1. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    How much can you write in a day?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nightstar99, Feb 2, 2014.

    I am fairly fortunate in that I type fast and when I sit down to write I can usually blast out one to two thousand words in an hour or two's sitting.

    The problem is that then that's pretty much me done for the day. If I could sustain that kind of activity for say 5 hours a day for a week, then it wouldnt be taking me so long to write this blinking novel, but I just seem to wear myself out producing the wordcount.

    Does anyone else find that?

    I did read somewhere that to be as prolific as Stephen King you'd only need to write 400 words a day, but I'm not disciplined enough to write every day, even when my job and family dont make that impossible.
     
  2. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    Sometimes I can write a whole chapter of 5.000-9.000 words, sometimes I can only manage 400 words. It all depends on mood, inspiration, willingness, whether I got the time, if I'm hungry or if I feel like showering :)

    It's very rare I manage 5.000 words though, done it maybe two-three times. I'll bet my average is a thousand words. Though I can't write every day, be it because of gaming addiction or general laziness.
     
  3. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    I've read somewhere that it's all about training.
    Make yourself force to write x amount of additional words per day.

    If you're done after an hour of two, maybe try writing more slowly and see if you can do that longer? Let's say 750 words for 3 hours.
    Or try to extend your 2 hours with 10 minutes for a few days. After those days extend by another 10 minutes.
    I've read that this is a good way of training the body/mind for long hauls. I haven't any experience myself in that area so all I can help with are the tips I've read.
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    The most I've written in a day was 6K, but then my back and neck was aching due to bad posture (I tend to forget to sit correctly when I get too caught up in my story for an extended period of time) and the last 3000 words were probably not that great. In my case it's not so much about how much I can write as about how many good words I can write in a day. My best writing is between 500-3000 words a day and I rarely go over that. For me that's a perfectly good pace that lets me have a finished first draft in about 2 months, since I write every day when I'm in the first draft phase. And I'm totally ok with that. :)
     
  5. eleutheria
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    eleutheria Member

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    About a thousand is typical for me. I've written as much as 6,000, but that's pretty rare. Quality? Eh. It varies quite a bit for me, sometimes I write it perfectly the first time, other times it needs rewrites. :)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i never keep count of how many words or pages i've written over any period, only consider total word count as it relates to what i'm aiming for, based on the optimum count for that type of work...

    and i always advise new writers to ignore daily/weekly/monthly output, as it has nothing to do with the quality of one's writing and trying to turn out this or that amount in this or that time frame will most often be more harmful than helpful...

    writers should be concerned only with quality, not quantity... making writing a contest to determine who can write the most/fastest is what amateurs do... pros just keep writing till they finish what they started... they don't care whether they do so faster or slower than other pros, only care about meeting their publisher's deadlines, if there are any...

    being able to spew out and type up words faster than the next guy doesn't make you a better writer... only writing better can do that...
     
  7. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I can write a little over a thousand words if it's the weekend. I'd probably write more if I could write during the day in a quiet house.
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I can write pages of gibberish, up to approx - 6
    Or pages of semi-good stuff, up to approx - 6
    Or I can write 3 pages of semi-wonderful stuff
    Or 1 super-clean paragraph.
    Or one sublime sentence.
    All in all it depends on my mood, and my level of creativity for the day. Forcing myself to continue a story on a schedule, I'm discovering, despite my success with nano, doesn't work. Forcing myself to put something down be it flash, word play or observations works. It's less restrictive, more creative.

    The idea is not to pump out words but to create something you can use. It doesn't have to be
    brilliant but if I can skip a step - a clean first draft rather than just a messy first draft well then it doesn't matter it it's a paragraph or 16 pages.

    When I was fourteen I wrote a mammoth story pumping out approx 20-25 pages per day. This draft was over 3,000 pages. 1/3 of which was usable the rest utter garbage. Subsequent drafts were equally lame. Though I had a good output the end result needed more time to clean it up. Now I might not put out the 25 pages a day but what I do write needs far less work/less drafts.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The most I've ever done in a day was 12K, and that was a long day of writing. I was tolerably happy with most of it, though there were bits that needed a lot of work. If I really want the first draft to be of higher quality, I can do maybe 5K.
     
  10. rasmanisar
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    rasmanisar Active Member

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    Interesting to see someone has already posted a thread that is very similar to the topic on my mind. I just got done writing for the day and am ready to go to bed - after probably two hours of work, I've progressed around 300 words. That said, it's 300 quality words, and I'm really happy with the progression made etc. So in that respect, I'd agree that it is much less quantity than quality.
     
  11. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    The most I've ever written in one day was 4500 words. My goal is 3000 a day. But I can only maintain 1500 or so. As some have already mentioned, there is certainly a drop in the quality of my writing when I push too hard.
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm usually between 500 and 1,500 words per day. Sometimes I hit 2,000. I don't think I've ever hit 3,000 words in one day. I spend a lot of my writing time staring into space, figuring out how to phrase my next sentence, and I read my paragraphs aloud and reword them until I'm happy with them. This means that even 1,000 words can take me quite a while.

    I find that, when I'm starting a story, I write more slowly than I do when I'm finishing it. This is because I'm working out the tone I want to use, the kind of imagery and rhythm that would be most appropriate. I sometimes have to start a story a dozen times or more for it to feel right to me.
     
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  13. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    I realized that you asked hour many words per day but the number varies. I just wrote a 102,000 word novel in 29 days but I had been thinking about the story for some time. The least amount of words per day that I wrote was 1200 and I actually put out in excess of 10,000 words on one day. Though the average is 3500 wpd, that was simply because of the huge days. Most days fell between 2500 - 3000.
     
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  14. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Congratulations btw. My 91K novel took five months. You are a beacon of hope in an ocean of angst. :D
     
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  15. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Thank you, but I really should add a few caveats. First, it is a YA novel. It is told in first person and I used my teenage self as a model for the fourteen year old MC. As a result, I didn't have to get to know the MC or his personality. So many of the passages wrote themselves because I know how I would have reacted in such situations.

    Incidentally, did you get your novel published?
     
  16. TDFuhringer
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    Not yet. It needs major revision, so I'm working on another story for a bit. When I go back I'll have a clear perspective and my brain will have had time to sort out some of the more pretzel-y plot elements. :) I'm not giving up though. The story isn't publishable yet, but it is good. With polish, I will get there.
     
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  17. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Well I was off work today and turned out 4500 of those bad boys. So, so rare I get a whole day to write. My story is really spinning along now, maybe it will be done before 2018!
     
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  18. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Excellent! Way to go :)
     
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  19. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Averaged 5700 words per day for 21 days on my first book and 7500 per day (14 days) on the second book. It all depends on how excited you are about your writing. If the scene is drudgery your WPM will drop and you will have to grind it out. The scene still has to be writ. :)
     
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  20. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    H.L. Mencken often wrote 4,000 words a day while at the Baltimore Sun. Shelby Foote wrote his three-volume history of the Civil War with a dip pen and, on his more prolific days, put 150 words on paper.

    What sort of lesson might you draw from such markedly dissimilar writing habits?
     
  21. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    If you do that seven days a week, you can turn out the first draft of a 100,000-word novel in less than four months. Do you seriously consider that to be a problem?

    Now that is a problem. What are you asking for here? A supply of discipline to be sent by UPS?
     
  22. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ernest Hemingway used to write 500-600 words per day. If he wanted to take the next day off and go fishing in the Gulf Stream, he'd push himself over 1,000 words. That doesn't sound very productive by the standards of some people here, but it got him huge sales, a fortune, and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

    It's all about what you write, not how fast you write it. ;)
     
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  23. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Hemingway also tended toward tiny books :) If Asimov had written at that pace, we'd've had three of his books to enjoy.
     
  24. violinguy
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    Love those books! I cannot imagine writing those three books (or what they were in draft form) in long-hand. Yikes! :eek:
     
  25. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    I work 40 hours plus a week, have to travel internationally for my job for up to 12 weeks a year, I'm studying a degree level course part time and also have a wife and 4 year old boy I would occasionally like to see.
     

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