Here’s a nifty little article I found on a blog called Writers Write that details the writing habits, and more specifically, the word count goals of 39 famous authors. The article is called The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors, and it features big names like Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Mark Twain. It’s an interesting read, and I’m always fascinated by the routines of well-known authors, since it can vary a whole lot.
Go read the article, and if you dig it, throw the author a like or a Facebook or Twitter share. In the meantime, here are some things I took away from it:
- There’s no such thing as a “normal” routine for a professional writer. It’s a very specific, individual affair, and one man’s normal is another’s bat-shit crazy. (Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you R. F. Delderfield and your 10,000 words a day.)
- So, of course, I took an average of the word counts in the article. Throwing out the outliers, we get a rough average of 1,800 words per day. That’s lower than I would have guessed before reading the article, but it’s solid output, especially if you’re writing fulltime, five days a week. That’d be 9,000 words a week, 36,000 words a month, and a fairly staggering 468,000 words per year. Yeah, I know, most folks don’t write everyday, but even at half that number, you’re finishing two full-length novels or a metric fuck ton of short stories.
- You don’t have to write thousands of words per day to be successful. Yep, Ernest Hemingway wrote 500 words a day; that’s it. I think the key is consistency, and 500 words a day add up fast, especially if those words are as good as Mr. Hemingway’s.
To put my own spin on it, my goal is a minimum of 2,000 words a day, same as one of my favorite writers, Stephen King. Since I started doing this full time in June, I’ve been pretty consistent, enough to finish one novel, a good portion of a second, and a bunch of short stories and articles.
Do you have a daily word count goal? If so, which writer’s routine from the article does yours most resemble?