How to Write 10,000 Words a Day…(I wish)

Rena George Word counts 11 Comments

 How many words can you write in a day – 2,000w, 5,000w, 10,000w?

I suppose most of us are in the 1,000w to 2,000w bracket. And if you can achieve this, day in day out, then that’s not a bad result…unless, of course, there’s a way of doing better.

Chrissie Loveday, a writer I really admire, revealed in a recent comment on The Pocketeers blog that she could, on a good day, achieve 5,000 words. And Sally Quilford, one of the most prolific writers of Pocket Novels I know, recently told me she puts her high word count down to the fact that she’s a touch typist and can whiz through a first draft at top speed.

Now me…I’m more your snail’s pace kind of writer, mainly because I do a lot of checking and researching along the way. I know the sensible advice is not to do this, but to rattle on without any backtracking. I just don’t feel comfortable ignoring a page that I know will be  sprinkled with literals, spelling mistakes, not to mention other glaring errors. So it doesn’t come easily for me to ignore all of this and forge on regardless in the pursuit of that elusive high word count.

Some of you will already be familiar with Rachel Aaron’s plan, but in case you’re not, it’s here.

Her suggestions are probably targeted more to novel writing than short stories. But it’s like all advice. You take what is useful to you, and forget the rest.

Her strategy is based on knowing what you’re going to write before you write it. A committed planner, she has a pretty good idea where every scene is going before she starts. She takes five minutes before a writing session to sketch out in a notebook what is going to happen – short descriptions of places, rough outlines of conversations.

Of course, going back to check details, change spelling or grammar – all those compulsive little things that I do  – is a big ‘No No’  I completely understand this, and I don’t expect to be able to change the habits of a lifetime overnight.

Even if I could hit the 10K target once a week, or even once a month, it would still represent a great chunk of extra output, so I am definitely going to try.

I know these method won’t work for every writer, and striving for such a high output will not be practical for many of us…but 10K words a day! Wow! Who wouldn’t want to write that fast?

…And, just to keep me motivated, this is the glass of chilled wine I’ll be enjoying at the end of the day. Cheers!

PS. If you have another pet way for getting that word count up, please do tell.

Comments 11

  1. This is a great post, Rena – and a great link, thank you 🙂 I used to write about 5000 words a day when my kids were small and it was precisely because I was scribbling in my notebooks while they played and using my keyboard time for getting it all down.
    Like you I have got into the habit of compulsive checking and editing as I go and that really does slow you down.
    But oh, 10,000 words a day – of that I can only dream 🙂
    That glass of wine looks very tempting x

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      Hi Teresa, nice to see you here.
      It’s interesting that you used to write into notebooks before going to the computer. Don’t you do that any more?
      I love writing longhand. (when arthritic fingers allow) There’s something about the connection of the brain and pen on paper that just makes the words flow.
      Some might feel this is just doubling the work, but since it all gets a light edit when keyed into the computer it’s not actually wasted time.

  2. I do still use notebooks, but in the old days I used to write everything longhand first. Now I tend to just use notebooks for notes or to get me started which is a shame because I think you are right about that all important connection between brain and pen and paper 🙂

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  4. 10,000 words a day! Wouldn’t that be something? Some days I can go along at pretty fast clip and then other days it’s more like a very painful crawl. I think what helps me is turning off all the distractions that abound in my household–especially the t.v. I used to be able to leave it on and half listen to a program but no more. I can’t even listen to music anymore while I write! All must be quiet or my attention span vanishes. I’ve read of a trick that helps me get ready to write–go back and read the last 5 pages you wrote to remind you where you are. I tend to jump right in and that makes for a very choppy transition from one day’s writing to the next. I agree–that wine looks marvelous!

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    Going back to read over the previous few pages before launching in again is a really good idea, Nell. I don’t currently do that, but I’m certainly going to give it a try.
    There’s no way I could have a TV or even music on when I write either – far too distracting. I’ll need all the concentration I can muster if I’m going to write
    10,000 words a day – phew!

  6. Just tried to figure out how many pages 10,000 words a day would be. Yikes! I’d have carpel tunnel for sure by the end of the month! But I do need to be more productive. I wonder if it would work to start out with 2,000 and build on it? I can’t help thinking that when it doesn’t feel like work, my writing is better…today it feels like work!

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    Nell, if I could write 10,000 words a day I could complete and edit a pocket novel in a week…Wow!
    Of course, I would probably have to spend the following seven days lying in a darkened room nursing my bleeding fingers and trying to calm my word-weary mind.
    But it’s like everything else in life. Take the information that’s of use to you and discard the rest.
    I do actually believe there are some great tips in Rachel Aaron’s plan, and taking those few minutes each day to jot down a few notes on that day’s writing is one of them.
    I think you’re right, Nell. When you hit one of those brilliant times when a story ‘writes itself’ and writing doesn’t feel like hard grind any more, well that’s when you produce your best work.

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