Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How Many Words Should I Write a Day?

How many words should you write a day? Well, I'll give you the easy answer first. You should write at least 1,000 words a day.
Where did I get that number? I just picked a number that sounded kind of big and typed it out. And the truth is, that's pretty much what everyone does. There is no hard and fast rule as to how many words you should write a day. Frustrating. Isn't it!?
So how many words should you really write a day? As many as is humanly possible.
I have a personal goal of 2,000 words a day, but I don't always succeed. Some days life gets in the way and I don't write a single word.
I try to sit down every day and write as many words (or as many scenes) as I can.
Hemingway's writing desk in Key West
But wait. Are you one of those people who needs a quiet room to write? Or you can't write a word until the house is clean? Or you need a large chunk of time to write?
Well, too bad! I'm pretty sure Stephen King wrote in a closet! A freaking closet!! And in my imagination there was a screaming baby or two on the other side of the door. Damn you Joe Hill:)
If the only time you write is when circumstances are ideal you will never finish your book. Take whatever time you can get. Steal it from your husband, and yes, even your kids if you have to, but make writing a priority.
The King
And what if you really don't have the time to sit down and write? Then think about the book. Plot it out in your head. Introduce yourself to the characters. Figure out the ending.
I want you to go to bed thinking about this book and wake up in the middle of the night with it on your mind.
It should take up so much space in your head that you can't NOT write the thing.
Don't waste your time day dreaming about how much money you'll make or what people will think when you get published. Don't Google the amount of a book advance and don't pretend you're doing an interview with Oprah Winfrey about how you got your amazing book idea.
Just think about your plot and how you can put it into a novel. Bring your computer along with you and carve out the time to actually write. Sign up for NaNo or give yourself a deadline for the first draft and then eat, drink, sleep, and write your novel into existence.
And if that is too much to handle then just write 1,000 words a day, but remember, 1,000 words a day is for sissies. Stephen King is not a sissy. If you want to get published I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be either.


  1. Very good post, E. L. We should aim to set goals, but we can't always write under ideal circumstances. It's a good reminder for us. We all need to write regularly if we want to succeed.

  2. So true! You are very wise! You should write a post for me:) Is that a thing? Guest posting? I'm very new to all of this! Obviously! No pressure. I know how busy things get!