1. abelsaywell
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    abelsaywell Member

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    How long do you (re)write for at a sitting

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by abelsaywell, Mar 23, 2011.

    I have a question: is there such a thing as stamina when it comes to writing? And, is it likely to increase if I stick at it?

    I seem to go through bursts of creativity and then nothing for days. I find I am switching off a little when plot issues that need to be ironed out require some rewriting and often only really have the the passion to write the "new stuff" even when I know that will itself be flawed and need to be revisited.

    I am starting to wonder if I should discipline myself to do so many hours of the "ironing out" per day. Is this something that eases with time or you become more efficient at?

    I think I can deal with the notion of working on a long piece being a case of: three steps forward and two back but as I get further into my project I am starting to feel that the housekeeping aspect of going back and rewriting might be growing exponentially to the point it will stall the new stuff completely.

    When I have hit this stage before I have given up as I end up being dissatisfied with what came out in the creative burst when it's under closer inspection or I realize that something I really like has to be jettisoned because of how the plot or a character has later developed.
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Everyone does it differently. I, for instance, sometimes go through an entire first draft without doing any editing until I am completely done. Other times (like currently) I am constantly going back to fix things in a WIP. Either way I think it's fairly safe to say that your final work will bear little resemblance to your first draft. That's what it's there for. It's a springboard.

    Oops. Missed the point there didn't I? I often spend over 6 hours a day writing, on my own work and helping other people with theirs. I don't break it up into write/rewrite though. Is that what you mean?
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't iron out or edit anything until I have a completed story. Then i completely rewrite it.

    I do have two hours a day no distractions, no internet etc and I just write.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first bit is me, for sure.

    Mainly I'm prevented by work and stress from sitting down and writing properly for fixed, regular periods of time. It's hard to keep to a schedule. At one point I was lugging the laptop in to work so I could write on the ferry and bus. My bursts of creativity seem to get longer and more closely spaced when I make more time for writing, if you get what I mean.

    I always edit and revise as I go along, add in clues etc. I can't abide looking at horrible first drafts. Never have done. In my university days I would rewrite the first pages of an essay maybe 7-10 times--in longhand too, no computers then. I've found I'm more...sure of myself as far as editing goes as time goes on, so yes it gets easier.
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It gets easier. It like any craft. If you were to learn working in leather, sewing or woodcarving, in the beginning each sitting would demand total focus and attention. Because every thing is new and strange and you cant do any of it on autopilot.

    Later when you become accustom to it, part of it will be on autopilot, and you just have to focus on the creative stuff. Rather then struggling with each world of dialog, the conscious effort would be on a higher level, consider the bigger issues ("Where do I want this conversation to go?") with an occasional stop to focus on some tricky detail.

    When you have reached a level when you can do some things on autopilot you don't have to rely the same way on the burst of creativity. You still have great days when you feel like a genius, but once you know your craft you can fall back on that each day and do a good days work. Or at least most days. We all have crappy day every now and then.

    If you revising is getting on the way of writing, keep it separate. Write the whole draft first. Revise later.
     
  6. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Well for me, there is no stamina. The ideas just come and go, and come and go. I do try to make myself write, but I usually just wind up depressing myself. I can't really rush my writing. I have to let the ideas come when they want to.
     
  7. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I finished my first story without editing.
    All the rest I charge through until I get a lull in creativity, then I go back and edit, correct mistakes and rewrite sentences. The preasure is off when I edit, but I am still focusing on the work, so when I get back to writing, it will be with more time focusing on the direction of the work.

    I should note, that my first story needs major work, even after editing several dozen times.
    So I think for me, editing as I go seems to work better.

    I don't assign a time, if I have some spare time, I write. I write more when I don't have my daughters(we all want to use the computer at the same time.)
    I do write two or three times a week, some times everyday.
     
  8. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    For me, it depends on many external factors. When I don't have anything important to do, I feel like writing, and I don't really have any plans, I can write quality stuff for hours at a time.
     
  9. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Actually, it's the opposite with me. I like or rather find it easier thinking and working on half baked plots. I like working on new stuffs too. Let's just say, I like interior decorations than building the foundations.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    depends on the individual... when working on major projects, i've been known to write non-stop for 18-20 hours a day for weeks at a time... if someone doesn't bring me food, i forget to eat... [it'[s a great way to lose weight, btw! ;-) ]
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say, focus on the new stuff until the story is finished. And if this means that you need to throw in things like: "Note to self: Jane is at the St. Louis warehouse at this point, and needs to be in Bermuda twenty minutes later for the scene with Jeff. Figure that out later," then, well, throw in things like that, and then go write the scene with Jeff while it's still in full color and sound in your mind.

    I say this because for me, keeping the creative flow going is the difficult part. So I figure that if you've still got creative flow, go with it. Get the characters, the emotions, the energy, the scenes, and if you have to cut things up and rearrange them, do it later, in the editing phase.

    ChickenFreak
     
  12. Gingerbiscuit
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    Gingerbiscuit Senior Member

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    Personally I am incredibly lazy writer. As soon as I hit a stumbling block I'll think "Well of course I can't think of what to write, I have no coffee!" and totter off downstairs to make myself the fifth cup of the sitting. And of course, while I'm there I'll have a cigarette, feed the fish and try and work out where the low humming I can hear is coming from. After trying several appliances and satisfying myself that the humming is probably next door's vacuum cleaner I will return to my desk, only to discover that the three hours I set myself has now expired and it's time to watch TV.

    For that reason I set myself a word limit for the day rather than a duration. I'll sit down and won't move until I've written at least a thousand words. That way when I'm having a lazy day I have something to drive at. It could take an hour, it could take four but at least I know that all the time I spend getting distracted by two pidgeons outside that look like they might get it on, is time that I'm adding onto my day of writing.

    Of course that's only if you're like me and I'm aware that most people are not.
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL you aren't alone--but make that 1,000 words a week!
     
  14. Daisy215
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    Daisy215 Member

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    Well I rewrite a chapter at a time, one rewrite to start.
    Then it mainly depends on how focused I am, I occasionally get up and just walk away. After I'm done with the first rewrite then at a different time I will go back to review and rewrite again on that same chapter.
    Session length, it depends but if I get bored then I'll walk away, I'm a bit of a wanderer.
     
  15. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can kind of identify with this, minus the smoking and fish. :)

    But I go through spurts of writing or editing a lot.

    Then there's times I just can't do it... sometimes for lack of time if anything.
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since right now I dont have a social life (tihi) I sit by the computer all night alternating writing with a little internet, for example to come here and exchange ideas with you guys ;). I don't set any goals, I don't feel I have to because for me its a pleasure and I prefer writing to other things. When I'm in the writing phase I can write from 1000-3000 words a day (on some cocasions even more) but when rewriting I just sit and work at it until I go to bed, which right now means around 800-1500 words a day. At the time being I need to make this MS longer because in the first draft it had only a little over
    40 000 words. Right now im at 49 500, so Im getting there.. But there is no doubt this will be a novel of the shorter kind. I just can't come up with a way of extending it more than this. I know about novels published here lately that were around 50K so hopefully it will have a chance :)
     
  17. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I can only do 600-700 words in one sitting. Yeah, I don't have much writing stamina lol Without music, 100 words is impossible. Music is a must ;)
     
  18. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    I can rewrite more second- or third-draft material in one sitting than original material. If it's the weekend, and I don't have anything else that needs to be done, I shoot for 3000-5000 words...but it doesn't always happen.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in re 'writing' vs 'rewriting' i don't see any distinction between the two... until i have a polished final draft ready to be submitted, it's ALL just 'writing'...
     

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