How To Write 10,000 Words a Week

Since pushing myself (and getting a little over-enthusiastic at my abilities), I’ve come to settle into a rhythm of a comfortable 10,000 words a week.

I know that probably doesn’t sound impressive considering some authors can manage nearly that per day (I’m looking at you Dean Wesley Smith and Rachel Aaron), but with a three-year old still at home (who is currently applying for the most annoying girl in the world when mummy is having computer time), a surly seven-year old who hogs the computer to watch minecraft videos (what’s he going to be like as a teenager?), and an obsession with decorating blogs (oooh look what she did with a piece of string and a picture frame), I think 10,000 words a week is still pretty damn awesome.

Plus who wants to compete to be the word count winner when it stresses you out? No thank you – I have enough stress in my life. Is that banana smushed into the couch again – groan.

So how do you write 10,000 words a week when you have a crazy life?

Planning and good time management.

  1. Push yourself to see where your limit is.
    I tried 15,000 words a week (my thinking was that I could finish a 60,000 novel in a month on that word count). Couldn’t do it. I hurt my shoulders, back, and got stressed. (I already had a shoulder cuff injury that bothered me, but that’s another story). But by starting higher than you think you can do, you’ll see that you can do more than you believe. I wouldn’t have tried for 10,000 words a week if I hadn’t tried for more and cut back.
  2. Schedule (but keep it flexible).
    Twice a week my youngest is in childcare (the other is in school). So for those precious hours between 9.30 and 3.30, I’m kidless. The house is quiet and I can relax. But not too much, because these two days is when I get the bulk of my writing done. Sometimes I can manage around 5,000-6,000 words during these hours – allowing for breaks. Generally though it’s more like 3,000-4,000. Just those two days I can get to around 7,000-8,000 words. For the rest of the week I write at night – an hour here, half an hour there. This is where I make up the shortfall so I can hit 10,000.
  3. Try productivity hacks
    I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique. It’s 25 mins writing, 5 mins break, repeat four times then have a longer break. I use the 30/30 iTunes app for it set into 25/5 intervals and then just go. During the 5 min break I either get up and walk around or simply close my eyes thinking about what comes next in the story. There are other really good productivity hacks you can try – many of my friends are fans of the Seinfeld Don’t Break the Chain method – where you must write everyday so you don’t ‘break the chain’. I don’t use this however because …
  4. Have a day (or a weekend) off.
    I don’t write everyday. I need at least one day break to clear my head. That’s why the Don’t Break The Chain method doesn’t work for me – but if you do like to write everyday you might want to check it out. I used to only write five days a week, but now I’ll usually fire up the laptop on a Saturday night too if I haven’t made my word count. We are trialing Switch Off Sunday’s in our house. No technology, for no one, every Sunday. (It’s probably worse on me as I’m picking up the iPad before I even get out of bed to check my email). But balance is good.

If you can keep up the pace of 10,000 words a week, that’s 500,000 words a year (assuming 50 weeks a year – come on, we need holiday’s too).

500,000 words a year is:

  • 8 novels (approx 60,000 words), OR
  • 20 novellas (approx 25,000 words), OR
  • 100 short stories (approx 5,000 words each)

8 novels, here I come …

 

Comments

  1. Danielle McGaw says:

    Hi Tracey,
    I just recently started reading your blog and I wanted to say hi. Hi!
    I struggle with the whole motivation thing, too. I write ebooks and blogs and I have some pretty hefty goals. Right now my main goal is getting 6 months of content for a new blog ready BEFORE I launch. I have a hard time sticking with a project so I bought the domain and told myself that I am NOT allowed to choose a theme and tweak it (my favorite part) until I have 6 months’ worth of blog post, an ebook, and an autoresponder series ready. That’s about 50,000 words. I’d love to have this done in a month but I’m thinking that it will likely be more like a month and a half to two months because I also have work that has to be done for clients in order to keep the money rolling in.
    Good luck on your 10,000 words a week!

    • Thanks Danielle! I’m still feeling comfortable with the 10k a week – three weeks (including the school holidays!) and I’m managing pretty well. We always put such lofty goals on ourselves don’t we? :)

  2. Hi Tracey! I love your tips in this article. I felt compelled to comment though because my teenaged son is currently obsessed with Minecraft. He’s driving me crazy with it. I can only hope Minecraft gets slow and boring (or moreso than it currently is, IMHO!) and he loses interest. It’s going on a year now and I swear it feels like it’s just getting worse… :) Good luck.

    About the writing, I’m like you in that I definitely can’t seem to stick with a write-everyday schedule. I really wish I could because I know my productivity would go through the roof. Perfectionism is really bad about giving us crazy ideals and then making us feel terrible when we don’t meet them. I have lowered my demands for myself considerable over the last week so that I can get back to some less pressured writing. I’m glad your goal is working for you. I think I’m going to get back to using Pomodoro Technique myself–at least for a while.

    • I know! I don’t get the Minecraft thing either – if he’s not playing it on his ipod he’s watching youtube videos about it! Kids. ;)

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