Tuesday, May 12, 2009

War of Words

So, how many words should a writer write, if a writer could write words? (Sorry, slipped into my nursery rhyme mode for a moment.)

One prolific author is said to churn out 10,000 words a day. At roughly 100,000 words per book, it's no surprise that she has several available at any given time. She's written best-seller after best-seller. I used to love her books. Now they all seem kind of the same. Does she ever differ from her established formula? Probably, but not that I've noticed.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. She's found a large and loyal audience. One that she doesn't want to disappoint. And man, oh man, is she payin' the bills!

Another novelist has said that, when pressed with a deadline, he can sit down at the beginning of a writing session and before he's done for the day, produce 20,000 words. Now that's a lot of pressure!

It seems like most full-time writers fall somewhere in the 2,000-4,000 words a day category. That's some pretty serious work, as far as I'm concerned—and a place to which I aspire.

Right now, I'm stoked when I hit 1,000. My most recent high is 1,262. My average is about 600. Not nearly enough, but that's the truth of it.

So. Should I give up writing because I will probably never generate 10,000 words a day? How about the writer who struggles to find time to write 300? Should they quit? Not hardly.

What we have to do is find our rhythm. Find the place where we can get into a steady zone and accept that pace. Doesn't mean we can't work to get better. To produce more. But comparing ourselves to writers who crank out huge numbers of words (even words that sell) won't make our words any better.

I'm just sayin'.

The best writing has no lace on its sleeves. ~WALT WHITMAN

CR: Dead On by Robert W. Walker (available in July)

It's all better with friends.


  1. If I have the time to devote to my WIP, I can crank out about 4000 words/day. Most of the time though, that is not the case. Most days I'm like you, lucky to hit 1200. For now, that's perfectly okay. :)

  2. Today's goal: 1500. Please oh please oh please oh please.