Daily word count is a daily concern for me. As a writer with my company specializing in written content, it’s my job to be prolific. If I don’t knock enough words every day, I don’t earn a living.
The good news is I have multiple ongoing projects that require my literary services. Not only do I have retainer accounts that pay me every month for content, I have been commissioned to ghost-write several books. Additionally, I am paid to coach other aspiring writers pen their own material. I’m not telling you this information to brag about how much work I’ve got lined up. I mention it to demonstrate the practical reality of a working writer juggling creativity with commerce. Ultimately, my daily output predicts how well I am managing my responsibilities to my clients.
In recent months, I have been averaging 3,000 words a day in order to not fall behind on my work schedule.
An important caveat here: When I say I write 3,000 words a day, this refers to days when I am strictly batching for writing. What does that mean?
Well, as an entrepreneur whose business is dependent on relationships, I must do many other things besides writing. I attend networking events, meet with (potential) clients, and of course, invoice and do all the boring paper work stuff. Therefore, there are “catch up” days when I do not put in 3,000 words. I may write 2,000 words on these days. Then on the days in which I batch writing, I actually write 6,000 to 8,000 words. You see how this averages out?
One more thing- when I mention these numbers, they refer to first draft-writing. The object of this practice is to figuratively vomit all my ideas onto the page so I can edit the material later. For me, the hard part when writing is always the initial draft. That’s why I try to write quickly. The fun part is editing all that goop later.
Okay, so enough about my output. Let’s look at some other authors. The idea behind supplying you these numbers is to help you see where you land on the scale of productivity. And before someone writes in to tell me it’s all about quality, not quantity, let it be known I agree.
But all those soon-to-be quality words have to come from somewhere first.
Barbara Kingsolver: 1,000
Ernest Hemingway: 500
Jack London: 1,500
Jon Creasey: 6,000
Mark Twain: 1,400
Maya Angelou: 2,500
Norman Mailer: 3,000
R.F. Delderfield: 10,000
Stephen King: 2,000
W. Somerset Maugham: 1,000