How I Survived Writing 10,000 Words In A Day; An Account

Alternative Titles: How To Write Till Your Fingers Fall Off or How To Impress Other Writers If You Can’t Actually Write Well


Yesterday, for the second time in less than a week, I wrote 10,000 words on my novel. Now this wasn’t something I did in a couple of hours, nor something that was as spontaneous as it may seem; it took me about 7 hours excluding all the procrastinating and research (unrelated). 

Before I started writing this post, I thought I’d do a bit of hunting in regards to writing 10,000 words a day; I knew there must be at least a website or two dedicated to it along with several forum threads and I was not disappointed. 

Most of the sites I looked at pointed to Rachel Aaron/Bach’s article on how she went from writing 2,000 words a day to 10,000 words, and I can’t help but do the same; she knows what she’s doing! 

Here’s my take on things:

One of the first things to consider before you embark on a 10k word day, is whether or not you’re able to do it. This might not be a time thing but a physical thing—can you handle sitting down and typing for that long?

Personally, I’m used to typing for hours on end and doing nothing but sitting in bed and thinking. Despite this, my hands do take a bit of a beating, and I know my fingers aren’t usually very happy with me after. Be smart about it and take care of yourself—drink lots of water (or tea!) on the actual day of and sit smart. 

This endeavour will take a lot of planning and the first is in the day you choose.

  • You need to plan to have the day to yourself.

Pick a Saturday or a Sunday you will be undisturbed or any other day when you have next to nothing on. If you don’t have a day completely free of commitment, settle for a half of one—it’s better than nothing but it will mean you can’t procrastinate as much.

  • Next, you’ll need to plan out approximately how much you’ll write and when. 

I know I can write 3,000 words an hour if I immerse myself in my writing, but I also know I need an hour of slow writing as a ‘warm up’ before that and an hour of ‘slow’ writing after. So, whilst I’d love to be able to write 10,000 words in a little over three hours, at my fastest it will take me 6 hours. 

How fast do you write? 

Further, I know I need a good long break after writing those first 5,000 words (if that’s how I plan to spend my day) before I can do any more writing.

What I’ve found myself doing a lot, is writing a thousand or so words at home in the morning (before 10am) and then heading into a cafe for three or so hours with the intentions of getting about four thousand words written. 

Once at home, I’ll procrastinate for a while before starting the whole process again and voila, before I know it I’ll have written 10,000 words.

Okay, it’s not that simple. 

  • Another thing you need to do is plan what you’re going to write. Now, this doesn’t have to be a majorly in depth outline of everything to come, but you should have a general idea of the direction in which you’re taking the novel.

I like to write a short summery of what I’ve written and where my story’s gone at the end of each day as well as a projected future for the story as a whole—where do I see things going?

This of course, isn’t something I abide by, but it’s good to have.

  • Lastly, you need to acknowledge that sometimes the words just won’t come—you shouldn’t force yourself to write 10,000 words just because you planned it. Sometimes it just won’t work. If you push yourself to write your writing will feel forced and it won’t be fun, you’ll end up dreading the next time you have to sit down and write.

Writing is meant to be fun, calming, and joyous (though I suspect it varies from genre to genre); if it’s not, maybe you’re pushing yourself too hard, or the story too much, or something. You should re-evaluate things, take a step back, time out. 

You shouldn’t be dreading writing. 

In the end, I’m writing a first draft and the most important thing for me at this moment in time is to have the darn thing written so that I can start whipping it into shape and work on starting another project. 

At the end of the day, your 10,000 words will be far from perfect but they will be there.

Have you ever written 10,000 words in a day?

If you want to read more on writing 10,000 words (or thereabouts) in a day or two, check out Victoria Fry’s post on writing 10,000 words in a weekend and Kameron Hurley’s post on consistently writing 10,000 words a day. 



4 thoughts on “How I Survived Writing 10,000 Words In A Day; An Account

  1. Saulus Sedai (@SaulusSedai) says:

    I stress WAY too much about writing. Even on first drafts. Which means I rarely write much in a single “session.” Even that I think about it as a “session” shows that it’s like a workout for me (mentally). It is a huge mental block for me. I’m not lying or “blowing smoke” when I say I admire the way you can just write so freely, however you judge the quality of that writing. I really am interested in learning out it comes so easily for you. Or at least pick up a few tips to improve my own sluggish writing pace.


  2. phoenixgrey85 says:

    This is a very organised approach. I’m never that organised when it comes to writing. Maybe I should be a little more, but I find that I like to write when the fit takes me, even though I do make an effort to do at least something everyday, even if it’s something small. The most I’ve written in a day was somewhere round 6000 words. That was on a Nanowrimo push. I can usually managed between 1000 and 2000. I’m not sure my fingers would like me pushing to 10000! But well done on dong it, it’s quite an achievement, I think. 🙂


  3. Barb Caffrey says:

    I know that with carpal tunnel syndrome, I have to be careful about how long I’m at a keyboard for any given time. It’s easier for me to edit for eight or ten hours (because I’m not typing continuously) than it is for me to write for eight to ten hours, though I’ve been known to do just that when time is short and/or I have enough time to recuperate after.

    As for the question of whether I’ve ever written 10K words in a day, the answer is no. But I have written 10K words in three days. And I used much the same approach as you’ve just laid out, though I probably couldn’t have done so as succinctly or as well. (Well done, Janna!)


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