All it takes is two hours a day and you, too, can be a bestselling thriller writer

Anyone who thinks being a bestselling author is  hard work hasn’t met Stuart Woods, who told BookStandard about a typical writing day.

Stuart Woods may be the perfect picture of the
gentleman-artist. Since publishing his first novel, Chiefs, in 1981, he has managed to create three
commercially successful franchises—one starring Holly Barker, one Stone
Barrington and one Will Lee—while spending healthy amounts of time flying his
single-engine Jetprop plane between his three homes, sailing yachts and enjoying
the life of a “born-again bachelor.”

TBS: You’ve written 33 books. How do you manage to be so prolific?

SW: It takes a certain amount of discipline.
Once I know the events that are going to take place in a chapter, I can write
the chapter quickly—usually in an hour or less.

TBS: What’s a typical workday like for you?

SW: I write generally between 10 and 12 in the morning. And I
don’t work everyday.

TBS: Do you ever get
your series mixed up?

SW: If I’ve been away
from the book for a while, I’ll sometimes have to read a few chapters to get
back into it and remind myself where I was. But for the most part, I have a gift
for keeping the plot in my mind—I don’t even re-read it when I’m finished with
it, I send it straight to my editor.

You don’t re-read your work all?

SW: I write
a chapter at a sitting, then the next day I re-read it and make small
corrections and I go on from there.

12 thoughts on “All it takes is two hours a day and you, too, can be a bestselling thriller writer”

  1. I did the math. It takes him an average of 553 hours to complete a novel, based on a two hour workday every day for 25 years of writing.
    That doesn’t seem overly quick or prolific. Assuming a 90k word novel, he’s only writing 325 words a day–a page and a half.
    Most writers, while in the zone or on deadline, can pump out 3k-4k a day.

  2. I didn’t take into account any days off in my calculation.
    But if he wrote every other day, he’d still only need to produce 650 words a day to write 1.3 books a year, which is his average.

  3. I’ve never figured out my word count, but even when I am on a show and writing scripts, I still manage to turn out a DM novel in 90 days. My best time was a MONK book in eight weeks.

  4. I read one of Woods’ Barrington books once. I can see why he only has to write for a couple of hours a day. Formulaic? Trite? Poorly plotted? Ye Gods.


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