Holy crap. Normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention when other writers talk about their word counts — we all work at different rates, what matters is quality and not quantity, et cetera, et cetera. But I’ll admit that my eyes maybe bugged out of my head a little when I read that Brian Keene wrote 80,000 words over the course of a single weekend. (For those of you who aren’t writers, that’s the length of an entire novel.)
The most I’ve ever managed in one day was 19,000 words, during the marathon home stretch of a novel. It’s nothing to sneeze at, but still, I don’t feel quite so cocky about it any more . . . .
This past weekend was designated as a writing marathon, meaning all I did during my waking hours was write. This is not a normal mode of operation for me, but after a month-long and much-needed vacation, I’m behind on deadlines and had to get caught up on things.
On Friday, I wrote 40,000 words. Unfortunately, I posted about it on Twitter, and in doing so, caused a minor stir. Many people were happy for me (and I thank them). A few were skeptical. [....]
The first thing you need to understand is that this doesn’t work for everybody. Writing 40,000 words in one day is really only practical for three things — pulp, porn, and first drafts. [....]
It was common for the pulp writers of old to write 40,000 a day. This is because they had no choice. They wanted to eat and to earn their pay, they were required to crank out journeyman novels and stories to beat ridiculous deadlines and for a low rate. (In truth, not much has changed since then… and I see a whole bunch of mid-listers, ghost writers, and media tie-in scribes nodding silently).
So how did he do it? He describes the process as “NO DISTRACTIONS,” “KNOWING WHERE I WAS GOING AHEAD OF TIME,” and “QUANTITY OVER QUALITY.” Check out the link below for more detail.
It’s pretty damn impressive, but not something you can do all the time, naturally. Nor should you worry about trying to do that. He concludes:
The important thing to remember is this — writers get too hung up on word counts. It doesn’t matter if you produce 1,000 words per day or 10,000 words per day. What matters is that you produce words. Novels and stories don’t write themselves. Ass in chair, fingers on keyboard, repeat as necessary is the best method I know. If you’ve written 1,000 words today and someone else has written twice that amount, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’ve written. Be proud of what you’ve produced.
– How To Write 80,000 Words In A Weekend – Brian Keene
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