One of my heros is Isaac Asimov. I even had the honor of having him endorse my first book "Einstein's Dream." He referred to it as "An up-to-date view of the universe ... beautifully written. Every page is a pleasure." My editor told me about taking him to lunch, and that he had told her that he really enjoyed the book.
One of the main reasons Asimov is my hero is that he was one of the most prolific writers of all time, and of course, he was also mainly a popular science writer, as I am. Over his lifetime he wrote over 300 books; in 1957, for example, he wrote a book every two months. I remember him mentioning that he had completed a book in ten days, and thought that he had better wait a while before sending it to his publisher because he was worried that they would think it was done too fast.
To be prolific he obviously had to be a very fast writer. What was his secret? For one thing, his first drafts were almost perfect (he no doubt perfected this by writing as much as he did); he said he only read what he had written through once and usually only made a few changes. It was then ready for the publsher. And according to his publishers his writing required little editing.
All of us would like to write faster, but I don't think many of us could match Asimov. Nevertheless we would like to improve our speed, but of course, writing fast can't be our only goal. You have to write accurately, clear, and better at the same time. If you write fast and nobody wants to read what you've written because it is so bad, you haven't achieved much.
One of the first things you will have to do to write faster is get better organized. A certain number of steps are needed in writing an article or a chapter in a book. You have to begin by doing some research, and it's not a good idea to try to skip this stage, It will soon become obvious that you don't know what you are talking about. You can use reference material (books and magazines) and the internet for research, but one of the things I've found to be very helpful is to copy out all the information you will need (at least the critical points). This helps plant it firmly in your mind. You may think this is slowing you down, but in the long run, it isn't.
Once you've finished your research, you have to get things organized. First, try to get them organized in your head. Think about what you have learned. Go through it in your mind several times. Then you're ready to organize it on paper; in other words, you're ready for an outline, and again, this is not a step you should skip. Do a good job, and it is best to do it in stages; start with a rough outline, then go back over it and fill in more topics. And when you're finished, go through it again, adding even more topics, until you're finally satisfied.
The last stage is writing it up, and you should be well-primed by now. You've thought everything over thoroughly and in the process of making up an outline you've got things organized in your mind. The next step, then, is to write, and for this, try to write the entire article without making any changes. Just let it flow out. The changes will come with the revisions.
I have a lot more to say about this process in my book "Your Book" which will be out in a couple of months. Visit my website at BarryParkerbooks.com to read more about it. I'll also have more to say about "writing fast, but accurately" in future posts.