Having written over half the 50,000 word total for NaNoWriMo in under 10 days, I'm feeling reasonably proud of myself. But there are always professional writers who can write effectively at a much higher speed. Case in point: legendary children's author Enid Blyton.
In Barbara Stoney's Enid Blyton: A Biography, a letter from Blyton demonstrates just how productive she could be. On January 28 1955, Blyton wrote to Peter McKellar, a psychologist who was working on a book about creative processes, on January 28 1955, and casually threw out the following revelation:
I have just finished a book for Macmillans — the 8th in a popular series that has been translated into many languages. I began it on Monday, and finished it this afternoon (Friday). It is 60,000 words long and flowed like its title (River of Adventure).
Note that Blyton was writing onto a manual typewriter, so there wasn't much option to change things as she went. Her working methods were quite particular, however, and wouldn't suit most part time writers:
All the same I know quite well that if I had had to miss even a day in the writing of it I might have had to give it up. Once the river is damned anywhere, it won't flow again in that particular direction — which is why I must write a book at 'full flow'.
So I don't aspire to those speeds, but I wouldn't say no to occasional lashings of ginger beer. Onward!