how to write faster in the future when you’re sitting down to do the actual writing, this is how I do it.

I can jot down a quick note, puke out random words, leave myself a reminder, or even make progress on my work while otherwise distracted, any old time. And when I have a good time to sit down and write with zero distractions, I don’t have to waste my time doing things like looking for notes I left myself, references in previous chapters, or even do the research. I ALREADY DID THAT. IT’S SITTING THERE WAITING FOR ME.

All I have to do is sit down and take those chaotic notes and thoughts, and write them into beautiful words.

Good luck with your writing, my dears. I believe in you!