In my heyday, I cranked out 10,000 words a day regularly. I didn’t want to, but my job required it of me. It mostly sucked, but I learned what I needed to do to make it happen regularly.
Every writer is different, so the things that make it easy for me to write 10,000 words a day may not be the same things that work for you. And the more I get to know myself, the more I realize what I need for a good writing session has less to do with the act of writing than it does with enabling a hyper fixation.
Knowing the conditions you thrive under is important, and your girl is a monomaniac.
I’ve given some tips for writing 10,000 words a day before, but I thought I’d share some more insight on the topic.
Do You Have to Write 10,000 Words a Day?
In short, no. If writing a bunch in one day isn’t your thing, then don’t worry about.
I know it can seem like all the writers talk about doing this sort of thing. And many of us have to to hit deadlines. I think the most I’ve ever managed in a day was right around the 17,000 mark, and it didn’t feel great.
But if you have the freedom and privilege to write slowly, then take it. The work I do for myself usually takes longer than the work I do for clients simply because I get to set the deadlines, and I don’t necessarily like to push myself to write that much every single time I sit down to do so.
So please don’t think this is a necessity. You write your book the way that you need to.
But if you, like me, occasionally find yourself stuck with a deadline that you didn’t attack early enough, well. I’ve got you.You don't have to write 10,000 words a day. But if you want to try, check out these tips. Click To Tweet
Tips for How to Write 10,000 Words a Day
Writing 10,000 words a day isn’t magic. It’s not the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it does take some preparation. Here’s what you need to do.
001: Build up to it.
If you’ve never written more than a couple hundred words at a time, you’ve got some work to do. Writing 10,000 words a day is a lot of writing, and even though you’ll need to break it up into chunks, you need to be able to sit at the computer for many long stretches.
So start by flexing those writing muscles. Start by pushing yourself to go past your normal amount per day. Then, do two writing sessions in one day.
If you can write 2,500 words in one sitting, then it’s time to give the 10,000 word day a try.
But know that you might not hit it on your first try. And that’s okay. Even if you only get 7,000 words that day, that’s still a shit ton of writing.
002: Clear your schedule.
I recommend making your 10,000 word day a day unto itself. Pick a day your off work and start early.
Try to conserve mental energy with it too. If you have some things scheduled, it’s going to pull energy from your writing, even if it’s stuff like getting groceries or a quick Zoom call.
I know you can’t always have a completely open day, and you don’t necessarily need one. I will say that my 10,000 word days that were most successful were the days that were clear. But in my grad school days, I’d go to work, attend a class or two, and then stay up until 3 AM to write those 10,000 words.
So you can totally write 10,000 words if your schedule isn’t clear. It absolutely sucks. But it’s doable.
003: Use sprints.
Writing sprints are the best. I love them. All you do is set a timer and write until it goes off.
The reason you need this when you’re writing 10,000 words a day is because you need to take breaks. Writing 10,000 words straight through is probably possible, but I imagine it wouldn’t be much fun, and you’d be sore and stiff when you were done.
But using sprints allows you to write in bursts–however long you need–and then take breaks. I prefer 20 or 25 minute sprints. That length of time allows me to really get into what I’m doing and pick up speed. And sometimes, I can even find that state of flow.
Use whatever amount of time works for you. I do recommend picking an amount of time that you can usually get at least 1,000 words of writing done. Writing in smaller increments can be really demoralizing and make the day stretch out longer than you want.
004: Take short breaks.
So, once you’ve done a sprint, you need a short break. I recommend breaking your sprints up based on your word count. Take short breaks until you hit around 5,000 words. Then, take a longer break for lunch or a nap or a walk or whatever.
After that, go back to taking small breaks between your sprints until you hit 10,000 words.
If you’re doing 25-minute sprints, I recommend a 5-minute break, and you can do a full-on Pomodoro if you want. Then, in between Pomodoros, take a longer break.
Taking breaks away from your computer will make it easier for you to keep going. So don’t think you have to be chained to a desk all day. The breaks you take are necessary. So use them for getting some sun, making tea, or even doing a quick sun salutation if you’re so inclined.
005: Block distractions.
It’s really easy to say you’re going to write 10,000 words in one day. It’s harder to make yourself do it.
So the key here is to make it easier for you to do it. I use the Self-Control app on my computer to block tons of sites like social media. (But I also use it to block stuff like AirBnB, so I can’t spend all my writing time trying to plan a writing retreat at the perfect cabin.)
Self-Control is great because you can’t stop the app unless you completely reinstall your operating system. But the Strict Workflow Chrome extension is great too. It’s how I used to grade papers back in the day.
006: Be comfortable.
When it comes to a big writing day, I recommend wearing your coziest pajamas. Hoodies, yoga pants, slippers–whatever you feel the most comfortable in should be the uniform for the day.
I recommend this because you’re likely going to be at home for the duration of this event. And if you’re at home, you can move from your desk to the bed to the couch, and anywhere else you may want to write.
So don’t think you need to presentable. Put all your energy into writing, and write where you feel comfortable for that particular sprint.
007: Keep your outline handy.
Here’s the thing you really need to write 10,000 words a day. You need to know where you’re going with your writing.
If your’e writing a lot and quickly, you don’t have time to decide where the story is going in the moment. Instead, you need to know the main beats and maybe some of the information that will prevent you from falling into plot holes.
Having an outline that keeps you writing and out of trouble is the best way to do this.
I know there are so many people who don’t outline, and if that’s not part of your process, that’s fine. But if you want your 10,000 word day to not take all 24 hours of the day, an outline can help.How much caffeine do you consume on your 10k writing days? Click To Tweet
What Do You Need for Writing 10,000 Words a Day?
When it comes to big writing days, what do you need? How much caffeine do you consume on those days? What’s your preferred writing sprint time? Have you ever written more than 10,000 words a day?