Can you write 4,500 words in a day?

Yes you can. I just did.

Today, I wrote the shitty first draft of a 1 hour invited seminar paper I am giving on Tuesday.

4,250 words if you don’t include the paragraph I deleted on Foucault, Turnitin and surveillance.

I’m no longer anxious that there will be NOTHING to present on Tuesday. It may be a ‘work in progress’, it may be unpolished, but I will have something to say and some rudimentary research to help me back it up.

Tomorrow, I can do more research, edit it for flow, time the speech, check it makes sense.  Research and writing is iterative.  I can’t edit till I have something to work with, and now I do.

I’m now cross-eyed… but so what?

Cross-eyed opossum Heidi is pictured as

I do believe I will sleep tonight.


  1. Sound like my (sometimes) approach to preaching. Get 1,200 words down that you can use, take the pressure off so that you can refine it into 1,200 words that you want to use.

  2. Richard, you’re right. The first full draft (it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be the full length) massively takes off the pressure.
    From there you can edit, develop, tidy, nuance… I worked for another day and a half, and ended up with 3,900 words… and they were good words. Properly researched, thought through, caveated, evidenced.
    In an ideal world they would have had another week to become balanced, polished, elegant great words… but 80% is good enough.

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