Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I write 100,000 words every day of my life. If I’m being totally honest, 100,000 is probably just a baseline number. Some days I exceed a half million words. It’s just what I do. I’m a professional writer. So, if you want to know how you might achieve a similar output as me, here you go.
People ask me all the time, “Hey, how do you do it?” First lesson of writing: never answer direct questions. Not from the guy at the supermarket. Not from the police officer at your car window. Not from your children crying for their supper. Remember, you are on a deadline.
If you want to crank out words at a high volume, dispel yourself of such quaint, artificial notions as “morning” or “days.” They are artificial constructs designed by those who want to slow down your writing. If you’re sleeping, you aren’t writing. I haven’t slept more than 25 minutes at a clip since my sophomore year of college. It’s a small price to pay to hit your daily word goals.
My first blog post appeared online in 2008 when I explained how I attained my top ranking on a popular worldwide online game. Since then, I haven’t stopped writing. If you’re wondering whether this level of output will hinder your relationships with friends and lovers, let me set you straight. Life is about decisions. Either you write 100,000 words a day or you meet people and develop ties of affection. You can’t do both.
Writing for Writing’s Sake
You don’t need to be “paid” to become a professional writer. I suggest you adopt a Cartesian view of writing and recognize that through the act of writing, you become a writer. Your parents will not let you starve.
Choosing What to Write
This is another common mistake for beginners. Stop editing yourself. If you reflect upon what you want to write, you’ll never get started. Given that you need to average more than 4000 words per hour to hit your total, any second of pause is a word not typed. My go-to strategy is to simply type every thought that enters my head. Even now, I’m typing my thoughts. Only when you allow yourself to type freely will you achieve a higher state of output. The truth of the matter is inspiration is a bullshit fantasy cooked up by the likes of Stephen King and John Grisham. TRUE WRITERS WRITE EVERYTHING!
Breaks are for wannabe writers. Time and time again, I hear the laments of the undisciplined crying out, “Oh, I need to clear my head.” Ridiculous. You need to resist the siren song of temptation emanating from your bladder or the dog scratching at the backdoor or the pain radiating from your chronic carpal tunnel and get down to work.
Let me leave you with a quick anecdote to end this lesson. When I was a kid my father would pack my brothers and me into the backseat of our 1982 Chevy Malibu station wagon and drive from St. Louis to Baltimore. There were only two rules we had to obey. First, no speaking. Second, no bathroom breaks. Whenever we needed to relieve ourselves, we would raise a hand. Silently, a metal Folger’s coffee can would be passed back from the front seat. If fortune smiled upon you, your hand would remain steady under the can’s increased weight and an absence of potholes would allow your feet (and those of your brothers) to remain dry. All the while, the car never stopped moving towards its destination.
Just like my father in his Cannonball Run-esque driving style, as a writer you must also never stop moving towards your goal. 100,000 words per day isn’t easy, but these simple guidelines should help you along your way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find my coffee can and get back to work.