When you write a book, it is important for you to write consistently every day to maintain routine and stay focused. What is less clear is how much you should be writing. The short answer is that it varies. If you have all the time you could ever need, you are willing to deal with a lot of stress, and you want to get the novel done quickly, then you should obviously write quite a fair bit. On the other hand, if you’re a single mother who has very little time to work and no deadline for your book, then you can reasonably get away with writing far less.
Another important thing to remember is just how much x amount of words really is. I personally try to write 1000 words a day (although I don’t always reach that goal). It’s hard, for sure, but 1000 words isn’t as much as you might think. In my experience, it comes to about two pages, although that obviously depends on font size and margins. A decent sized paragraph can be around 200-300 words. This entire blog post is 363 words, for example. Personally, I would be wary about writing less than 300 words a day. If you write less than that, you won’t be able to get any momentum as you write. The time invested in writing will only differ by a minute or two if you reduce your word count anyways. Likewise, if you write too much, your writing quality will decrease, requiring for your book to need more editing than otherwise. Again, there isn’t any right amount to write, but I feel that 5000 words a day is more than enough for any author, even one that makes writing their fulltime career. If you assume that every novel is 50,000 words long (a typical amount), then you can write 36 full novels in a year. That’s more than enough to live off of if you have the right marketing.
In conclusion, there is no precise number of words you should write a day, but you should at least give careful consideration to your needs and especially if your planned daily word count is outside of or nearing the endpoints of 300-5000 words.