One Writer’s Journey

August 16, 2019

Word Count: How Much Can You Write Per Day?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:29 am
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Recently, one of my students contacted me.  She was going to be late handing something in because she had thought she could research and write 1000 words/day.  Reality was closer to 500. She then asked my advice about how she could write faster.

The number of words you can write per day is going to vary greatly depending on the project and how much time you have to write.

When I work on my mystery, I generally pull anywhere from 200 to 600 words.  Every now and then I manage almost 1000 but that is the rare day.  For me, fiction is a slow slog.

When I work on one of my nonfiction titles for tween and teen readers, I can generally write from 1000 to 1,200 words per day.  These are the books written at a 7.5 to 8.5 reading level.  I think I can write this much because this reading level is my sweet spot.

When I work on a nonfiction title written for a 3.0 to 4.0 reading level, I’m doing good to write 500 words a day.  For me, writing at a lower reading level means I have to go much slower and focus on my word choice, sentence length and sentence structure.

Drafting a picture book?  That is usually a day long project and means about 500 words in a day.

A lot of knowing how much you can write in a day will depend on three things –

If you are writing for young readers, you will need to know the typical reading level of what you write.  I’ve done enough writing at 7.5 to 8.5 that I can fall into it with no effort.

You have to have a plan.  To write fast, you have to know what is coming up next.  If you are figuring things out as you go, you will write slower.  Is that bad?  Not at all. But you have to know which way you write.

Last but not least, you need to know your peak time of day to write.  I can write at just about any time of day.  I am at my best from morning through mid-afternoon.  Then I need to move.

There is no right or wrong daily word count.  You simply need to acknowledge how you work.


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