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This Woman Wrote 179 Books: How in The World Did She Do It?

“There are no miracles. There is only discipline,” a sign in Danielle Steel’s office reads, and she does just that. With the number of books under her belt, you may think that what happened to her is a miracle. 

Danielle Steel wrote 179 books in a span of 5 decades. Now THAT’s hard work. How does she do it? Where does she get her inspiration?

Let's look at the numbers, shall we? The author has written 179 books, which have been translated into 43 languages. Twenty-two of them have been adapted for television, and two of those adaptations have received Golden Globe nominations. Steel releases seven new novels a year—her latest, Blessing in Disguise, is out this week—and she's at work on five to six new titles at all times. In 1989 Steel was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a book on the New York Times best-seller list for the most consecutive weeks of any author—381, to be exact. To pull it off, she works 20 to 22 hours a day. (A couple times a month, when she feels the crunch, she spends a full 24 hours at her desk.)
Steel writes in her home office. Most of the time, that's in Paris, but sometimes she's at her home in San Francisco, where she writes on her 1946 Olympia standard typewriter, which she's nicknamed Olly. "Olly's a big, heavy machine and it's older than I am," Steel tells Glamour. "It has a very smooth flow to it . I have anywhere between 12 to 15 of them that I've bought over the years, but they're not good enough to work on. I keep them for parts in case there's ever a problem, because this is a very endangered species!"
Steel is a creature of habit. She gets to her office—by 8:30 A.M., where she can often be found in her cashmere nightgown. In the morning she'll have one piece of toast and an iced decaf coffee (she gave up full-throated caffeine 25 years ago). After lunch and as the day wears on, she'll nibble on miniature bittersweet chocolate bars. "Dead or alive, rain or shine, I get to my desk and I do my work. Sometimes I'll finish a book in the morning, and by the end of the day, I've started another project," Steel says.
She credits her boundless energy for her productivity and also her drive to push through moments when she's stuck. "I keep working. The more you shy away from the material, the worse it gets. You're better off pushing through and ending up with 30 dead pages you can correct later than just sitting there with nothing," she advises. Her output is also the result of a near superhuman ability to run on little sleep. "I don't get to bed until I'm so tired I could sleep on the floor. If I have four hours, it's really a good night for me," Steel says.

Talk about dedication and passion.

More about Danielle’s story at Glamour.

(Image Credit: Brigette Lacombe)


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Not looking to burst anyone's bubble or throw a shadow on this amazing person but, just for the record: Georges Simenon (Detective Jules Maigret) wrote about 500 novels aside from numerous short stories.
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