Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Work Smart

Most Productive People: David Baldacci


[Photo by Melissa Golden]

David Baldacci


"Many writers set daily goals—write this many words or pages, or for this many hours. I don't. If you set the goal at 1,000 words, some days you're going to write 1,000 words of crap. And some days you have only one good word in you. So you should write that word, and then go play golf. Or, like I do, work on another project.

Breaks give your mind a chance to refresh. I write multiple books at once, and I'm always thinking about them, even if I'm not at a computer. It's a habit I picked up from my life as a litigator: You have 1,000 facts in your head, and the most important thing isn't that you know them all—it's that you crystallize them, so that you can present them clearly. Epiphanies don't occur like a spark; they're actually ideas that have been floating around in your brain for a while. By the time I sit down to write, my thoughts are well organized and come out cleanly. That's how, since 2007, I've released either two or three books every year. This year, I'm releasing three. Writing, for me, isn't a job; it's a lifestyle. So I treat it like that. I'm not always at the office, but I'm never done."

Time he gets up:

6:30 a.m. "That’s when my son goes to school and deposits one of our dogs in our room, which rouses the other dog, which means we all get up."

First thing he does each morning:

Work out or walk the dogs.

Apps and other assists:

"I don’t use any apps. I know my deadlines. In almost 20 years of writing, I’ve never missed a deadline."


"No one cares more about a writer’s career than that writer. You cede
authority to other people at your own peril."

Last thing he does each night:

Read. "I tend to be reading five or six books at the same time."

Time he goes to bed:

Anywhere between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

A version of this article appeared in the December 2013 / January 2014 issue of Fast Company magazine.