How To Maximize Your Word Count And Write More Every Day

Man, that blog title is soulless, isn’t it? I tried coming up with something funny — something about word vomit? something-something faster pussycat, write, write? — and it just wasn’t happening. So, despite sounding like some kind of mid-90s infomercial, I figure it’s best to just say what the post is actually about so we’re all on the same page and nobody thinks I’m going to vomit on them or throw inky-pawed cats at their head. Right? Right. So —

A few months back I wrote up a zero-fuckery writing plan of 350 words per day that gets you a novel in a year. It is the slow-and-steady method — it’s you chipping away at your Magnum Opus (which is Latin for “Giant Penguin”) until one day a novel is staring up at you, goo-slick and trembling, a creative effort finally born into your world.

The other day, though, I had a short Twitter discussion (a “twitscussion”) with a few other authors based on a tweet by the smoldering, sardonic lothario, Andrew T. Shaffer — who, point of fact, shares the same middle name as Craig T. Nelson, which is “Tits.” Herr Doktor Shaffer is at Romantic Times, where he was listening to David Morrell speak. Shaffer reported:

The discussion that ensued was about writing fast and how many books an author can cram into a given year. Most folks seem to write one, maybe two. Matt Forbeck writes like, I think 52 books a year? That guy must write on the toilet, in the car, in his sleep.

I think last year I wrote… four books? Plus some script work. And not to mention around 250,000 words here at the blog alone. By the end of May this year, I will have written three novels — one of them a 120,000-word Leviathan of YA cornpunk weirdness.

I generally write about 3,000 brand new shiny so-fresh-and-so-clean words per day.

Some of you may want to escalate your word count and punt that slow-and-steady approach right in the See You Next Tuesday. As such, if you want to write MORE FASTER NOW NOW NOW, well, shit, the best I can do is pretend I’m an expert and offer up some tips.

Hide your children. Let us begin.

Do Your Writing In The Morning

Writing in the morning has more potential than writing in the evening and here’s why: writing at the end of the day means the candle is burning down. The timer is ticking. You’re watching the horizon eat the sun and with it, the remaining hours before sweet, sweet slumber.

Ah, but write in the morning? You have the entire day ahead of you. The day is practically bloated with hours — fuck, a whole 24 of them, last I heard. (Unless you’re on some kind of distant interstellar colony reading this in the future, at which point I hope you’re enjoying your 30-hour-days and are also staying safe from the Slabbering Meteorsquid — they’re such assholes, those guys. I mean, really. Acid blood? HELLO, UNORIGINAL.)

Write at the end of the day, you’re racing the clock.

Write at the fore of the day, you own the clock.

Wake Up An Hour Earlier

Morning writing might mean waking up an hour earlier. Over time, as the septic infection called “adulthood” has seeped into my marrow, I’ve managed to get up earlier and earlier — 8AM to 7AM to 6:30 to 6 and now sometimes 5:30 or even 5 o’clock in the goddamn morning. I didn’t even know the morning had a five o’clock. I was like, WHAT CRASS HOUR IS THIS? DO I SEE A FIVE UPON MY WATCH? IS THIS DINNER TIME? IS THERE AN ECLIPSE? WHERE IS MY APERITIF?

Still, I have a toddler. The toddler is a voracious time-eater. He will wolf down your attention and productivity and time by dint of his cuteness. (And occasionally by dint of his wild, banshee-like howls of teething rage.) Getting up earlier is me trying to beat him to wakefulness.

And I get a lot more done when I get up earlier. By the time the tiny human wakes up, I usually have 1500 words already written and one cup of coffee already in the well of my belly.

Coffee

If I don’t drink coffee in the morning, I don’t write nearly as much. Coffee is the Earth’s blood. IT LUBRICATES THE GEARS. Without it, everything seizes up — a fly stuck in peanut butter. I don’t drink a ton of it — which means that when I really need a high-octane writing day with a lot of word count, I can drink an extra cup (or seven) and actually reap the rewards.

Snatch Time From Life’s Thieving Jaws And Use It To Write

When life gives you no time, MAKE TIME TRAVELING LEMONADE.

That can’t be right. But it’ll have to do.

What I mean is, life is a low place that fills up quickly with whatever comes its way — water, sand, mud, elk scat, the tears of all the world’s children, whatever. Your time will swiftly fall prey to the nibbles and pecks of the Things-To-Do-Bird: you gotta go to work, go to the store, take out the trash, artificially inseminate that baboon HEY I SAID ARTIFICIALLY PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON. Time fills up fast. Life is greedy and eager to exploit.

If you’re going to write a lot, you’re going to need to feint and duck, stick and move, and reach in to grab fistfuls of time-flesh and use it for your own sinister purposes: in this case, writing. Got a lunch break? Write. Sitting at a long stop light? Take a few quick voice notes on your phone. Lounging around in post-coital baboon afterglow? Put some words to paper, goddamnit.

I used to work a job where I started out as customer service and ended up as a “systems manager,” whatever that means, and during my several years at the company I would constantly be hiding the windows of the work I was supposed to be doing for the company and opening a word processor window and typing out a quick 250 words here and there. A dick move against the company, though they were known for their own dick moves against employees.

Hey, whatever. WRITER GONNA WRITE.

Schedules And Deadlines

God, that’s like the most boring-est version of Dungeons & Dragons ever. “You’ve been attacked by the Gelatinous Cubicle! Your sword is +4 against spreadsheets! Wade into the Temple of Excelemental Evil!” Blech. Still. Still! Having a schedule keeps me sane and helps me meet my writing goals. I toss all the projects I need to write into a spreadsheet. I calculate them by day how much I have to write to get ’em done. I mark deadlines and potential start dates. I doodle wangs and vajeenies in the margins just to keep it real.

This helps me hit my targets and keep me on track.

Plan, Prep, Plot, Scheme

I outline not because I like it but because I must. I am a pantser by heart, a plotter by necessity. I have to know at least a little bit where my story is going — and here’s the mileage that it gets you: when you come to the page clueless in the morning, you spend some of your time just dicking around. Thinking. Starting. Stopping. More thinking. Drinking vodka (aka “Daddy’s Magic Muse Water”). Napping. A lot of “not actually writing, yet” activities.

Ah, but if you start the day with a mission statement already in play thanks to an outline, you can jump in, eschew any planning the day might require, and just start writing. The goal is to give as much of your time to actually telling the story as you can.

Politely Ask For The Time You Need

You will not get the time you need to write unless you ask for it.

It’s that simple.

Nobody’s psychic. You want to write, you need to tell your wife, husband, children, pets, live-in love-slave, robot butler — “Hey, I really need an hour today to do this because it’s important to me.” Part of it’s because everyone assumes it’s a hobby. They assume you’ll fill your copious free time (HA HA HA FREE TIME GOOD ONE, ME *self-five*) with writing as you would if you were building model airplanes or doing Nude Sunbathing Full-Contact Sudoku.

If it’s important to you, you need to gesticulate wildly and ask for the time.

And if they don’t give it to you, well, then that becomes a whole different conversation.

Write With Your Internal Editor Gagged And Shoved In A Box

Editing as you go is a perfectly viable way to write.

It is not a perfectly viable way to write quickly and to maximize your word count.

Editing as you go is recursive — write a thing, go back over that same thing once, twice, as many times as your obsessive nature demands. You’re treading the same ground. Walking in the same footprints. Like I say: totally viable in terms of process if that’s what works. But it doesn’t move you forward very quickly and that’s the goal, here, at least in terms of this post —

To write a lot, and to do it with some speed.

Which means you need to shut your internal editor up. Elbow him in the throat and shove him in a duffel bag. Remind him his time will come. The editor always gets the last laugh.

Silence Self-Doubt With Hollowpoint Bullets Packed With Your Indifference

Worse than your internal editor is that spiritual goblin that nests over your creative and intellectual impulse centers, using his greasy ovipositor to plant quivering eggs of sulfurous self-doubt all over your well-being. You sit there and write and hate everything about what you’re doing and want to punch your characters, your paragraphs, your whole story, yourself.

Self-doubt is a sticky mud, indeed.

It will slow you down.

And, tut-tut-tut, we cannot have that. No we cannot.

You need to shut that shit up. Stopper your self-doubt up. Brick the demon into a dark grotto, Cask of Amontillado-style. And you say, well, great, but how do I do that? And here I don’t have any great advice. The secret, actually, isn’t in the silencing of your self-doubt.

The secret is in ignoring it.

We’re not particularly smart about our own authorial worth while in the midst of writing something. We love what sucks and hate what works and at least for me, during writing a project my headspace starts to look like the back of my television: a thousand wires braided together, no idea which one is to the cable box and the Xbox and that’s the optical audio and the HEY IS THAT LICORICE ew black licorice ptoo ptoo ptoo. Point is, you start to lose the sense of what feeling is moored to what part of your story. It’s all just a tangle of wires.

Your self-doubt just ain’t that goddamn effective. Or accurate.

It’s like the weatherman. It’s rarely right and yet we listen anyway.

Plus, even when it is right, trying to address it in the middle of the draft is a waste of time. You have time to examine your work and see what holds water and what doesn’t, and that time is called “after you finished the first draft of that thing that you’re writing.”

So, ignore it. It’s going to be there. Pretend you don’t hear it. Tune it out. It is rarely meaningful or efficient. It’s damn sure not helpful. So: pay that fucking asshole no mind at all.

That’s maybe the biggest secret to writing a lot of words really, really fast: you need to blacken your self-doubt sensors with a boot and — say it with me —

JUST. KEEP. WRITING.

Hopefully, these tips will get you writing a little more per day — even carving out an additional 500 words in a day is a good start. Again, that’s not to say this is for everyone: but sometimes deadlines or aspirations demand you hit the accelerator. And these tips may help you do it.

95 comments

  • The early morning thing is so true.

    It’s 06:12 here on the southern tip of Africa and I’ve been up a little over an hour. There’s something special about sitting on the couch in 3 layers of clothing, huddled under the blanket with my laptop keeping my legs warm (and my feet falling asleep while the rest of me is awake) and banging out some word counts. Granted, these are work wordcounts, but once these few projects are out the way, I’ll keep the habit and continue to get up in the cold-and-dark hours.

    If you want to “make time”, then first thing in the morning is a great place to start.

  • Yeah, I’m a five am kinda guy as well…because I too need to beat the toddler and baby up. Also, you’ve got the entire day ahead of you, and if you write early in the morning that doesn’t mean you can’t also write late into the night (when your wife and your spawn are asleep!)

  • My very best writing lately has always happened between 5 and 7 AM, although in my case that’s usually at the end of my day — staying up late to crank words out while everybody else in the world is asleep.

  • I’ve gone back to the old school way of writing a story, i.e., by longhand. It’s time-consuming and tedious, and I don’t look forward to the day when I’m shifting gears and typing up my chicken scratch. That said, I’ve never been more focused whenever I’m writing as I’m completely cut out from anything computer-related, plus writing in cursive puts me in a different kind of zone than when I’m just typing. I think it’s got a lot to do with the fact that the inner editor doesn’t have a choice but to shut up since it’s a drag having to scratch out entire passages and start over. I simply write what comes to mind, and when it doesn’t sit well, I quickly scribble notes along the margins, marking those passages and giving myself instructions on how to rewrite them during the “chicken scratch translation” process.

    I also bring my notebook with me wherever I go, so I could jot down passages or even mere sentences whenever something strikes me. And I’ve found that I actually write more this way than when I’m typing right off the bat.

    Time-wise, I write in the middle of the day, but I tend to be more creative and inspired at night. I’m hoping to train myself to get going in the early morning, though, as I love the “new day quietness” of mornings as opposed to the “end of the day tomb-like silence” of the late night.

  • You’ve convinced me. I’m getting up at 5am tomorrow (I usually get up at 5.45 anyway, it’s not to big a stretch) and I’m going to bloody write. I know it will be worth it, but when it’s freezing and dark and my cat is still cuddled up under the blankets, looking at me like I’m insane for leaving the toasty, warm bed, I’ll be cursing, Wendig.

    (Of course, when this effective method sees that I begin to finish things, I’ll be singing your praises. I’m allowed to be contrary if I want to!)

  • Been getting up with #5amWritersClub on Twitter for a while now. This is my only time child-free in the day, and if I want anything I do to be quality, well shit, it isn’t going to happen while I’m wrangling rabid monkey children and feeding them their rabid monkey grub. So 5am it is. That, and I give myself a strict 1000 word a day diet. And I make sure I hit it, even if some of it happens in 20 word spurts between baths. Writer gonna write baby.

    –Julie

    PS: Your trash had the stench of chicken carcass and utter abandon today. Delectable.

  • May 7, 2013 at 8:04 AM // Reply

    My Internal Editor is a nasty, slobbering, schoolyard bully. I must master strategic new Kung Fu moves to take down the bitch.
    Tanis
    PS 5am, ha, that’s a good one.

  • How I wish this was written when I was writing my dissertation, it would have saved me so much time and stress. I fall in to the trap of editing as I go until I reach a point where I am spinning my wheels and demotivated as sin. That and writing in an evening. I think I may have try getting up earlier, I’m up at 4am when I am at work so keeping the routine going should be simple enough.

  • May 7, 2013 at 8:46 AM // Reply

    What a PERFECT follow up to asking all us whiney writers How’s the Writing Going.

    You rock Chuck . . . as always.

  • Sorry, Chuck, but I have to disagree with the first three. Since I have that stupid day job thing, there is a timer on morning writing for me. Whereas with the night, if it’s 2am and I’m on a roll, I’mma bloody well keep writing til I feel like stopping and sleep be damned. Also, I can’t drink coffee since it upsets my stomach. (I do love the less caffeinated diet coke though!)

    • Oh, it’s not a guarantee or a universal or anything. But when I rocked the myriad day jobs, I still forced myself to get up an hour early to write — it’s doable, though you are then racing against the GOTTA GO TO WORK clock, admittedly. Still, it was a good way to carve out 500-1000 words even before I hit the road. And it made sure I got enough sleep at night — writing at night killed my sleep patterns and dented my productivity.

      Though, again, that’s me — YMMV!

      — c.

    • My day job are my kids. I sometimes can snatch an hour or two before my youngest wakes up, but my best and favorite time to write is after 10pm when all the little ones are asleep. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. I write the most words with the clearest thoughts. I do write during the day, but it is harder for me to focus due to kidlet distractions and daily to-do lists that just get longer.

      Not saying Chuck isn’t right. He’s right about a LOT of things, especially the setting aside time to write. That’s the thing I have to do, no matter what time of day it is. I have to make time without the ambient household noise so I can do it, and for me, that time is at night.

    • I find the “get up an hour earlier” mantra even MORE important with a day job. I’m often too mentally wiped out at the end of a work day to get any good writing done.

      God, 5am’s a bitch, though.

  • Definitely agree with the stealing time where you can find it! If you work at a desk job and/or have terrible handwriting, I can suggest Yarny.me and Evernote—Yarny is a lot like a regular word processor but it’s online so you can access it from anywhere you have internet. Evernote is a free software that you can put on your phone, computer, tablet, etc. etc. and you can save pictures and web-clippings and notes. These are handy for me when my ideas used to be on hundreds of scraps of paper that were constantly wandering away.

  • I wrote a blog recently about the things I do to stay on track or build a writing routine. One of them was also writing early or at least getting a good night’s sleep. A good stretch of sleep is better than even coffee, in my opinion. While I do like about a half a cup with my breakfast, too much makes me feel agitated and more distracted.

    I also suggest not eating on a full stomach, getting some exercise, and making sure you’re working on a project that really excites you.

    I know a guy who wrote novels on his Blackberry on his breaks at work. He also gets up before work in the morning to write and probably writes some when he gets home too. I don’t have a full-time job, but I have a husband and two kids and a household to run. My friend has a 50 hour work week and three kids and also a ton of family responsibilities, and he winds up being about twice as productive as I am, on track to have 5 novels done this year while I’m maybe on track to MAYBE do three. I think it’s because he just has one fuck of a great work ethic, and it’s honed by a lot of practice. So it’s more than possible to make the time to be more productive. You just have to know what you’re capable of under the best possible conditions and then try to create those conditions on a regular basis.

  • No NO NO I WILL NEVER acknowledge the existence of hours before 8 o’clock. NEVER.
    I’ve found that, if your timetable allows you, the night is the best time of the day to write. I always get loads of works done during the night, when I can.

  • I got totes inspired to up my word count looking at Dean Wesley Smith’s live-blogging effort to write a 70,000 word contracted novel in 7-10 days. He consistently wrote 7,000+ words a day, and if you follow DWS at all you know that he does that pretty much every day and he also follows Heinlein’s Rules religiously. Here’s the link to Day 1 if anyone wants to check it out (read the comments too, he answers a lot of questions): http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=8935

    Now, I’m not (yet) a professional writer and I still have YOUNG kids at home, so I can’t follow his regimen exactly. Yours is much more doable, except that I loathe both mornings AND coffee. But I can comfortably get 1500-2000 words a day with plenty of time to ass around, so I’m trying to push myself to get to 5000 a day. That would be so awesome!

  • I’m doing the longhand in the notebook thing at the moment and am glad for it. I tend to steal my time on the bus mostly, on the way in and on the way out. Downside of course is that its then chickenscratch compounded by potholes. But it is progress, sweet sweet progress. The major upside is that I am (mostly) disconnected from the rest of the world during that time.

    I’m also writing shorts for the most part at the moment, but if/when I try to tackle long form again plotting and planning are going to be step 1 just so I can keep myself on track.

  • I think the important thing is finding a routine. I find my mind is most fertile in the evening hours, even after I’ve worked a full day. I come home, have dinner with my wife, watch something in the DVR. By then, it’s 8:30 p.m. or so and I have a few hours to write. I can get 2,000 to 4,000 words a day this way. I’m in bed by midnight or 12:30, giving me a good seven hours of sleep.

    Do what works best for you. The important part is not to think about writing or talk about writing. You’ve got to actually WRITE. Find a routine and stick to it.

  • Spot-on, Oh Great Word-Master! I especially needed to hear that about planning and plotting so that I don’t putz around for half my writing time figuring out what I’m doing.

    I’m lucky–I get from about 8:00 (when the kids are both out the door to school and breakfast is cleared up) to maybe 11:00 or 11:30 to do all my Mom-chores and write. So the less housework, the more writing.

    My tip for maximizing word count: carry that notebook (I also mostly write longhand, or rather back-leaning lefty blend of printing and cursive only readable my yours truly) with you EVERYWHERE. I have gotten amazing amounts written in the doctor’s office, dentist’s waiting room, the five minutes before a meeting starts. . . I start most days by transferring the previous day’s scrawl to the computer, which saves me from spending weeks typing when the draft is done, and also jump-starts the writing process.

    Revision time is tougher, but that’s a different blog post.

  • I wake up an hour earlier, usually around six, when the tail end of the dreams are just fading, then I chase them with words, usually writing long hand (yeah, that’s a thing of mine) I like to think I write more when I write long hand than when I use the laptop. So I write using the laptop only when I’m in the ‘zone’, around mid-morning, usually in the middle of whatever it is am writing. I write the beginning and the end of all projects in long hand.

    Maybe its just psychological, but when writing long hand, I have to keep the pen moving constantly. It works for me. (Well, except, transcribing those illegible words is a bitch!)

  • One problem Ive had with writing quickly is not interpriting what Im doing. When I go 1,250 – 1,500 words a day, im calm, not rushing. Flying through at the speed of light means more work later in editing.

    And just because you write quickly doesnt make the novel bad. Good for some, bad for others. A comfort zone is needed, so long as you at least do 350 words. Any less and you’re a mokey splattering poo against the wall.

  • Morning definitely has potential to be the most productive time of the day. But for me, night is the most creative. I like to make a list of things to write in the evening, and when I wake up, I try to write as fast as possible, before my thoughts start distracting me.

  • May 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM // Reply

    Hi Chuck,
    Thanks so much for this…especially about the self-doubt monster. I’ve been fighting with it a lot lately. Your posts always bring a smile to my face and a quiver to the self-doubt monster.
    Art harder,
    Melinda

  • Setting my coffee pot to auto brew was HOOJ. Yesterday morning, which was another “fuck you I’m Monday again” almost defeated me. Then, thirty seconds after my alarm went off I heard the beep beep beep of the pot finishing in the kitchen. Salvation! And salivation. Can’t waste a nice pot of coffee. I’ve also been booking a room during lunch to leave my desk, and no one needs them since everyone sane is having a nice lunch on a patio somewhere. Gets me through the day.

  • Aww, I want inky-pawed cats thrown at my head! It sounds cute. I’ve always wanted it, although I didn’t know that until I read this post. God, I really am a crazy cat lady.

  • Great post with lots of useful information on the “chore” of butt-in-chair writing. Thanks for posting.

    Dean Wesley Smith (www.deanwesleysmith.com) recently posted a blog series (Ghost Blog: Day “n”) as he was ghosting a novel. Every day, he listed his actual work schedule and what he did during the day. The comments — and his replies — are as interesting and informative as his blogs. Well worth checking out. He covers much the same ground as you do in your post here.

  • Wow. All of you folks have kids that sleep in really late. You lucky ducks. It took me four years to train one of mine to sleep in til 6.

  • Writing in the morning is nice, because if you get up early enough no one has updated Facebook/Twitter since you went to sleep! Which is boring and kind of pisses me off, but at least I don’t have to work so hard at eliminating distractions.

  • As always, good stuff. Some of which works for me, some which doesn’t. I make my Inner Editor wait until I’m at my soul-crushingly boring day job, so he doesn’t waste couch-time I could be using to write. Phone+bluetooth+Dropbox+coolreader+ivona text-to-speech (Gwyneth, because Welsh-English makes me happy.) I listen to what I’ve written over the last few days while I slog through my role as tertiary-sub-processor adjunct sub-creature. Then I whip out a notepad to jot down Stuff That Needs Fixing, from half-thoughts to redundantant phrases to “the fact I’m tuning out my own writing means it’s an infodump…” The ear catches thing the eye auto-corrects, I’ve found, and I do it on my bosses time, without actually wasting my bosses money.

  • Great post, thanks heaps. I used to have an extremely impressive writing schedule but it has since fallen into disarray. Actually I should’ve started writing an hour ago, if I’d gotten up an hour earlier. What gets me is editing. First draft novels are all well and good but how to you slog through it a second, third, fourth and hundredth time, to make it presentable?

  • Excellent post – I am “lucky” (I guess that’s a good word for it) in that I have three hours on a train each day for my commute, meaning time with my laptop that I have nothing else to do during. I found during the course of penning the first draft of my last novel I could average 4,000 words a day in this manner. I couldn’t keep that up consistently due to other commitments, but I think I manage it well enough for a long enough time period to quickly create drafts.

    Editing, though, is a much much different story 🙂

  • “Morning writing might mean waking up an hour earlier. Over time, as the septic infection called “adulthood” has seeped into my marrow, I’ve managed to get up earlier and earlier — 8AM to 7AM to 6:30 to 6 and now sometimes 5:30 or even 5 o’clock in the goddamn morning. I didn’t even know the morning had a five o’clock. I was like, WHAT CRASS HOUR IS THIS? DO I SEE A FIVE UPON MY WATCH? IS THIS DINNER TIME? IS THERE AN ECLIPSE? WHERE IS MY APERITIF?”

    HAHAHAHA! I wet my Spiderman undies over this line. I get up at 4 a.m., stretch, write and dress for work all before I leave at 5 a.m. It’s not much in an hour or so but it’s good enough.

  • Thanks again, as always great advice. The hardest thing for me, most of the time, is just starting. I love the idea of writing in the morning, I just need to get myself in the habit of going to bed earlier.

  • I really wish I could keep you on my shoulder all day, like my own writerly, foul-mouthed Jimminy Cricket. Thanks as always for the wisdom and encouragement.

  • I get up at 3am to write a lot of days. Why? It’s quiet, I get a couple of hours in, and I write the fastest then. If it’s a work day I’m done before I get ready for work, and I generally start work at 5am, so the routine fits. I do go to bed Hellishly early though. Oft beating my 8yr old to bed and asking him to tuck me in at 6.30pm.

    Love early nights and early mornings. CRAY. I know. Farmer genes perhaps.

    Writing craft stuff or research before bed helps me get the writing flow happening in the early morn.

    Plus if I want to do a work out there is time for that too. Yeah. Pushed it over the line to CRAY CRAY. I’m that kinda person WTF

  • Nice you mentioned a few things Ive been telling the wife I need to start doing. My biggest problem with geting up early is getting all the kids and then myself into bed at a decent time at night. Its gonna be hard but Im going to force myself to start.
    Couldnt help feeling like I should have been writing instead of reading that though, haha.

  • I also have a toddler, but for me, writing always happens at night, when he goes to bed. If I start at 8pm, I can write for hours and hours if I want, since the only thing I “have” to do is sleep. Sleep isn’t necessarily a must. And the house is totally silent, which helps. When I’m on deadline (which I’ve been for almost a year now, with this 6 book contract), I write 2k to 5k words a night and I’m done!

    But the tip about shoving your internal editor into a box? YES. THIS.

  • Haha. Nice Bloom County reference. Great comic strip.

    I write slowly, myself, but I do so because I spend some time trying to get the sentences put together just right. I view them as little puzzles. I’ve been told by friends to forget about it and just blow through, but it’s just not my style. I take solace in journalist A. J. Liebling’s quote, “I can write faster than anyone who can write better, and I can write better than anyone who can write faster.” I feel that the speed with which someone writes is part of their personal writing style and shouldn’t be worried about as long as they continue to write.

    Ulysses was written in 7 years. Twilight was written in 2 months. It all depends on your style and what you’re going for. Though, I’ll shoot myself in the dome if I’m still working on this novel in 6 years. Haha.

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