1. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    How many words a day do you write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Man in the Box, Apr 28, 2012.

    First of all I'm not posting this for bragging rights! :D I actually consider myself a slow writer.

    This is something that gets me curious. Everyone have their own methods, so it would be cool to know what others are doing!

    I tend to write weekly, or two days a week, an average of 1,500-3,000 words a week, but I don't know if my speed is alright. Obviously, writing does not depend solely on speed, since you need time to think the plot, stablish a direction to follow, make mindmaps and so forth.

    So, what's your writing speed?
     
  2. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I can put out a short story of 1,000 from concept to finish of first draft in about an hour. A chapter of 10,000 words for a novel in a day if it's all thought out. But, I may spend the rest of the week playing with it before it feels right. Writing is rarely the issue for me, as long as my hands will take it. Getting it to read properly is the hard part.
     
  3. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    I've got a bad writing habit. In which I do it whenever in I feel like it. So, I've written anywhere from 1k to 5k a day for a month, and now I'm taking a break. I've sped up and written 10k a day for a few days, burnt out and took my break. It's a very bad habit.

    The right speed is whatever one works for you to get what you want done for your first draft. Personally, I want it finished and I'll polish when it's done so I just write whatever needs to be done, don't bother planning or anything else.
     
  4. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Wow, 10,000 in one day! I usually get exhausted after 4,000, though it has more to do with my insecurity. I don't trust my writing very much, despite having had people compliment my draft and a dedicated reader who's helping me whenever there's something that doesn't make sense.

    With my pace I expect to get my first draft done in 5 years... :D
     
  5. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I'm all over the map. If I'm happy and stoked about a chapter I cannot stop writing. If I'm laboring on a transition scene or a plot point I hate but must be told I might do three paragraphs. If the sun is shining I'll just play hookie.
     
  6. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Sort of a workaholic. Used to spend as much as 3 days in a lab at a time then sleep for 16 hours. Once I know what I'm going to write then I just write. When I read, I'll read non stop. A book a day.
     
  7. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    When writing, I often get lost in it and have to put it away for days at a time. Otherwise I'm not seeing what's on the page, just what's in my head. That's why I have two or three projects at once.
     
  8. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    I write part time, usually for just a hour or two in the evening. I haven't measured how much I produce but it never feels like much. I'd guess between 500 and 1000 words. The key for me is regularity. Five hundred words per day, every day, adds up. I did once write a 10,000 word chapter in one day on a weekend. It came out semi-ok but I've since completely rewritten that chapter twice.
     
  9. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Yeah, I used to pump out a lot all at once, but I then scrap all of it. Now I'll probably write more like 300-500 at a time, because I think about what I'm writing as I'm writing about, and wondering why it may or may not work.
     
  10. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I write about 1,000 ~ 2,000 words a day... But sometimes I take a break because when I write, I already know what scene/chapter I am going to write. Then if I don't know, I just work on research, outline or updating the character sheets on yWriter.
     
  11. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Yep to all of them. I have yet to decide if looking up at the clock from writing and realizing it's 4 in the morning is a good thing or a bad thing.

    And I agree with the second bit as well; I have multiple projects going because at some point, I need to slow down. I hand write everything first, and when you realize you're about three paragraphs ahead in your head than on paper... it's a sad moment.
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't worry so much "if your speed is ok". Think like this instead: With your current speed you will have a novel manuscript of about 90K in less than a year (10 months), if you average 2200 a week, which is more than "ok". There are a lot of people who can't accomplish that. :) Just keep doing what you're doing.
     
  13. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    I do my best to write between 100-2000 words a day. I work full-time so I have to be in the mood to write or use my days off to write. I try not to set steep goals because I know rest is important and writers block does exist.
     
  14. madeleinefarraday
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    madeleinefarraday Member

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    I think whatever speed suits you is best!

    When I have ideas, I write about 2 pages a day.

    When I am trying to finish something, or I'm really on a roll, I can write 6-8 pages at one time.

    Everyone is different!
     
  15. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I've been trying to average a thousand a day; last year I wasn't too far off, but this year I've only managed about 500 a day so far. My day job has been too busy and I haven't felt much like sitting down to write when I got home.

    The important part is to write regularly; even if you only manage 300 words a day, that's a novel every year.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've never written more than about 3,000 words in a day. To me, that's a whole pile of words. Usually, when I'm going well on a story (I'm not right now), I average between 500 and 1,500 words per day.

    I've never understood how some people can write 10,000 or more words per day. Don't they care about quality? How can anyone write that much that fast and maintain a decent level of quality? Hemingway couldn't do it. Joyce couldn't do it. Nabokov couldn't do it. Even Kipling couldn't do it. Stephen King is a very prolific writer, and by his own admission, he doesn't do more than about 4,000 words a day.

    Why are some writers in such a rush? Slow down and make it good.
     
  17. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    As I said above, if you want to write a novel a year, you need to finish around 300 words a day.

    For me, writing 300 words to first draft level typically takes about 20 minutes. So that's about 120 hours a year. Say you take twice as long to rewrite, then you're up to about 360 hours a year. Add perhaps 150 hours for research and outline and you're working less than two hours a day.

    Which seems to be true in the real world. Iain Banks, for example, said in an interview that he writes his novels in about three months.

    So if a writer can manage to write for a full working week, they can produce four novels a year without any reduction in quality over those novels they were writing in two hours a day.
     
  18. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I wish I could write as fast and accurately as my mind. I often will realize I've dropped whole sentences trying to keep up with my head. When you've got a chapter mentally written, you just want to get it physically written, so you can go onto the next chapter.
     
  19. Mordred
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    Mordred Member

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    I shoot for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week and at least 2000 words. I'm not saying all 2000 words would be used or the 6-8 hours would be writing time. I research material during this time and work on plot outline, character development and transcribing notes.

    ~Mordred
     
  20. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    This idea over the number of words reminds me of a story my Aunt Clara told me about a suitor she had as a young woman living in Little Italy. Everywhere he went, the suitor carried a fishbowl.

    When asked about the practice, he told her, "Well, my doctor only let's me have one drink per day."
     
  21. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I usually manage about a chapter a week. The first day is writing it all out then throughout the week I edit, rearrange, and rewrite until it feels right. Then I move onto the next chapter. I am lucky right now because I am currently only working two days a week, so the other five days I spend writing the majority of the day (usually about 5-6 hours). I'm looking for full-time work in September, so I'm trying to get as much done as possible now. Although it should be easier since I'm working off of a completed rough draft, which took me about two years while working full-time. Hopefully this work goes a bit quicker. I have a few chapters to add now that I have read throughout and found plot holes that I didn't notice while writing the initial rough draft.

    It is interesting to hear about how other writers work. And I think everyone struggles with fitting in time to write into their busy schedules. Right now I'm treating writing as my job, despite it being unpaying mainly because we just moved somewhere new for my husband's schooling. Finding full-time work isn't the easiest thing in the world, so I may as well use the time wisely :)
     
  22. jazzabel
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    Non-fiction like essays and stuff, I can do 2-3K in a day, edit it etc and it's good. Fiction, though, not more than 1k, more usually about 500 good words a day (I edit as I go).
     
  23. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Oh, I can write anything from -5000 words to +5000. Because I'm doing a major rewrite the original draft is being butchered right now, and whole scenes or even chapters are being lopped off left right and centre. That's why I don't pay any attention whatsoever to word count - it is a meaningless measure of progress, because I might end up with less at the end of the day than I started with in the morning, but progress wise I have probably made massive improvements.

    Don't fixate on how many words you're getting on paper. Judge your progress by how much closer to completion you are.
     
  24. Lightning
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    If I get 'on a roll' so to speak then I can easily do anything from 3,000 - 5,000 words a day.
     
  25. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    In average, I write between 500-1300 a day. Some days I don't write, but they are not very frequent. I almost always write Something.
     

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