How to Write Thousands of Words a Day

How to Write Thousands of Words a Day. Click for my favorite tricks! Writing tips, Creative Writing, Book, Writing, and Publication, Hacks and DIY's, Writers, Authors, blogging tips #writingtips #creativewriting #bloggingtips #writers #books

Want to get into the habit of writing thousands of words a day? Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month AKA Nanowrimo? I’ve learned some tricks that might help you reach your goal.

Four years ago, I wrote a draft of my second book in a series, hitting around two thousand words per day during Nanowrimo. I remember the super amazing rush of finishing in twenty-two days. Believe me, November birthday celebrations and hosting Thanksgiving was a great incentive for me to finish early.

I want this feel this way again!

A triumphant feeling after winning Nanowrimo! Creative writing, writing tips, writers life #witerslife #writingtips #writers #nanowrimo

Now, I’m a much faster writer. Not typist. Writer.

17 tricks to writing thousands of words a day:

Write in spurts.

Instead of sitting down and making myself write for a certain length of time, then hitting a wall with ideas, I take a break and do something else. Yesterday, I listened to a movie while working on a puzzle. It’s a beast that has sat on a coffee table for months. Then I took my Bichon, Roxy, for a walk in the snow. When I returned, an idea flashed in my head. I always feel as though it was right there the whole time. I ran to my laptop and wrote another thousand words.

Don’t keep checking your word count.

That can be distracting. Definitely check it when you stop to take a break. Sometimes you’re closer to a big number than you think. A milestone might encourage you to write a little bit more. That’s a good thing!

Stream-of-conscious writing.

I’ve always been more of a pantser and write without a strict outline. But after walking in fairytale villages in Scotland, like so many other authors, ideas floated in my head. Upon my return to Boulder, I wrote ten pages of notes so I wouldn’t forget anything.

When I started the book, most of them didn’t work. For one thing, my character was pissed off instead of excited about going on this 50,000 word adventure. It’s one thing to sit and plan out a book and quite another to run scenes and truly understand the motivation and emotional state of your characters. That takes time to develop.

I’ve never written fantasy, so my conscious brain wanted to find a logical explanation for this new world. GAH! I found myself writing fantastical images and then deleting them while saying, out loud, “This is so stupid.”

I took a break and a little voice in my head said, “You’re forcing it. Let the story unfold and happen. Then the fantasy elements won’t be so shocking.” Okay, okay, I said to myself, probably out loud. Then I went back to more of a stream-of-conscious type of writing.

Sit down, open a document, and write.

Last night, my husband, Danny, said, “You can’t force yourself to write, can you?”

“Yes, I totally can.” Back when I wrote flash fiction, it was due on Fridays. I would sit down with a blank page and write the first words that came to mind. Words. Not sentences. If you’re thinking in sentences, it’s not stream-of-conscious writing.

Then I would set it aside for a day and a huge U-turn of a twisted ending would pop into my head. It was great practice.

Trust your sub-conscious.

IT KNOWS WHAT ITS DOING! Many well-known psychologists have written about about the collective unconscious and how creative people are able to tap into it. Basically, it’s where many creative ideas come from. Don’t question your crazy new thoughts. Consider them. My subconscious is always right. My conscious thought? Surprisingly, not as often.

Trust that your story will make sense, eventually.

If you don’t force your story, but allow it to expand and grow the way it wants, it will have a logical progression. Let the shitty draft do its thing. Visualize the scenes as they happen.

Write it ALL down.

This is the time to write backstory, flesh out characters, their idiosyncrasies, play with their voice, and any underlying storylines. It occurred to me that tension would rise if wrote another character’s POV (point of view). Is it in the right place? Who cares? I’ll tackle that in a rewrite of which there will be several hundred.

How to write thousands of words a day whether your participating in NaNoWriMo or just want to form a habit! Writing tips, Blogging tips, books, writing and publication, Creative Writing, Authors, Inspiration and positivity, hacks and DIYs, #writingtips #writing #bloggingtips #books #creativewriting

Talk it out.

Yesterday, I wrote a conversational scene and wanted it to appear realistic so I said it out loud before typing it. My husband was in the other room and kept saying, “What?” Roxy is used to it and doesn’t even bother looking up from her place beside me.

When you’re stuck, move.

Your brain needs blood flow to get the creative groove going. Get up. Stand up. Take a walk. Run errands. Clean. Go to work. Bake. Hike. Go skiing. Breck opens this week so that is a thing. Don’t consciously think about the story problem. Give a new idea a little time to pop into your head. When it does, then run to your computer, make a note on your phone, or on the back of a receipt before you forget.

Read.

I read every night before bed. I just finished, Under the Water, a dark thriller by Paula Hawkins and started Aaron Michael Ritchey’s Dandelion Iron, book one of the Juniper Wars. It’s a funny, young adult, dystopian, western, science fiction. A complete departure from my usual read.

Why read when there’s so much writing to be done?

When we read, we’re swept away by words to another place and time where we don’t know what will happen next. The writing process should have the same sort of feeling. It’s great practice for your brain.

Embrace the excitement.

I want to know what happens next!

Even though I’m a pantser, I have a general sense of what the story is about. Very general. The book summary could be written in a paragraph or two. I see this new book as a series with a big cliffhanger at the end. How do I write to these tent pole plot points? I have no idea, but I keep them in mind so I don’t drift too far off the trail. Discovery, exploration, and adventure is the fun in writing a book.

I’m anxious to find out what happens to my characters. I care about them and this strange new world.

Setting.

My biggest problem is slowing down enough to describe the setting. I’m an action girl and find writing description a tedious exercise. But it adds to the total word count, I keep reminding myself.

Don’t forget the internal and external conflict.

Characters should have an arc of growth or change through the course of a book. As they go through the story, conflict is key. Whether it’s something they struggle with either physically or mentally, it’s all good.

Having a hard time sitting down to write?

Set a timer or tell yourself you will write for twenty minutes. Once you start, I bet you’ll write longer than that. If you write a few times a day with twenty minutes in mind, you might be surprised at your day’s word count.

Emotional state of the characters.

Make sure to give your characters motivation and emotional responses. There’s nothing more boring than 2-dimensional characters. That happened to me when I first started writing seven years ago. Why? Because my main character was me! Mistakes were made.

Unleash the horrible. It’s a lot more fun to read.

When in doubt, let the worst-case scenario happen. I’ve read so many books where terrible things almost happened. THAT IS SO BORING! Let bad things happen to your protagonist. Humiliate them. Let them suffer. How else will they learn from their mistakes and grow?

How to write 1000's of words a day whether you're participating in Nanowrimo or writing an essay. Click for writing tricks! Writing tips, Creative writing, Books, Writing, and publication, tips, hacks and DIYs, Writers, Authors #tips #writing #creativewriters #writingtips #bloggingtips

Can’t think of what to write? Ask questions.

Your answers are the egg in the batter which holds the story together. Okay, so maybe not, but I liked that metaphor. Maybe it’s what makes the dough rise. Mmm, not quite. Anyway, ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen in your story right now? How about to your protagonist? What does she want? To go home? To fight the beast? To eat a jelly doughnut? How does her history with the other characters effect her actions? How can you show her strengths? Her weaknesses? You can think of hundreds of questions. Go for it.

I hope this helps you.

Remember, any writing is writing, whether it’s a blog post, a chapter in a book or a journal entry. Grocery lists and text messages don’t count, sorry. The main objective is to form a habit.

Whether you’re participating in Nanowrimo, writing a book, or a blog post, let me know how it’s going. I hope one or two of these tips will help you increase your daily word counts. Whatever your process, we all have have to sit down and conjure up sentences to fill the page. Have fun with it.

Good luck!

My 17 best tips for writing THOUSANDS of words a day. They work! Writing tips, Creative writing, Books, writing and publishing, #writingtips #creativewriting #books #writing #inspiration

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride.

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What Twins, Who Inhabit My Brain, and NaNoWriMo Taught Me

Why Being Bored is Best for Creativity

44 thoughts on “How to Write Thousands of Words a Day

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  1. This is such an inclusive list, so thank you! I’m definitely in support of stream-of-conscious writing; I’ve never been able to create an effective or inspirational outline. For the past couple of days I’ve been experimenting with taking my characters in different directions, which has led to some fun plot points I want to continue developing.
    I love the picture you included at the beginning – can’t wait to feel like that myself! 🙂

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    1. Woohoo! Good luck to you. So much of novel writing has to do with having faith that we can do this crazy creative thing.

      I find revisions confining so I can’t imagine working directly from an outline. I’ve listened to a lot of bestselling authors’ interviews and found that most are pantsers, so we’re in good company!!!
      Thanks, Kelsey!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is some really good tricks you have that I’m going to try as I’m experimenting with writing a book. I have no idea how long the book is going to be or how the whole story is going to turn out. But I just go along with whatever comes into my mind whiles I write since I have the basic idea of the story. I am defiantly gonna try out some of the tips you gave to see if I can get even further with my writing!! 🙂
    Ps: Fun fact my native language is not english but still I rather write (read & speak) in English even though I have a lot more to learn.

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  3. I can certainly relate to most of what you say. Except that I don’t plan for the conflict and other essential ingredients. They seem to happen, anyway, while I write the book. I have the adventure with the protagonist/s; frequently I am utterly taken by surprise by a development like the death of a character or one of the ‘good guys’ turning (or turning out) bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I don’t plan anything either, including conflict, but when I start hitting a wall, I do ask myself some questions. Then Pow! Something percolates!
      I love your comment about being surprised. That’s the fun of writing! Sometimes my characters crack me up. That’s when Roxy might look at me funny. 🙂
      Thanks for reading, Colonist!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An amazing list of tips. I can personally attest to many of them.
    I’ve been struggling with the “no edits” thing at first, but I’m learning to accept that this will be done at a later time. And sometimes I just feel silly writing … silly things. But like you said – edits will come later. Who knows where this “silliness” will lead me.
    Good luck!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much and the very same good luck to you! It will lead you to having a very fine story someday!

      I have gone back and added a few paragraphs just to make sure the story holds together, but I don’t polish sentences at all. Lol. It took me a while to leave them alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a book that I’m completely stuck with due to needing to research loads..plus procrastination.. I’m at 29000 words but also guilty of editing myself and a huge lack of faith in my own ability… I’m managing over 600 a day on my blog at the moment, I just need to get my head and hands back to writing fiction.. thank you for your interesting post.

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    1. What’s more important? Your blog or your book? I would have a hard time blogging every day even without writing novels. Good for you! 🙂
      You could just make stuff up and leave the research for an edit phase. That’s what I do. Good Luck and thank you!

      Like

      1. Thanks Susie, that’s what another author said, to leave the research to the edit phase. Maybe I am procrastinating but I am enjoying writing my blog at the moment, however the book is important to me to..think I need to somehow get on with it.. thanks for your advice.

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  6. I got halfway through my current novel with NaNoWriMo. I remember feeling invigorated when I was writing furiously to the beat of fast music as I huddled on the couch with my laptop and headphones. I miss that feeling. I need to get back into that rhythm. Thank you for the inspiring post.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ama! I’m so glad to hear you cranked during Nanowrimo.
      It is a great feeling of accomplishment to watch those word totals go up. I thought I was doing pretty well, but some have finished already! That is insane. I wonder what kind of music they listen to? Lol.

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  7. Great tips, Susie! Yes, I believe the subconscious knows what it’s doing. Stephen King says, “Let the boy in the basement do the work.” So we’ll let the girls in the basement work while we’re asleep or doing something else.

    You’re so right about getting up and doing something else when we get stuck. I’m not officially participating in Nano, but am working on finishing a novel started a few years ago. Poor neglected thing! It feels good to be back at it.

    Best of luck to you finishing Nano. Have a blast!

    Like

    1. Hey Lynn! Great to see you! I’m so glad to hear you’re back to writing a novel. I find them so much fun to write. I’m building my inventory!
      I love that quote, “Let the boy in the basement do the work.” Ha! That’s exactly what I’m doing. The funny thing is if we get into a flow, the book enters the subconscious just like when we are reading a book. Not only do those basement workers come up with new ideas, but I become anxious to know what happens next. Writing every day makes the ideas pop, don’t you think? Now that I’m a third of the way done, I know it will be a series or a very long book. Lol! Thank you!

      Like

  8. Just write and stop asking “is this long enough?” like you did with writing assignments in school.
    Great ideas. Trusting yourself, going with the flow and editing later works for a lot of people.
    Love you added in the reading other books idea – lets the brain (and your character mull over the story without you directing them HAHA) Words in, improves words out!
    Enjoyed the post

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      1. Only YA and young child (both not published and languishing for editing and sending out someday)Most published nonfiction, articles and one short story….someday Ill have/make time to take the big one out of head and into words (Snow bound might help? HAHA)

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  9. My biggest challenge is checking my word count. Even in school when I have to write essays of a certain length. These are really good writing tips in general, not only just for the sole purpose of writing 1000 words a day.

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    1. I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you.

      Twice yesterday, I took breaks, checked my word count, and then wrote more before stepping away from my computer. School is more pressing so I can see where you’d check. I did that all the time the first (and last) time I Nanoed. Any kind of interruptions, like checking social media, slows down the creative flow. I should add that one! 🙂

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  10. I completely agree with you on the ‘don’t force yourself to write’ aspect. Sometimes, I’m like a creative volcano spewing out words like there is no tomorrow. On other days the volcano runs dry and my characters who live beneath it can rest in peace knowing that I’m not about to kill them off.
    I think we all have our ‘off’ days, but we should never force the words. I often do the same as you and write down a few words, sleep on them, and come back to them the next day. That’s when the magic usually happens.

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    1. Time off works! With Nanowrimo, I have make myself sit and write. I tell myself, “I’ll write for twenty minutes. Two hours later I take a break! If I gave into my whims, I’d never reach my goals. I’m pretty whimsical. LOL!!
      Thanks Hugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post. I’m doing NaNo this year and fantasy for the first time. Had idea a while ago and just thought use it. I like to end my writing knowing what I am going to write next. Even if it is just the next scene so when I sit down I’m writing already. If that makes sense. Yes to shitty first drafts just write!

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    1. I try to do the same thing and envision where it’s going when I quit for the day. Makes tomorrow’s writing a lot easier! I find writing 2-3000 words a day makes the story stick in my brain so I dream about it all night. Lol. Thank you!

      Like

  12.     I once tried to increase my word count by using short words. But an ant ate an “an” I wrote with sugar like a sand script. It ate ‘the’ too, but it formed a conglomerate with a grasshopper. I counted “conglomerate” and “grasshopper” as 500 words because it alludes to a fable which is incorporated in the reader’s fable-reading fantasy. Anyway, the grasshopper agreed to do a leg violin concert for the ants during lunch breaks. After an ant gave a lecture on work ethics, they covered the grasshopper with chocolate and ate it. The ants put it on YouTube, had it made into a feature length movie and made a million dollars. But they failed to put me in the credits.
        I did a diary taken over by four characters who gave their point-of-view as the others got into too much trouble to speak. It almost worked. Maybe I’ll try again.
        But several hundred rewrites. I don’t know if I could do that. I hope it’s really big, enormous hyperbole that means two rewrites. Last time, it took me an entire drunken summer to finish five drafts and I still haven’t recovered from it. And I went ahead with it anyway and put it on Amazon and it failed. It was junk probably. Anyway, I find writing extremely painful because I can’t write characters and personalities because I really don’t have one myself. I’m not really a person. I’m a fictional character and a not very interesting one. Maybe I should write it all down like you say. I don’t know.
        OK. I’ll try again to set the excitement before all my characters and me fade away..
        Conflict, drama… I once cooked a gigantic turkey for a friend. It was so heavy that when I tried to take it out of the oven to check on it, the pan tipped over, the grease poured onto the bottom plate of the oven and started a roaring fire. I was able to put the fire out without contaminating the bird with anything. I called her and said, “There’s going to be a delay…”. She didn’t quite understand because she’s from Turkey, and she thought I’m a turkey. I finished cooking it; it was OK, but I was cooked. But in my last book, op. cit., I did have an un-checkable recipe for cooking a 10,000 year old Woolly Mammoth. It’s similar to cooking an elephant (requires long marination).
        You’ve given me a few ideas. Thanks. The timer bell just rang. I think I have something black in the oven. Should be OK. Hmm, a little short. OK, I’m definitely against the philosophy of antidisestablishmenterrianism and I think I have pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis from getting too close to a volcano. I’ll try some honey covered grasshoppers for my cough.

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  13. That’s a comprehensive list! I am also a Pantser and I mostly agree, but I have one question. I don’t suffer from the lack of time – I suffer from procrastination and writer’s block. So how do you handle these?;)

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  14. Hi Susie – This is a great checklist article – even though I’m actively trying to write slower at the moment! I particularly like the reminder to think about the inner conflict. This is so often where the hang-ups occur and so easily forgotten in the excitement of the moment. But it’s inner conflict that – more often than not – keeps us reading.

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  15. I am doing Nanowrimo for the sixth time and am up to 42225 words as of yesterday. I have missed a few days, had a couple of slow days but yesterday was awesome. One chapter had me stuck so I went to the next chapter and that went quickly. I then came back to the chapter that had me stuck and this time it flew. I am blogging my WIP too. Getting a few reads. Keeps me going till I finish it.

    Like

    1. That is so cool! I finished last week but still have a few chapters to go before finishing the book. It felt weird to stop but family arrived for a week! Every night I’ve been tempted to bring my laptop to bed but I’m always so exhausted! Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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