Writing over 10k words every day technique.....


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Well I started tracking myself. 30mins in and 520 raw words. At this rate it will take me 10 hours to get to 10k.
But it makes such a difference knowing where I spent those thirty minutes.

I think the only constant I come across in the never ending quest to 'work smart' is the idea of that being consistent ! Personally I think that everybody has to find a word count that suits them and their particular style and whilst you need to push yourself, what ultimately matters is that you get the words out that you need to get out.

But strive to do that every day, without fail. Become obsessive in your adherence to that. I must admit that when I get the chance to work in an environment with no web connectivity, that the words seem to flow but I also try and take a rather stoic attitude towards such matters. I write when I write. If it is in an ideal spot with no distractions then fantastic but that is not always an option.

Yes, it would be wonderful to be able to stroll out to my mythical stone cabin up in the Olive Groves, prepare myself a cup of something hot, then sit at my hand-crafted desk whilst taking inspiration from the wondrous view of the Adriatic sea spread out in front of me but if I have to 'plot up' whilst sitting in my old banger of a car in a rain-swept south London car-park waiting for my kids to compete in what ever activity is the high light of their day and get on with finishing that bloody first draft chapter, that has become akin to a form of self-inflicted torture, then c'est la vie. Writing is, in my opinion, a trade when all is said and done and nobody says a carpenter has to be in the right environment before he can bang some nails in straight so why should we be any different ?
5,000 words per day? I think that's like a production factory, and at least for me a large chapter. Therefore I'd knock a 100,000 word novel out in a month! Maybe that works for some, but I think quality, not quantity is more important. I think 2,000 is reasonable, any more is a bonus. This is a craft where you are being original, and therefore a designer of sorts. Go with what works for you, although the article can get you some useful ideas. ;)
It would take me literally 10 hours to write 10K a day, and that would also mean consistent concentration during those ten hours. Honestly? I've done more than that in one day, but my brain was mush and I could not sustain it day after day without hating the work for it. For me, 10K is too much in one day unless it's a one-time thing and I'm up against a deadline.

Everyone is different. I know authors who don't also work another full time job like I do and they write 10K a day. I also know authors who do nothing but write, and yet they are thrilled if they write 500 words a day. I think the key to having a word count goal is the same as any other goal. First of all, it has to be realistic And when you're talking word counts, you are the only judge of what is realistic for you and your unique circumstances.

I'm familiar with Rachel Aaron's article. Her reasons for wanting to increase her daily word count might not apply to everyone. The worst trap you can fall into is thinking you have to keep up with someone else, or strive to write as much as they do, in order to be successful. Not true.

Be happy in your own skin first, and then figure out what is a realistic, sustainable word count goal for you. If you try to mimic someone else simply for the sake of doing so, you've already set yourself up to fail because that's not a healthy reason for motivation.

My daily goal is between 4 and 5K, but it took me over two years to find that "magic" number for me. Most of the time, I'm lucky if I reach 4K a day, but if it's clean work and I'm happy with where the story is going, then I've done a good job with those 4,000 words. I'm constantly readjusting my writing schedule to allow for things that happen to keep me from achieving my word count goal that day. It's called life. :) Some things I can control, others I cannot. And there are days when I simply cannot get into the right frame of mind so I take a break from it. That's necessary, too, or you'll burn out quickly.

Hope this helps. :)
10K a day would be impossible for me. I read somewhere about James Patterson's writing team. He sets the plot and the structure, chapter starts and ends, and the team fill in the gaps using his style guide. A factory, as Alistair said (sorry don't know how to link to author yet).

For fiction, 800 words in a day is good for me. Complex plots need a lot of reworking and thought. I set a wordcount target for the book, and every day record my wordcount in Excel by day and chapter. That way I feel I'm making progress and staying sane.

In commercial writing I target 500 words an hour which might include some research.

I definitely recommend tracking your wordcount.

I’m not really impressed by this. 10k words a day is HUGE. It’s colossal... and it’s probably unsustainable. I would seriously question the quality of those words, too.

Now, some people have jobs that require them to produce this sort of output – keyboard jockeys who scribble away for newsy websites, for example... they’re constantly under pressure to produce more, more, more. But most writers don’t need to produce that sort of output-on-steroids.

Good writing is scarce, and always will be. It’s a craft that needs honing... not mass-producing.

And in any case, the general trend now is towards shorter works, published more frequently... word count is less important than it was a few years ago.
I liken this to counting calories.

Don't count calories, eat the right things and stop when your body tells you. The same goes for writing. Write what feels good and stop when your body tells you.

I write between 2,000 to 6,000 words a day, though some days I only write 400 odd words. The only reason I can hit a fairly consistent 5,000 is words is because I talk out my story line almost constantly.

For example;
While writing the 2nd half of book 1, I was talking (not making notes just conversing) with hubby, constantly about the whole of book 2 and beginning of book 3. By the time book 1 was finished, I went straight on to writing book 2 which took me only a few months because the story was already completely worked out in my head. Same with book 3 which, I am in the completion stages of and right now all I talk about is books 4 and 5 and book 1 of series 2.

At the end of the day, the number of words you write per day is directly linked to how passionate you are about the story while you are writing. Each author has different methods of staying engaged with their characters.

My advice would be to try not to count words, that in itself is a form of procrastination and could be really deflating. Plus it also encourages you to write just to reach a number.

Quality over quantity xx
Ok - lots of perspectives to take from. I agree with much that has been said. The one motivating factor for me is tracking myself. I used to have timesheets when I worked in the city. I had to charge £109 per hour (over 10 years ago goodness knows what the charge out rate is now!) as a trainee so every minute had to be accounted for accurately. This reminds me of that very effective method. Although the currency is no longer 'time is money' but the words. Quantity vs quality always stands even with a first draft.

Getting the story moving forward is the focus and priority is getting everything down for now before the pruning begins. Thankfully I have a chapter by chapter summary already written. As a visual learner I have to see how the characters play out before I begin. Trouble is I've not been disciplined to sit and type it out. Sketching a bit here and there. I like quantifiers so the timesheet is a nifty tool. So far managed to 1271 words in one hour. I never knew I could do that before. Feeling excited about it but as mentioned many times it's about writing religiously every day that is key.

As with all these things take what works and adapt it for oneself.
Have you tried music? I literally have a soundtrack per character or character set, that I listen to when nipping to the shops etc... gets the old brain ticking and helps me actually see my characters (movie style) in my head. X
I'm a firm believer in finding a method that works for you, as an individual. We're each unique, and one method certainly will not work for all. :)

Yes. It helps me knowing some of the choices I can pick from. I love that I can learn from far more experienced writers here whilst I find my feet in this lovely literary litopian land :D.
Yikes, although of know about planning out a novel, I've never done it and seriously doubt I ever will. I really have no idea where the story or the characters are going to go. So much so, that although mine are always set in Britain (16th century unless time travel is used), my characters have ended up in Jerusalem! I'm only half way through, and I have absolutely no idea how this is going to end. Camelot could rise again, or more likely Arthur's son will fail. I think it's fun to not actually know until you write it, but then I am kinda weird... ;)
And two other points I feel are important to this discussion are the length of what you're writing, and whether or not you have a time limit based on contractual obligations.

My novels are each around 40K. There's a huge difference, psychologically, to writing what you know will be around 40K finished, as opposed to facing 100K or more to finish. I love to write longer stories, too, but to keep up with both reader demand and the contractual obligations I have to my publishers, I stick to more manageable lengths. This also gives me days to work on edits as they come in, which again have time limits - often a week or less to return.

This is more than my passion. It's my business. It's part of my livelihood. And just like any business, you don't make money unless you work it. Businesses have productivity goals, and that's what my daily word counts are - my productivity goals.
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Ah, I couldn't do something like this. Well, sometimes I could, but then I'd read back and wonder what I was on about. When I first started writing Kidnapping Death's Daughter I had given myself a month (there was a reason for that!) and I did write it in that month, but the mad rush of it just wasn't enjoyable. I felt relief when it was over and not the good kind, not "Yes! I did it! I wrote my first book!" but "Never again." It took stepping away from it and addressing both what I wanted the story to actually be and how I wanted to work as a writer to start feeling like this was what I wanted to spend my time doing.

I think we're obsessed with time and output. In most jobs there's a way to measure how well someone is working and usually that's something to do with how much is produced and in how little time. I don't think writing should go down that route. We shouldn't see large word count in short time as something to aspire to, it's just one way another writer works. Like Tara has said, we each have our own productivity goals and I think that as long as you're still writing that's all that matters. I mean, that's kind of the beauty about this: we all have our own way. From that article, I'm glad Rachel Aaron found hers! But, I'm still trying to figure out mine. My brain only behaves a few days/weeks a month and so I'm trying to work out the best way to still be productive. Working extra hard on the up days, leaving notes and plans for the down days. I love reading how other people write, but it's just for curiosity and I know I couldn't mimic it.

That being said, I always liked what Roald Dahl said he did. Think about a story for a long time, run if through your mind over and over again. Then when you're finally ready to write set yourself a time in the day and don't go over it, even if you're on a roll. I think he wrote 10am-2pm. The idea of stopping even when you're on a high appealed to me because from my understanding it would mean the next day you'd be really enthusiastic to start writing again. The worst thing I find is when you write and write and then get stuck and walk away because you just know you're going back to a problem you need to solve!

I like music, @Karen Gray! I can't write to music, but listening to music and just zoning out is one way I form scenes in my head. I've had one song on repeat for over an hour before just doing this haha! I think I'll try writing to game music at some point. Supposedly it's composed to not be distracting but to somehow make your brain work harder... or summat like that! :D
Good points!! :) I listen to music while I write, too, but it's to block out everything else. I have a playlist that just repeats so after a while it's more like white noise and I don't even hear it. But I can't write with people talking around me, or dogs barking outside, planes flying overhead, etc., etc., etc. When I have my own private island one day it will be peaceful and quiet. LOL!!
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Actually I usually play music constantly. Well in my case it drowns out a rather noisy tinitus problem, but when writing I have a set of inspirational music that suits the writing ;)
I sometimes listen to music whilst I write, I prefer to switch the t.v. off and don't like empty air, cold silence is un-nerving, I feel like I'm being watched
Lol! I have no such luck... I write to the tune of, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child, Room on the Broom, Frozen, The Croods or My Little Pony - Rainbow Rocks. With intermittent "Mummy, I need a hot chocolate!", "Mummy, pause it, I need a wee!", "Mummy!!! Matthew's stinky!", " Mummy, I need a dress so I can dance", "Mummy, I'm hungry" and many many other things lol... Sophie just never ever stops haha

My Music, visualisation time is done while walking to the shops or walking round the block after dropping trouble tot at nursery ;)

On a side note, she got a bow and arrows at Stirling castle today while I took photos to remind me where everything is (Sruighlea Castle in my book actually is Stirling castle - it's its Gaidhlig name) and for adding bits and bobs to my site/blog.

SHe is shooting EVERYTHING. God help me when I bring my horsebow home :/
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Gonna try music today. Let's see advice to take on board today:

1. Write every day
2. Quality over quantity
3. Music - got to find something that works for me...maybe be classical.

I will still use the tracking method and see if my story progresses further.
My daily goal is between 4 and 5K, but it took me over two years to find that "magic" number for me. Most of the time, I'm lucky if I reach 4K a day, but if it's clean work and I'm happy with where the story is going, then I've done a good job with those 4,000 words.

You aside, Tara, Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors on the planet, and I believe his goal is 2,000 words per day.
I think 2,000 is reasonable. Also bear i mind it took J K Rowlings seven years to finish her first book, although the others followed a little more quickly.
You aside, Tara, Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors on the planet, and I believe his goal is 2,000 words per day.
I'm betting there are quite a few prolific authors who still write their own books. (*cough! cough! James Patterson and Nora Roberts*) And Stephen's books aren't formulaic (yes, I went there! LOL!!) like a romance novel is. But I mean let's be fair here. What I write has to follow a certain pattern because it's what readers expect. That does make the writing go faster than it likely would for someone who is sitting down to write another genre, or a blend of them like Stephen does. And I can't touch his level of writing expertise. :) But thank you for your kind words. ;)
I have playlists for my characters- I change pov's every few chapters and use music as a tool to get into my character's heads... I find it very helpful. I also have a playlist for writing that helps me zone in on a certain emotion or experience. I do use music to tune out any other noise, however. I am easily distracted! :)

I have written close to 10,000 in 24 hours, but my hands hurt from typing! Maybe I am a wimp, but there you have it! Typically I write a scene a day- anywhere from 2000-5000 words a day. Sometimes inspiration will strike and I will come back to my keyboard after picking up my son from the bus stop and feeding the family dinner... but usually I keep my writing to a typical m-f 10-4 work day. I am fortunate to not be working an "other job" at the moment in order to finish this trilogy- a compromise I made with my husband years ago. :)

I do think there is something to what other's have said about writing so much so often and sacrificing quality. I find taking my story at a slightly slower pace means less tedious editing later. That being said... if a goal of 10000 a day is what it takes to get you to focus on your writing and make things happen, go for it! Just don't beat yourself up if you aren't able to keep up. My pinkies are cramping just imagining! :)
Yikes, I don't ever see hitting 10,000 in one day!? For me that's like 2 and a half chapters (as mine are around 4,000 average). I thought 17 pages which is roughly 5,000 was a good effort. Anyway, I guess the point is as long as the quality is there, it doesn't matter. Everyone is different, as they should be.
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