500 words / day

I’ve had a slow month apparently, only logging 11k words on my novel since I last checked in. I blame a steady stream of freelance writing work and a new part time job on the weekends. Still, 2750 words a week isn’t terrible, and I am just happy that I’ve kept a steady stream of words flowing. Since my last post regarding Rits I have averaged 392.9 words a day.

My friend Matt asked me recently about how much writing should be done for a novel in a day, and I told him about 500. The 500 mark is relatively easy to meet if you dedicate yourself to it. I wouldn’t suggest writing over 2000 except for your very best days. If you write too much, your overall quality may suffer and you might even find yourself rushing to get to another part of the story. I’m sure many of the pro’s write more than this day in and day out, but I doubt they kept up such a breakneck pace for their first published piece. The 500 word mark also forms a pretty good measuring stick for academic writing. If you complete 500 words worth of work a day during the academic year, you won’t have any problems meeting your workload quota early.

Some quick math – 500 words x 31 days = 15500 words in a month. This pace will have you finishing your first novel (of 100,000 words) in six month’s time. Of course, as you are able to start using your own writing as source material the writing speed should pick up during the later phases of your project.

One final disclaimer/clarification – I often have to write 1-3 thousand other words in other projects every day. So this benchmark is for academic and/or personal projects in particular.