Oh, and he did it all while also being a practicing doctor.

If you’re an aspiring wordsmith who’s ever struggled with writer’s block or prose procrastination, odds are you’d be pretty envious of Japanese novelist Mikito Chinen’s output. So far, he’s written 25 full novels, primarily mysteries split across three different series: Takao Ameku’s Deductive Medical Charts, Shinigami, and Cheers at Miki Clinic, the last of which was turned into a nine-episode TV drama earlier this year.

Those would be impressive accomplishments for an entire career, but Chinen is still only 40 years old, and all those novels he’s written? He cranked them out in just eight years. Oh, and he’s also a practicing physician of internal medicine, following in his family footsteps, since he’s both the son and the grandson of doctors.

So the question becomes how does Chinen manage to write so much, and at such a high quality that his readers keep coming back for more? Granted, he probably gets a bit of a boost from most of his books being medical-based mysteries, as it’s easier to craft a story that’s related to a field you’re already familiar with. But Chinen’s real secret, or secrets, for keeping his ideas steadily flowing from conception to page lie in three rules he has for himself, which he recently shared through his official Twitter account (@MIKITO_777).

“It’s been eight years since I became a novelist, and in that time I’ve come up with three rules for myself:

1. Get as much sleep as you can
2. When you’re writing, power off your smartphone, and turn off your PC’s Internet connection.
3. Every day, keep a record of how many words you wrote.

Once I started following these rules, my writing speed immediately got a lot quicker.”

The strategy makes a lot of sense. Writing is a creative endeavor, and many people grow up with the idea of creative types being night owls. It’s hard for your brain to come up with ideas at all, though, much less compose them in an eloquent and compelling way, if you’re exhausted and sleepy. Especially if you’re also holding down a day job, like Chinen is, you’re going to need to get up in the morning, so shutting down your writing endeavors for the day at an hour where you can still get the rest your mind and body need is essential.

▼ “Sleeping like a writer” should be the same as “sleeping like a baby.”

Likewise, turning off your phone will help you avoid the temptation to skim through your messages, check your social media accounts, or do any of the other intended quick online refreshers that actually end up consuming huge blocks of time and leave you with no writing output to show for them. Mikito has a bit of an advantage here, since, as mentioned above, his novels primarily deal with a field, medicine, that he’s already got an extensive knowledge of. That reduces the amount of research he needs to do during his writing process, which makes it easier for him to sever his Internet connection while writing, as does the fact that as a writer with print book deals, he doesn’t have to go online to personally publish his work, like website writers and independent bloggers do. Still, there’s probably a lot of efficiency to be gained from doing the research you think you’ll need ahead of time, then getting off the Internet and focusing on clacking the keys without hopping back onto Google or Wikipedia every five minutes.

And finally, keeping a record of how much you wrote helps give you a trackable sense of accomplishment. After a while, it’ll also give you a baseline for what your normal daily output is, and if it starts slipping, maybe it’s a sign you need to recommit to rules 1 and 2.

Chinen’s online followers collectively nodded their heads in agreement with his wise suggestions, leaving comments such as:

“I’m a high school student, and I think these would all be good study strategies too.”
“I really respect how much effort and discipline goes into your novels.”
“Some people might say those rules are all obvious, but not everyone actually follows them.”
“I’m an illustrator, and I’m going to try following these rules too!”

However, Chinen himself cut the rounds of applause short by way of a follow-up tweet.

“And so, since it’s time for me to get back to writing, I’m turning off my Internet connection. I need to write another 10 pages today…”

Thanks for the good advice, Dr. Chinen, and good-night.

Source: Twitter/@MIKITO_777 via Otakomu, Kobunsha
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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