How to Write 10,000 Words a Day

This is a little divergent for me, but someone asked me to  write a small guide to how I write 10,000 words in a day. Alas, here is how I do it:

1) Write what you know and write what you enjoy writing.
I know this seems little a commonplace to say, but when I was in writing in university, I was constantly made to try other genres and styles. While this is good for someone who wants to write but may not know what, for someone confident of what she enjoys writing, segregating oneself from the desired genre/style is detrimental to the writer. If you enjoy writing fantasy, then write fantasy. If you enjoy writing romance, etc. then write it.

2) Do not write with the intent of getting published.
This is what causes most of us to give up on books halfway through. Do not worry about being published until after the book is complete. Lit Agents might be interested in book pitches when the book is close to being done, but publishers won't accept unfinished novels. You must write for the joy of writing, for the joy of telling a story. For many years, when I was writing the Arustan Series, I got halfway through books and sent them out to publishers thinking I would finish them while I was waiting for a response on my first 3 chapters. When I received no responses, I became discouraged and stopped writing.

3) Do not hinder your characters.
If you would like your plot to go one way and your characters are telling you to go another, you must listen to them. If you defy them, you might find yourself with a terrible case of writer's block. Follow your characters first. Then if what you have written it doesn't work, rewrite.

4) Learn when to let go.
If something isn't working for you no matter how many times you rewrite it, set it aside and write something else. The important thing is to keep writing and keep with your daily writing. If it's something you really want to finish, you will come back to it. I promise. I wrote most of Khantara in 3 weeks. I took two weeks to write book 6 of the series and then went back to finish Khantara. If the work is important to you and is meant to be finished, it will be. I have abandoned many books to favour ones I felt would be better. Don't be afraid to write something else even if you haven't finished your current book.

5)Write through writer's block.
Write through it any way you can. I find short stories are the best medicine for this because they get you writing just enough that you begin something but don't lock you into a long-term commitment. When I began the Haanta Series, I hadn't written by that time for about 6 months. I wrote just one short story a day, and soon one was two and two was three.

6) Write every day.
Yes. You DO have time. I don't want to hear it. I used to say that too, and then I realized I did have time to write. I just wasn't willing to give up something to do so. I began with just an hour a day. That was over a year ago, and now I can do little else but write. It is easy to make the excuse. Do not make it and do not compromise the time you set aside for writing. Ever. I don't care what it is. Once you gain the habit, you will want to write every day for a longer period.   

7) Ignore rejection letters.
 Unless the rejection letter has anything constructive in it, ignore it. Do not save them, do not put them on your wall. Throw them out. Delete them, and keep going. I have gotten a few rejections, but I'm fortunate enough to have gotten helpful ones. The first rejection I received recommended that I omit the fact that my books were a series. The reason for this is so that the publisher doesn't feel committed to publish the whole series if the first book doesn't sell. This information was very helpful and even got me a few acceptance letters in return.

8) Do not be afraid to write out of order
Many people write in a linear fashion. I do not. I cannot. I write books out of sequence all the time. This actually helps me contain the plot, as strange as that might sound. I found that when I wrote in a more linear fashion, I would always want to write a connecting story but would force myself not to and then forget what I wanted to write.

9) Write down EVERYTHING
You never know what may turn out to be a story: a line of dialogue, a random idea, anything. Many chapters I have written have come from just two lines of dialogue. Keep notebooks everywhere, have an electronic writing device on you. I've written on napkins with crayons before. You can do it as well.

10) Have a creative partner
Sometimes we need someone to cheer us on. Made by Twisk over MSN
I cannot stress how important this is. If it weren't for Twisk, I would not write as quickly as I do. She is constantly asking me questions on plot devises, character histories, etc. She knows just as much as I do about the world and the series and she is always there to give me a kick in the ass when I feel down about my writing.

A year and a half ago, I struggled to write a chapter a day. Now, I write from 6,000-10,000 words a day and finish writing books in a few weeks. There's no reason that everyone else cannot do the same. This is only what works for me. If it does not work for you, I encourage you to continue with other methods. Some people are late night writers only, some are only panic writers, etc. Do what is best for your writing.


  1. Wow. I thought writing 200 words a day was awesome! Of course, it is tough finding more than fifteen minutes with two little ones hanging on my legs all day...
    I gave up my 'me' time (normally reading or napping) during my daughters' afternoon nap time to write & edit. The time flies much too fast, but it's so worth it. Last week I actually got 1000 words written before someone woke up demanding mommy's arms.
    Thanks for sharing! I'm going to be stubborn about my writing time now...

  2. In truth, Terri, it does not matter how much you write, just that you do. One can write 100,000 words in a day and never be pleased with the quality of the piece, but if you write even 50 words you really love, then that is what is important. :D

  3. This was excellent advice. I learned a lot from this. I worried about things being out of order. So I'm glad that it's not an unusual thing to do.

  4. Thank you for this post. It inspired me to put on my writer hat again. Heh.

  5. Hm, first page on Google search and only four comments? I blogged about this yesterday, and now I'm trying to research it a bit to see what others think. I can't do it every day, but if I can do it twice a week I feel like I'll be way ahead, and will avoid writers' block that usually comes after I've written every single day for a couple months. The rest is so rejuvenating, and getting 10,000 words a day only takes 6 or 7 hours and is pretty easy so long as there's no pressure for me to do it. Your #2 is very helpful to take the pressure off.

    Thanks, Michelle. I'll be sharing this and checking out your other posts.

  6. Thank you SOO much. I am currently working with my NaNoWriMo Novel (National Novel Writing Month, just in case you don't know what that is), and I am WAY behind, what with school and vacation, and extra homework because I'm on vacation, and... oh, right, no excuses, got it. Anyways, thanks for the advice! I'll DEFINITELY be using this in the future! Or now. :)


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