Author Danielle Steel reveals she's written 179 books by writing in 20-hour shifts

The prolific American writer has shared her secrets to success - and they've got the internet talking

Author Danielle Steel writes up to 24 hours a day. Facebook / Danielle Steel
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She pumps out seven books a year; a frenzied writing pace that would leave even the likes of Stephen King quaking in his boots.

However, the life of prolific American author Danielle Steel is, as a result, anything but laid-back. However, this is exactly as the romance writer wants it, revealing in a new profile this week that she wants to "go on forever, just writing".

The 71-year-old, who published her latest work, Blessing in Disguise, earlier this month, opened up about her gut-busting work routine in an interview with Glamour magazine, spilling several tidbits which have since set Twitter ablaze.

Best-selling Steel, who has had a number of her works turned into TV programmes and many more translated into more than 40 languages, revealed that she works for 20 to 22 hours a day – and up to 24, when she's on deadline.

"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," the mother of nine told the publication. "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 still produces her fiction on a 1946 Olympia standard typewriter, and works from home, at a desk built in the shape of three of her own books.

The author, who completed her first manuscript at the tender age of 19, also cited bittersweet chocolate, caffeine-free coffee and a cashmere nightgown as rituals that help her get through a typical working day.

As a result, Steel's net worth is a whopping $350 million (Dh1.28bn), according to Forbes, though the writer told Glamour she is not motivated by money. "When a book just flows, I love it. Some of my ideas will start off as mundane, but as I write them they become magical—and I can never predict it," she said. "Other times it can feel like dragging an elephant across the table, but I get through it."

The eye-opening profile has subsequently gone viral, with social media users sharing their awe at Steel's intense writing process.

Several users have started sharing their own "Danielle Steel" profiles, breaking down their day into segments. Others, however, have warned of the dangers of burn-out culture, reminding fellow social media users that for many, four hours' sleep comes with serious health risks.