How to Write 20,000 Words per Week

I was asked once by one of my writers how I was able to write so much content in a single day. It’s actually not all that difficult. Although nowadays I don’t write nearly as much as I did back in 2013, I can still crank out more than 20,000 words when I actually make an effort.

But it’s not something I was able to do from the get-go. Sure, I’ve been hammering away at the keyboard since I was nine. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that I truly decided to be a writer.

How Hard Is it to Write 20,000 Words Per Week?

First, let’s break down what I do as a writer. I am a freelancer, blogger, and author. So, a good portion of my day is already focused on writing in some form.

Today, I am the content marketing team lead of a company which takes away a lot of that writing. Still, I’m able to get in some quality time at the keyboard.

When you break down 20,000 words in a week, that’s only 2,857 words per day. And when you have something to share, a story to tell, or a tutorial to whip up, it’s not all that difficult of a goal.

Of course, this depends greatly on what you’re writing. For instance, I can crank out a blog post like this at about 1,100 words per hour. But a 1,200-word tutorial can take up to two and a half because of the screenshots and research.

Perhaps the most difficult part, though, is making myself sit throughout the entire writing session without getting sidetracked by randomness. That’s one of the drawbacks to working from home…so many things can take your attention quite easily.

As for writing all of that content, it’s not exceptionally difficult when you decide it’s what you want to do. Then again, you’ll also need the time available.

What Helps Me Write 20,000 Words Per Week?

I don’t have life hacks, tricks, or special powers that help me write as much as I do. And when I focus on breaking a personal record, I can write even more.

I suppose that’s probably the most prominent element of my career: determination to be more than I am.

So, what kind of things help me crank out the content every day?

Available Time

I probably have more time in the day to write than the average person. This is because I’ve created a successful freelancing practice that lets me afford chunks of time to write just about anything I want.

I get that some writers have full-time jobs, and trying to write 20,000 words in a week is going to feel like a second. But it is possible if you push yourself and have very few distractions.

I wouldn’t consider myself lucky. In fact, I worked exceptionally hard to get to the point where I am today. Essentially, I maneuvered myself into a position that gives me the time I want to write.

No Shortage of Places Where I Publish Content

Thanks to being a freelancer, owning several blogs, and wanting to tell stories, I have a lot of places where I can publish. If I’m not working for a client, I’m working on the next blog post or polishing up a story.

Thanks to the Internet, there are opportunities everywhere for just about anything you want to write. It all comes down to what you want to put out there and what steps you’re taking to do so.

Freelancing, blogging, self-publishing…apps and platforms are out there, and a lot of them are free. You even have access to some sites that’ll pay you for simply writing what’s on your mind. That is as long as you’re able to draw an audience.

Turning the Process into a Game

I gamify just about anything. In the case of writing, I’m constantly trying to break my personal records for the number of words written in a week, month, and year.

This doesn’t always work out, though. I prioritize clients, and sometimes that means I don’t get nearly as much time as I’d like to write 20,000 words in a week.

However, I’ll still try to do my best to reach those weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.

Because I’m a dork, I have quite an extensive spreadsheet that tracks everything I do. At any given time, I can see an accurate estimation of how many words I’ll write during a variety of timeframes.

I’m currently on track to break last year’s record for the total number of words, in case you’re wondering.

I Spent Years Perfecting My Skills

As I said, I didn’t start smashing out the content right off the bat. Although spending the majority of the last 37 years at a keyboard helped in typing speed, I still had to work on proper structure and whatnot.

Not to mention that I continue to hone my skills to write something interesting people want to read. I’m continuously learning something new every week.

If it’s instant gratification you’re looking for, you might as well keep looking. Being a writer of any kind centers around the long game. It takes time to perfect your skills in any capacity.

I Simply Love to Write

Lastly, I enjoy creating content of all kinds whether I’m getting paid for it or not. What really floats my boat is when someone comments on one of the blogs about how the article helped them in some way.

Sometimes, I’ll go so far as to become obsessed with something I want to publish. Take right now, for example. I was supposed to head to the gym 20 minutes ago, but I am obsessing about this particular post.

It’s not always a good thing, mind you. There are times when I’ll forgo breakfast because a story or blog post consumes me.

How Anyone Can Write 20,000 Words

Now, I can’t guarantee that you’ll come out of the gate whipping out content left and right. However, I can share with you the steps I took to get to where I am today.

In reality, it was many months before I was able to consistently write more than 20,000 words per week.

How can you increase the number of words you write in a day?

1. Have a Clear Idea of What You’re Writing

Regardless of the topic or story, knowing where you want to take it reduces the time you sit staring at a blank screen. Having a purpose helps you establish everything from daily goals to estimating the time you’ll need to finish.

Take today, for instance. I wanted to share how I am able to write so much on any given day. So, I knew where the post was going to go and the information I was ready to deliver.

2. Create Realistic Goals

Setting writing goals for yourself is great, but it doesn’t mean much if they’re unrealistic. If you’re not able to write 1,000 words today, don’t aim for 10,000. Especially if you don’t have time to invest in the project.

I started with simply writing more today than I did yesterday. Even if it was just one word, it was still a move in the right direction. Success is about building momentum without frustrating yourself with unrealistic expectations.

3. Set a Block of Time for Yourself

I use Asana to manage my day. As such, I’ll create blocks of time for specific projects that I want to write. Thanks to keeping track of my writing on a spreadsheet, I can estimate how long certain tasks will take.

Having a solid block of time is important, though. This is when you can be productive without the elements of life interrupting you.

I can safely say that it was assigning blocks of time in Asana that helped me finish writing my next book.

4. Don’t Stop Until You’re Done

While using a block of time for writing, don’t stop until it’s done. Sure, you’ll probably need bathroom breaks here and there. But don’t find excuses to interfere with your “writing time.”

It’s easy to think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I need to load the dishwasher.” But that dishwasher can wait until you’re done writing for that block of time.

5. Avoid Distractions at All Costs

During that block of time, avoid various distractions such as scrolling through Twitter or posting memes on Facebook. Fun and games can wait until you’re done for the day.

Unfortunately, this is incredibly difficult when you have kids in the house. Seriously, the family takes priority. But try to limit how much time you waste during the day on things that are not related to writing.

6. Be Patient with Yourself

Don’t get overly discouraged if you’re unable to meet your goals. It’ll take time to develop a good and productive groove for yourself as a writer. You’re not going to write 20,000 words per week right from the start.

Remember, success is about building momentum. Don’t get sucked into the instant gratification of hitting huge milestones on day one. Be patient and continue to improve yourself each day.

7. Rinse and Repeat

Once your block of time for writing is done, start a new one. That is as long as you have time to do so.

I usually take 45 minutes to plan my next week of projects. It’s easy for me because I have an idea about what I want to do on each day. It’ll take a bit of trial and error to find your groove, but it’s worth it in the long run.

This gives me a list of projects I want to write Monday through Friday. If I stick to the schedule, I can get quite a bit of work done.

What Helps You Stay Focused on Writing?

I’m not some writing magi that is capable of performing some mystical ritual for creating content. What I am is just a man that took 10 years to perfect his abilities while continuing to learn more.

For me, writing 20,000 words in a week just means I was hitting my average stride. But it was something I developed over time.

Your goals are achievable, as long as you put in the work to make them happen.

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