As a practitioner of a Protestant work ethic and semi-workaholic
writer, I have long had a fascination with prolific authors.
Isaac Asimov, my writing role model, wrote and talked about his
prolificity frequently, and wrote more than 500 books.
Asimov worked 7 days a week. He thought the U.S. Postal Service
were slackers because they would not deliver mail on Sunday.
When Barbara Walters asked Asimov what he would do if he found
out he had only 6 months to live, he replied without missing a
beat: “I’d type faster.” My kind of guy!
But not many people know that Asimov’s friend and fellow SF
author, Robert Silverberg — who never talked about his output —
was even more prolific.
According to my research, Bob Silverberg has written under his
own name and pseudonyms 966 books.
RL Stine is also impressive at 422 books — and for a time was
writing a new Goosebumps every 2 weeks.
Barbara Cartland wrote over 700 romance novels, with total sales
of more than a billion copies.
The Guinness Book of World Records says the most published works
(books, articles, stories) by one author is 1,084.
That honor belongs to L. Ron Hubbard. His first work was
published in February 1934 and the last in March 2006.
With 19 New York Times best-sellers and more than 350 million
copies of his works in circulation, L. Ron Hubbard is one of the
most widely read authors in literary history. He also holds
Guinness world records as the most translated author and for the
English writer Charles Hamilton wrote 100 million words during
his lifetime, published mainly as stories in magazines — the
equivalent of 1,200 average-length novels.
For many writers, writing faster and increasing their output of
saleable material is one of the few ways they can make more
All else being equal, if you write twice as fast, you produce
twice as much.
And if you sell twice as much writing, you double your writing
That means if you are making $50,000 as a freelance writer now,
boosting your productivity and doubling your output can take you
to $100,000 a year.
And I’m sure you could use an extra 50K in annual income, right?
I know I could!
So here are a few tips to help you increase your writing
productivity and production:
1–Make being prolific a goal in and of itself. Prolific writers
want to be prolific and take pride in doing so.
2–You must practice and get good so when you double your speed
and output, you do not sacrifice quality. Not one iota.
3–Work longer hours. The great Claude Hopkins, who was the
highest-paid copywriter of his era, said he made more money than
other copywriters because he worked more hours.
4–Love your work. The most prolific writers are so productive
because they absolutely love writing. Even the physical process
of keyboarding and watching the words appear on the screen, as I
am doing right now.
5–Always have multiple writing projects in the hopper. That way,
when you start to run out of steam on project A you simply put it
aside and pick up on project B. So you never feel blocked or
6–Use the right keyboard and writing instrument. As a high-speed
touch typist, I am only productive on a desktop PC with a
typewriter-style keyboard with raised keys. I am slow as molasses
on a laptop with flat keys.
7–Devote your life to writing. The two activities I spend the
most time on in my waking hours are writing and reading. Those
are the only things I love to do. Yes, there are many things I
like to do. But love to do? That’s it.
Having just now handed in my 94th book to my publisher, I am a
slacker and a piker compared to the authors I have listed above.
But to be fair, writing books was their full-time job. Mine are
writing copy for my clients and running a small internet
marketing business. Writing books is my avocation.
And given that it is a sideline, on which I spend only an hour or
two a day if that, I am okay with not being in their league.