The Daily Word Counts Of 39 Famous Authors

The Daily Word Counts Of 39 Famous Authors

We have compiled a list of the daily word counts of famous authors and what they had to say about writing every day.

What Is A Word Count?

A word count is the number of words in a text. Generally, there are 300 words per typed double-spaced page, using a 12 point font. You can use Word to count how many words you have written in a document.

We need to count words if we are writing for a publication that asks us to stay within a set number of words. We also need to count words when we write a novel. Generally speaking, a novel has 80 000 words.

Must-Read: Word Counts – How Long Should Your Novel Be?

Why Are Word Counts Important?

Daily word counts are one of the first things students ask about on our writing course. While we don’t recommend any particular number, we do think it is a good idea to have one as a daily goal. If you set a goal of 500 or 1 000 words and you keep it every day, you feel as if you have accomplished something.

If you want to be a published writer, you should cultivate a writing routine. Almost every writer I’ve interviewed has one.

Creating a habit of writing – even if what you are writing is not good – is vital. Many authors believe that you should write every day, saying that it helps them write with more confidence and improve the quality of what they write. The more you do it the easier it gets.

Writing every day also helps you to clear your mind. It can be therapeutic if you do it regularly. You will also find that you generate ideas and material for future books in the process. (Keep these bits and pieces in notebooks or files on your computer.)

The only way to become a better writer is by practising. Some writers say that they need to write to find out what they really think about a subject, because writing forces you to think.

If you want to set a goal for daily word counts, use a daily writing prompt to encourage you. [Get a FREE daily writing prompt. Sign up here]

But how many words should you write every day?

Nobody really knows, but here are the daily word counts of 39 famous authors. (Please bear in mind that a double-spaced manuscript page contains approximately 300 words.)

The Daily Word Counts Of 39 Famous Authors

The Daily Word Counts Of 39 Famous Authors

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Do you have a daily word count?

Even if you don’t have a word count yet, prompts are an excellent way to exercise the writing muscle. Get a FREE daily writing prompt. Sign up here

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

by Amanda Patterson

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. 9 Literary Terms You Need To Know
  2. Why First Time Authors Don’t Write The Books They Want To Read
  3. The 5 Criteria For Creating Successful Story Goals
  4. 5 Ways Setting Affects Your Characters
  5. 7 Ways To Create A Spectacular Magic System For Your Novel

Sources: How Many Words a Day?Famous Authors Routines: Rise Early, Work Early, and Count The WordsHow many words did you write today?Daily Word Count Output of My Favourite Writers /Interviews and Birthday Posts by Writers Write

Posted on: 8th May 2015

29 thoughts on “The Daily Word Counts Of 39 Famous Authors”

  1. Probably one of the more valuable and insightful posts. (amongst the myriad of other excellent posts 🙂 ) Highlights the plight of the ‘weekend warrior’.

  2. It is great to have an insight into something like this. I always wondered what was enough – what was the minimum. It does not really matter, as long as you keep on writing … every day.

  3. I am currently writing a book about a personal experience and i make sure to write atleast 1000 words for the day before i can watch tv or do something else. i thought it was too low.

  4. Russell Blake

    I average 5K to 7K per day when on first draft. My production average has run 9+ novels a year for four years straight. I’m with Chricton on his philosophy, as well as Jack London. There’s a word for writers who wait for the muse to dance for them: amateurs.

  5. my word count averages from 12-16,000 a day. Some days I can get up to 20k, some days I get 6k. But that’s an occupational hazard of ghostwriting/freelancing.

  6. Ok…. no matter what reason you have listed how much you write (Russell and Savannah), I am going to write more. For sure!

  7. Depends on the phase of writing I’m in . . .

    I’m currently working on a complete first draft of a play I’ve been working on for some time, and I guess averaging about 800+ words per day; though unfortunately I only really get one-and-a-half to two days writing a week.

    Regardless, I always take Sundays off, not even writing down ideas that seem good. Seems to work for me.

    Similarly, I no longer keep a notebook by the bed for writing down ideas at night (unfair on my wife!).

    When I’m writing notes and thoughts (and when I’m lucky, whole scenes or fragments of scenes), my word-rate varies hugely.

  8. I try to do five hundred words a day, five days a week. Most weeks I can only manage four days.

    Well, I obviously write EVERY day, but I’m not counting e-mails and code here. I’m talking fiction and blog posts. 🙂

    Also, like Hemingway, (although I didn’t know he did it until I read this article, so it’s not like I’m copying him or anything), I tend to stop when I hit my target for the day, even if it’s in the middle of a scene.

    In fact, it’s BETTER if I stop in the middle of a scene, because then I spend the whole day at work the next day plotting what I’m going to write that afternoon, and the next session tends to wizz by! 🙂

  9. The emphasis is on ‘daily’ – and of course these writers didn’t write all day, necessarily. I advocate using a spread-sheet to keep account of the hours writing; when 8 hours are clocked up, that’s a day. So for my current WIP for example one 8hr day I clocked up 4,600 words. I’ll share this on FB, thanks!

  10. @Nik Obviously, we cannot know for sure, but I’m fairly certain that what is meant by “day” in this context is “one twenty-four-hour period”. Not a “working day” of eight hours.

    At least, that’s how I understood it.

    By your definition, you could write for only 10 minutes each 24 hour period, then tally up your total after 48 24-hour periods, and call that one writing “day”.

  11. Graham, that’s what I advocate in my book WRITE A WESTERN IN 30 DAYS. Naturally, there is more to writing a book than just writing, there’s the planning, research etc. But if someone says he wrote 300 words in a day, all he means is that he wrote 300 words in one hour (supply the time slot) of one day. Unless you’re Henry James, of course, who spent half a day debating about putting in a comma, and then the other half of the day debating about taking it out. If I say I spent 4 hours painting the kitchen, I mean it – I wouldn’t say I spent all day on it. 🙂

  12. whoa, maybe I should start to slow down a little. Reading through this list, I realised that I’m producing more than most of these famous writers. There are days when 10,000 words is a morning’s effort and others when that takes me all day but I have never allowed myself to write less than 5,000. I feel like I’m failing as a writer if I don’t meet that minimum.

  13. I try and write 1000 words a day, though the last week or so I haven’t written anything. My goal is to average 1000 words a day by the end of the year, which means I’m playing catch-up right now.

  14. Nice articel! Thanks to the author!
    It would be great to see similar tips for Academic Writing. Are there any?

  15. Anonymous Guest

    My great inspiration is Russell Blake! I’ve tried to keep up with his 7,000 words per day, then fell to 5,000 and currently at a low of 3,000. It is really NOT easy to juggle writing with taking care of VHK (Very Hungry Kids)!

  16. Hey Amanda,

    I came here feeling that I’m the most unproductive writer, thinking that I’m not a pro yet, and it’s going to be hard for me to be one. This post made me realize that I’m rightfully playing my part.

    This data is a blessing as I can evaluate myself in accordance to the standards to which other writers abide by.


  17. Great post Amanda. Thanks for collecting all those numbers in an easy reference. I was worried that I am not writing enough for my new website. In the past 2 months, I have added about 80K words on out-of-domain articles that I personally researched. Nothing to brag about, but the numbers you have shared are encouraging. So, I am writing enough, and as I turn writing into a habit, I will likely also write better. Thanks again. Here’s my site for those interested

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