Five Pages Per Day

James Garside
Photo by Jan Kahánek

The daily output of a non-writing writer

How much do you need to write?

Five pages per day.

Do the math.

My alphasmart backups for one year came to 6000 manuscript pages.

Halve this to account for duplication.

Double the amount of time taken.

That’s still 1,500 pages in a year.

Round down per month — that’s 125, so call it 100.

That’s 25 pages per week (on both 4 and 5 week months).

Which in a 5 day week is about 5 pages per day.

This is a gross underestimation of my writing output — and a gross overestimation of the quality.

But take all of this rounding down into account and let’s pretend that compensates for your ability to write well / finish something.

That means you could realistically hope to produce 5 finished pages per day. 25 per week. 100 per month.

Go steady. Aim to knock out 5 pages in the morning.

Come back and shape through day / evening and go no further except in brainstorms and notes.

Get 5 done early? Take rest of day easy.

You were producing 3 pages per day in 30–60 minutes for morning pages.

Here’s the deal: those pages per day must be on one thing as much as possible — not the mad incoherent gibberish you’re currently producing.

That could give you a novel in 3 months (decent draft) on the outside if you focus.

You have width, now you need depth.

Not too shabby for a non-writing writer.

Five pages per day. That's all you need to do.

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NCTJ-qualified British independent journalist, author, and travel writer.


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