1. Revanchist
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    Revanchist Member

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    How long can you write in one go?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Revanchist, Dec 1, 2014.

    Plot developement is definitely the main thing that needs to be sorted out before I start writing but sometimes I feel physically drained to type. I'm decently new and fresh so I feel like I should stop writing for the moment and take a break after about a thousand or two thousand words. I hope I'll adapt and get used to it so I can write a lot more but I was just curious how much you guys write in one go?

    The main issue I have is that I have the plot sorted out, I have many scenarios already made out and I write the ideas down just in case I forget, but even though I get excited about them I just feel tired and stop. It's definitely not a good thing I think because sometimes I get out of that mindset and lose the focus I had. Then when I pick up the writing the other day, I just lag and can't choose the words correctly.
     
  2. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to imagine we're all different in this regard. The brain is amazingly plastic, and you may find over time as it becomes rewired for writing, that what you used to flatten you, is nothing more than a walk in the park.
     
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  3. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think this varies a lot person from person. Some people can type really fast while some write quite slowly, some people come up with what they should write with ease while others have to spend some more time thinking and analysing.

    Personally I usually write between 300-500 words per session (it takes me roughly one hour). While I'm a fast typer I need time to form the sentences and shape the story as I work.
     
  4. Revanchist
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    Revanchist Member

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    That's just the thing, with me. I type pretty fast, takes me around an hour or two to get done with 1000-2000 words, I just get a bit mentally tired. I remember first writing a few articles online for some cash, I wanted to actually see if I was capable of it, and after writing an article around 650 words, i really felt tired like I spent the entire day composing something.

    I have that issue with sentence formations as well, and I just write without worrying much about the form, as long as my thought is put in words and later on I correct the sentence to make it look better. I realized that going back and fixing stuff every couple of sentences is extremely annoying and kills my motivation, so I use up all the motivation I have and let myself be annoyed after I've finished writing.
     
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hope that you're not trying to find a benchmark of how many words a Good Author should be able to produce...Hemingway was famously inadequate on any such measure, and then again are plenty of people who "overachieve" in NaNoWriMo (some writing 50,000 words in two days). Even if you find somebody who produces x thousand words of decent quality per day, it isn't you. Some people will write loads, then find that most of it goes in the edit. Some will emulate Hemingway and produce smaller word-counts of (possibly!) higher quality.

    I quit on NaNo after five days when I realised that it was just too much like hard work to produce 50,000 words of dross, let alone 50k of pure gold.

    Write as much as you can, but don't beat yourself up about it. It should be fun, because it's almost certainly not a way to quit your day job.
     
  6. Revanchist
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    Revanchist Member

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    I stop writing after a while simply because I feel I've reached my limit. Anything past that point would be draining and wouldn't be very good nor fun. I was just curious to see how much others can write without crossing the line of discomfort.
    Personally I could write all day if I were forcing myself and thinking the number of words written per day meant anything, but I don't want to because exactly like you said, it loses it's quality and frankly I'm one of those people who really stop disliking something if they realize they're doing it by force. I always hated reading books in school because I was forced to read them. Meanwhile when someone merely suggested something I was eager to get to it because it felt like a fun thing to do and not a chore.
     
  7. Katria
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    Katria Member

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    I think it depends on each person. I can't write that much in one go, but mostly because I have issues to keep myself focused, and I get distracted easily. Since I write on the computer, internet is my biggest enemy...But anyway, I think the important thing is, well, to be inspired. If it doesn't strike your mood to write, don't do it. I don't think it's good to force yourself. Granted, if you have to meet a deadline then you might be forced to, but...In all honesty, I don't think you're able to produce something good if you don't particularly feel like it at the moment.
     
  8. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing should be independant of inspiration.

    “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”
    Chuck Close
     
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  9. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I used to "edit-on-the-go" as well. Every sentence or two I jumped back a bit in the text and fixed small errors and such things. Then I decided that I wanted to have a little more flow in my writing so I started to care less about editing and more about progressing. I still go back every now and then to do some editing, but that's mainly in sessions that I dedicate solely to that. When I write, I write. When I edit, I edit. This setup seems to work for me, even though I "only" write about 300-500 words a session. :agreed:

    Actually, whenever I sit down and write I have 300 words as a soft goal. I don't force myself to reach it. If I pass 300 words I'm happy, if I don't it isn't that big of a deal. To be honest, I don't really care about how much I write, as long as I do write at all. And what about quality? Well, that can come later, since there must be a reason for it to be called a "first draft" after all. ;)
     
  10. Katria
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    Katria Member

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    I didn't mean it as much as waiting for an idea to suddenly strike at you. I meant it more about feeling motivated about what you're doing. For example, I've had it that reading or watching particular series make me 'Oh, I would like to do something cool like this'. I start comparing my work with others, I start thinking of my characters and the things they have gone through, and will go through later on, I start working and planning more easily. Of course, every person has it different, but at least this is what happens to me.
     
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  11. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really like that quote by Chuck Close, but it isn't an easy thing to live by.
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't usually go by word count. I focus more on page count. I can manage about 3 pages or a scene in a sitting. But I tend to go back and edit. I write out a paragraph or two and then when I stop to take a sip of water or to think or anything I usually scan over what I wrote. If things are going smooth, I keep going but if there's something that needs tweaking I'll go back an fix it. I usually write at night and work for about two to three maybe four hours to produce 3 pages.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  13. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    I struggle with most characters I write, managing to squeeze out 1-2k words through one session. Though with two characters I have this connection of sorts that makes them much easier to write, and I might even get an entire chapter at 4-7k words out each session. Of course there are exceptions.
     
  14. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I read this book that gives advice on writing novels and in it the writer suggests 3 pages a day so i write at least 3 pages a day sometimes more if i get into a writing groove and have a hard time finding a stopping point.
     
  15. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That is a suggestion based on the writer's own experiences and not a necessity. If it works for you then feel free to continue following it, just remember that just because someone says something it isn't the only way to do things. ;)
     
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  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I rarely check how many new words I've written - I just write till I want to stop. I guess my average can be anything between 1000-5000 words, depending on how inspired I get. I write really very quickly though, once I know what I'm writing. I edit as I go too. At my record fastest, I was writing one chapter a day (up to about 8k words - it varies), as well as editing my own chapter and my collab author's previous chapter.
     
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  17. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not very quick. I get about 500-750 words in 2 hours, doing some editing as I go. I don't tend to manage much longer than 2 hours sessions.
    I set easy word count targets. They are only in place to stop me getting distracted by internet, forums etc. I can hit them easily if I'm not distracted.
     
  18. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    When I write with regularity I usually do it in 1 to 2 hour sessions. I've also gone on tangents of writing 4-6 hours sometimes. What I've learned is to write until I feel tired and to be sure that I stop when I reach that point. Trying to force myself to do a word count or finish a chapter inevitably results in my producing garbage I wind up deleting. I never focus on word count. What I think I do is work myself through a scene or at least to a point where I'm happy with what I've done. I may wind up 'stuck' partway through a scene and be unsure of the dialogue or where I want to go next but coming back later or the next day with fresh perspective usually takes me to a better place.
     
  19. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Old self couldn't much handle any time over an hour, but current day, I have had 7 hour sessions. Not adviced, man my head hurt so bad that night. I think standard is always gonna vary from person to person. When I am inspired it takes effort to stop. When I am not inspired, it takes effort to start. Obviously which you started with is gonna make a big difference. Though my 7 hours sessions than took a week to edit and clean before they were even close to being worthy of showing to my friends.

    Short not being, writing is a process, and if your process is more short sessions than one long session don't stress over it. ;)
     
  20. Revanchist
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    Revanchist Member

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    I just worked on my own novel, and I realized I had written 2000 words without any trouble. I think it really helps to just become one with the story you're telling and not the writing. I honestly couldn't believe it. I totally understand the quote by Chuck Close and when I think about it, I used to function that way. "Let's get to work and see what happens," but I feel like I've forgotten about it for some reason.

    Just now I played some non distracting hour long music on youtube, meditation and such, and just got down to it. Not caring is the best thing ever I think, because I like most of the work I write when I'm not thinking about what others will think about it. Yes I know, it's an amateur thing to worry about the opinions of others but I feel like I'm on the right path now. It takes me a few minutes of thinking and focus to really get to that "Meh, I don't give a damn what people think. I like this, so I will write this," sort of thing, but I'll keep on trying.

    Thank you so much for that quote. It's my fatal flaw, I keep sitting waiting for inspiration to come. It feels like inspiration doesn't come to the artist, but the artist comes to the inspiration. Ooh that's a nice quote. Here's another one I heard from a cartoon: "Luck favors the prepared." Now if I could just bring myself to live by those two quotes.
     
  21. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    For me, writing has its stages of progression, and it's not just "oh let's start typing blah blah blah chickens blah soup blah". Almost like on a romantic date, I have to set the mood. Depending on what the day has been like, it may take anywhere for several hours to no time at all; it's happened to me that I was away on a party, and I got inspired by something/someone, and had to run back home just to start typing. A couple of times, I actually typed what I felt like composing on my cell phone (when there weren't smart phones, btw!). Mostly, though, I just reread what I had written before (to go back to the scene), listen to a couple of songs (each story has its own playlist), research (as vile as it is, it can really help fill in some tight gaps!) and even wasting my time reading comics. Once I do start writing, I could anywhere from a mere 100 words, to 4,000 words in a single sitting. Just yesterday, I wrote 2,000 words in two hours, with no preparatory period. It's really about the mood!

    Like @ddavidv said though, I try not to force out what I want to write, because then I would write inconsolably bad stuff I would end up deleting later :p It's not about bumping word counts for me, it's about quality. However slow it comes.
     

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