How to write 10,000 words in one day

As part of my upcoming book Content Machine, I’ve started a Facebook group where I’m doing a weekly challenge. This week’s challenge is to create as much content as possible in one day. That day is today!


In this post I’ll explain how I plan on creating that much content in one day, and provide some tips to help you create content in bulk.

Progress on the content

I’ll keep this section up to date with a list of the posts I’ve written.

Time elapsed: 7.6 hours

Words created: 11,107 (7 posts) – Goal achieved in 7 hours 10 minutes.

  1. How to write 10,000 words in 1 day (1,492 words).
  2. The 5 most likely reasons your design sucks (719 words)
  3. Book review: Zero to one by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters (880 words)
  4. 5 customer happiness blogs you should be reading (485 words)
  5. The ultimate guide to understanding and improving customer retention (4,258)
  6. January update on my 2015 goals (2,550)
  7. Use these live chat guidelines to train your team on using live chat software (723)

Why focus on the amount of content?

I generally prefer focusing on quality rather than quantity, however there are some huge benefits in creating content this way. Some content marketers, like John Dumas have built multi million dollar businesses mainly on their ability to create a lot more content than anyone else (daily podcast).

Related: The power of focus, my interview with John very early on

Others, like Nathan Barry, have used daily bulk writing to create 6 figure info products and worldwide authority.

I’ve done it before as well. When I originally launched the Informly blog, I wrote 13 blog posts (13,000 words) in one day to kick it off. I was on a retreat in the Philippines and I worked a 16 hour day so I kind of cheated ha.

Also in writing the first few chapters of Content Machine, I jammed out 12,000 words on a 6.5 hour flight between the Gold Coast and Singapore last year. This really helped me commit to the book and have a big head start towards a pretty daunting goal of 30,000 or so words for a book.

The rules of the challenge

I didn’t specifically map out the rules in the group, however I’ve come up with the following for myself.

  1. I have to create all of the content myself. I can use someone to help review my posts.
  2. I can’t do any preparation before hand other than come up with a list of ideas.
  3. I can only work a normal 9-5 work day (in my case 6:30 till 2:30pm because I found out last night I have to take the boys to soccer training).
  4. I can recycle old concepts but I have to re-write everything completely. For me, I only have one post that I’ve written about before and it was in a forum, but the rest will all be 100% new.

How to write 10,000 words in 1 day

Here is how I plan on hitting the goal.

1. Generate at least 15 ideas

Idea generation is not something I struggle with like some people do. I was able to quickly come up with a bunch of ideas for today’s challenge throughout the week just by asking my network on social media and jotting a few down myself as I thought of them.

When the ideas came, I put them into Trello and late last night organized them into a list to do today, a secondary list if I can’t execute on any of the main ones and a 3rd backup list. Here is how my main list looks.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 6.36.11 am

Related: How WP Curve uses Trello to manage projects

Others in the group have taken the more traditional approach. This is from Adam from Bluewire Media who is joining me on the challenge today.


Related: Podcast interview on idea generation with James Schramko

James Altucher also talks a lot about idea generation in his great book Choose Yourself. His wife Claudia has recently written this book, Become an idea machine.

As a general rule, I look for topics that are interesting, helpful to people (they solve problems) and for days like this I look for ideas that don’t require a huge amount of research.

2. Have few distractions

Distraction is a productivity killer. On any normal day I would spend most of my day skipping between Slack, Helloify, Facebook, Twitter, Email in the non stop cycle of productivity purgatory. Not today!

This is what I’ve done to limit distractions:

  • My internet went out 2 minutes beforeI started. That was great! I’m tethering my phone today because I do need the internet but I’ll be less likely to waste my exorbitant Optus download fees on Buzzfeed GIFs. When I wrote 12,000 words in 6.5 hours I was on a plane with no Wifi.It came with it’s challenges but the writing output was unmatched by any time when I’ve had internet. So in short, the internet sucks. Kill it or tame it, if you can.
  • I’m working from home today. I love co-working but I don’t buy the argument that it’s more productivity. There are more people, more distractions, more beer. More people to call me out for burning up the keyboard, instead of pitching to the latest startup gurus who walk in the door.
  • I’ve told my team I won’t be online and made plans to make sure they will survive without me. People take days off all the time right?

If you really struggle with distractions, check out a tool like Rescue Time to work out where your time is going. You can also do a more sustainable method for bulk content creation by just specifically blocking out time in your calendar to create content.

3. Figure out what drives you

For me when I’ve had to create something quickly like this, it’s always helped to publicly commit to a goal. I don’t want to look silly and not achieve my goal and I pride myself on doing what I say I will do. So when I publicly commit to something, it lights a fire in me, to get it done.

I did it when I wrote 13 articles in 1 day. I did it for this challenge. Even this post itself is a public commitment. I’m publishing this post first because if I don’t make the goal after telling people how to do it, I’ll look like a fake! I’m also emailing it to my list of 15,000 people!

The other thing I know that drives me is hitting the publish button. I hate the idea of ‘batching’ content and creating lots of content before putting it out into the world. So I have embraced that at times when I need to as well. For today’s challenge I’ll be immediately publishing all of the content I create. Maybe not the most effective way to put content out into the world, but it’s my carrot.

With my first book The 7 Day Startup, I released virtually all of the book in blog posts and podcast interviews before I published the book. Again, not really the done thing but it helped me stay motivated putting that many words together and making sure I had some indicators along the way that I was on track.

Whatever it is that motivates you, should be put into overdrive for a challenge like this.

4.  Learn how to output content quickly

If you want to put out 10,000 words in one day you are going to have to be a fast typer, or at least a keen user of dictation. For me, I’ve always had illegible hand writing so in school and Uni I focused on typing instead of writing. I can type 100 words per minute easily enough and probably more when the  ideas are coming straight from my brain onto the page.

Others dictate to their phone and find that a more productive way of doing it.

Find what works for you. If you plan on doing a lot of writing, I’d suggest learning how to type quickly is a good investment of your time.

5.  Work out a good process for creating content

In my businesses where I create content, we have detailed processes for managing everything from our own content, to podcast interviews to guest writers. Everything down to what size image to use, what format image, when to use images etc.

Processes increase the quality of your content by making it more consistent and uniform. They also make the whole exercise more efficient.

Today I’ll be creating content for 4 different sites, each has their own processes (which I created). The general process I will follow will be:

  • Create a rough draft as quickly as I can (ideally 1,000 words in 40 minutes or so).
  • Create the posts directly in WordPress and add images and links as I go.
  • Have a few minutes away from the computer.
  • Go back and review the post.
  • If I have access to a reviewer for that site, I will get them to help.
  • I’ll then publish the post, update the list of articles above and post it in the Content Machine Facebook group.

I hope this has been useful. If you have any comments, please ask in the comments. I may not respond till tomorrow, it’s not part of my process 😉


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