Why writing 10,000 words a day is BS.


Every single morning I receive a ‘Medium Digest’ email in my inbox. It has come to the point that I start every morning with a bunch of great articles.

As someone who writes daily for a living, I need to read a lot to keep my mind and ideas fresh. The daily Medium mails do their job, but I’ve noticed a couple of articles that I think are (gently said) crap.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing is great. I enjoyed reading them quite a bit, but there is no way I’ll believe what they preach.

The articles I’m talking about? Writing 10,000 words a day and everything from how they got to that point to how you can too.

I read a lot about writing, and these articles aren’t only on Medium, they can be found on a lot of writing-related blogs.

It’s tempting. As I said, I write every day and just the thought of banging out (near to) 10,000 words a day is something that tickles my ear. Unfortunately, I think it’s impossible.

I write 10,000 words a day.

I do. I guess everyone who works as a blogger, copywriter or any other type of writing-related work does too.

However, my 10,000 words are spread out between writing for work, obsessive chatting with my friends and girlfriend, and chatting on Skype with colleagues (the disadvantage of working from home).

But the writing that matters (for example the one done for a website) is so demanding in terms of quality that 24 hours a day aren’t enough for a 10,000-word piece.

Writing for a website

I imagine that 95% of the people who’ll read this write for some type of online publication. While the type of website you write for plays a big role in the way the whole content will be optimized if you’re the editor you know how much time it takes.

One of the projects that I work on averages 3,000 words per article. It takes between six and 11 days before the final content is ready. And that’s done by two people!

Writing the 3,000 words is easy. Sometimes I even write the base of the article in less than 3 hours. Thank god, no one reads it except me. Everything in the article is confusing, no structure and hell of a lot of typos.

Obviously! It took me three hours to write it.

Of course, after spending a day and a half fixing typos, re-writing whole sentences and structuring the article in a way that makes sense for fast readers (a.k.a. skimmers) it’s time to apply some SEO magic.

Now, I do understand that a lot of you write for the sake of writing, but maybe applying some SEO even when not needed isn’t a bad idea. Google does have quite the high standard for written content.

You may say that just like you can’t use a ruler for straight lines when painting you shouldn’t ‘optimize’ each word in an article. Well, with every article having its own KPI’s be damn sure I’ll be re-thinking and tweaking each word.

Most people getting paid to write have to comply within some type of measurements.

How much are 10,000 words?

For reference, I’m using Arial as my font of choice and 8.5 as size. For those of you unfamiliar, that’s close to too tiny to comfortably read.

It turns out 10,000 words take up 11 full pages in Google Docs. That’s no paragraphs, no headings, no bullet points. Just words spaced back to back.

Apply normal size lettering, headings, paragraphs and all other types of formatting you may use and those 10,000 words can easily become half the size of a dissertation.

Why I think it’s impossible to write 10,000 words a day?

Speaking from experience, writing a 10,000-word article with coherent sentences it’s near impossible for a day.

I’m not the type of person that can only write in the morning or if I don’t sit down at 3:44 PM with a 30+ item coffee next to me I couldn’t write, but writers stating that they can bang out 10,000 words in a day that make complete sense is bullshit.

Not to hate on your challenge…

…but writing ten thousand words a day is a sure way to burn out. Beginners may even hate writing because they think to be a good writer you should be able to bang out that many words in a day.

Want to get better at writing?

I’m just gonna say it. If you want to get good at writing first you have to be patient. I once thought that writing is something that comes naturally.

You won’t get better at writing by buying and watching writing courses.

Instead, start practicing. Write something good every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s 250 words or 2,500 words. Strive for little to no typos. Make sure all sentences make sense and connect well with the paragraph.

Give yourself enough time. Years worth of time. Writing is like learning to play the guitar. You have to get comfortable and play around with words, especially if you aren’t writing in your first language like myself.

Why I wrote this?

Because people tend to get discouraged easily. I know I almost did. It’s easy to think you suck at writing based on your inability to write thousands of words in a day.

What you don’t hear is that it’s better to write a good 500-word piece instead of a 5,000-word article filled with fluff.

Don’t know if your writing’s good?

Join a Facebook Group, or share it with someone that likes reading. You’ll be amazed by how many people will be open to reading something you wrote.

Most importantly, have disproportionate amounts of confidence. Overcome your fear of clicking the publish button. Speak your mind and share whatever you feel it’s important.

Writing 10,000 words is exhausting. It’s useless. Be sure that the only thing you will achieve is to become a faster writer.

I can’t write a piece longer than 2,000 words in a day. I burn out, sentences start to lose their meaning.

With that said, how many words can you write in a day? I feel I’m not alone in the world.