There are many writers who are renowned for the sheer volume of words that they have written in the course of their literary career.
Isaac Asimov, the science fiction writer, produced over 400 volumes of work and was commended for his work with prestigious awards. What did it take for him to write so much during his lifetime? Writer’s Digest magazine asked him for the secret to his prolific writing and he said, “I guess I’m prolific because I have a simple and straightforward style.”
One author, Sean Platt, author of an article, “How to Write an Article in Less than 20 Minutes” published eleven books in the course of nine months. That is basically writing, editing and publishing over one new book each month for almost a year.
How was he able to produce such a large body of work in less than a year? Platt states: “Get a timer and set it for five minutes. Think of a topic and write three prompts, these can be as short as a word or as long as a question. Start writing. Don’t stop until the timer goes off. Now read over what you wrote. Your writing is better than you thought it would be, right?
This won’t seem easy until it finally is but it will happen almost immediately. Again, don’t concern yourself with quality. You can always go back and edit though you won’t need to clean up nearly as much as you think.”
Secrets to Writing A Million Words
To become such a productive writer, it is important that you take the time to learn skills that will improve your writing. You can read books and blogs about writing and attend writing classes. You will then be able to apply what you’ve learned to your writing.
A key component of good writing though is remembering to edit. Georges Simenon, the author of 500 books, described his approach to the craft of writing when he said, “I have always tried to write in a simple way using down-to-earth and not abstract words.”
You also have to understand your purpose for writing. Is it a love of storytelling that motivates you? Is it the way you wish to earn a living? Is your mission to establish a literary reputation and fame and fortune?
Alexandre Dumas, the author of 277 books, wrote: “Infatuated, half through conceit, half through love of my art, I achieve the impossible working as no one else ever works.”
A highly motivated writer will write every day. John Creasey, the author of 564 books, had a set word count for each day that he writes, and stated, “How many words a day do I write? Between six and seven thousand. And how many hours does that take? Three on a good day, as high as thirteen on a bad one.”
How To Write A Book Every Year
The Daily Word Count
It is indeed possible to become as prolific a writer as the aforementioned writers mentioned in this article. Setting a daily word count will help you to potentially produce a similar output as these authors.
For example, if your goal is to produce 100 books at 75,000 words per books over the span of 30 years, you would have to write 1,000 words a day for five days a week and for 50 weeks in a year. Seems doable, if you have the discipline.
Or, you can start humbly with smaller but a manageable goal. In other words, mathematically speaking:
Monday – Friday: Write 300 words each day
Saturday, Sunday: Write 750 words each day
Weekly total: 3000 words
Yearly total: 156,000 words = That’s roughly 1-2 books each year (after editing)
The Habit Of Reading
What makes a writer even more successful is setting aside time to read. On a personal note, I have been influenced by the books that I’ve read and my stories reflect those inspirations.
Henri Junttila, a freelance writer, had another example of this when he said, “For example, I help change makers build a thriving online business so when I’m reading sales copy and it moves me to buy, I backtrack. I go inside and look at what it was that moved me. Then I think about how I can use that in my writing and business.”
Another key to success is being confident in your ability to make an impact with your writing. Rachel Toor, an associate professor of creative writing at Eastern Washington University, stated, “Perhaps it’s confidence, perhaps it’s Quixote-like delusion, but to be a prolific writer you have to believe that what you’re doing matters. If you second guess at every step, you’ll soon be going backward.”
A writer I know likes to say that over the years he has “trained” his family not to expect him to show up for certain things because they know his work comes first. You have to be willing to risk seeming narcissistic and arrogant even if you don’t like to think of yourself that way. The work takes priority.
The Next Step Is Yours To Take
I hope that the advice contributed by the numerous authors cited within this article will perhaps allow you to produce plenty of creative strings-of-words in your lifetime. It may be challenging at times to find the right words but remember that every great writer struggles with “writer’s block.”
I know I certainly do and what helps is thinking about the subject of your piece as you go about your day and then coming up with the ideas that will shape the direction of your writing.
You have to believe in yourself as a writer and know that with practice you can develop the habits of authors who have published a large body of work. What I’ve learned through my studies of the practices of these prolific authors is that it may indeed be possible to write a billion words in a lifetime or even less time particularly if you truly love to write.
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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have a writing ritual, please tell me more about your practice. I am always on the lookout for awesome life-and-productivity hacks.