1. Goose
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    Goose New Member

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    How much can you write in a day?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Goose, Feb 20, 2009.

    Just wondering how people get on over the course of a day that they have set aside for writing.

    What do people struggle with? Does anyone else think they might overdose on tea?

    I am working on my first novel and managing about 2,500-3,000 words daily. This leaves me feeling burnt out and unable to socialise.

    Any good ideas for healthy snacks I can nibble on whilst working? Kitchen trips distract me. I find nuts make me sick if I eat too many which invariably I seem to.

    Also look out for words 'seem' and 'just.'

    They just seem to appear everywhere. It just gets boring. Does it seem boring to anyone else?

    Easy,

    Goose
     
  2. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I might as well get the point in early that it is never about the quatity that is written and entirely about the quality. Some authors take years, decades even, to complete a text. Some texts lend themselves to be written quickly due to their style. So, it is all of course dependent on the author, their current level of productivity, and the text on which they're working.

    You'll find, as no doubt you have, that depending on the above, you will settle into a routine of amount. If you are working into oblivion, then do step back, for personal health reasons and also for the health of your text. If you spend too much time with it, it's entirely plausible that you may not be able to see areas that could be candidate for review. Can't see the wood for the trees I belive is the idiom.

    If writing is boring for you, then either the current project is at a close, or more likely you need to take a break, nothing more. Or attempt a new project, to spray any idiom into this conversation, a change is a good as a rest.

    Good luck with the writing.
     
  3. Goose
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    Goose New Member

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    Cheers -I guess I should have asked how much time one spends writing in a day?
     
  4. crime.prose
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    crime.prose Member

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    Me personally I aim for a thousand words a day. Sometimes I achieve this and sometimes I don't. Of late I don't.

    The quantity and quality of output depends upon how clearer an idea of want you want to write. My ideas are slightly so nebulous at the moment.

    Sure writing helps them to evolve and become more well defined. I write something and then re-write it to make it worth reading.

    For myself at least trying to make the same set of words readable may keep the quality up, but it keeps the quantity down.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I always aim for 2,000 words a day.

    I either make this quota, or don't write at all.
    Though I rarely don't write anything on any given day I don't beat myself up about it.
     
  6. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Well, if my writing isn't up to a publishable standard (it isn't - that's why I'm here) then the quantity doesn't matter. The series I'm working on isn't just for practice. I aim to have it published some day.

    I learned how to learn early in life, when I took up juggling. I wasted several hours per day teaching myself to juggle three balls. In a few days I could do it for about 5-10 seconds. In 2 weeks I could do it for 30-40 seconds. Progress! you might say... but, no. It was a waste of time because I wasn't learning properly. If I had been, I would have mastered it completely within days. I was reinforcing bad habits the entire time which screwed up my pattern and prevented me from developing my skill the way I wanted to.

    So I picked up an excellent book on the subject, and restarted from step one. I had 10 times more work to do than if I had never learned anything at all. I spent weeks simply unlearning stupid habits... When I finally cleared the slate, and started to practice properly, with patience, my so-called 'talent' soared. Within a month I could keep a basic pattern going forever. I could juggle blind for about a minute. I picked up about a dozen new tricks, could cross and uncross my arms... all in a month... and all of which would never have been possible if I had just kept on 'working hard'.

    So I apply a similar learning process to any new skill. Writing is no exception. Some days I'll write 3000-4000 words, but that just gives me a ton of crap to edit. Many days I'll only write a few paragraphs.

    My main objective each day is to find at least one thing wrong in my writing, or learn one new thing from a site like this one. I endeavor to avoid repeating any obvious mistakes, and the debatable issues are always on the back burner. If I can keep this up for a year, then perhaps my writing will be up to snuff (or very close). Then maybe I can crank out 3000-8000 quality words in a day, which I may not have to edit much, or rewrite. Then I'll set word count goals.

    Then... I'll be smokin'!!

    So I can't tell you how much I write... because it's not something I think about. I really don't want to poopoo this thread, or any writers here, but I don't think many of us need be too concerned with the word count just yet.

    I've seen some truly excellent work here, but much of it still isn't ready for publishing. No shame in that - it's why we're all here, right? So if the work isn't where you want it to be, then why set goals to produce so much more of the same?
     
  7. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    ah, double post. mods please delete this:(.
     
  8. EmmVeePi
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    EmmVeePi Member

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    Never enough is always the answer.
     
  9. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I will generally try to get between 2,500-3,500 a day, depending on the day of the week and what I have going on that day. Most of the time I'm able to meet this, except for days that I have a heavy workload or other things to do and even then I try to get in at least a thousand or so words. On weekends I'm able to stay up later (I write better late at night) so I will sometimes get upwards of 5,000 words in a day and have even reached 10,000 in a single day.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the old pros' goal was and probably still is, 10 pages a day... which comes out to about 2,500 words, but pros don't count words, in re daily output, they count pages [at least they used to]... unlike when they're figuring ms size, when only word count counts...

    but new writers should NEVER fixate on [or even waste a moment's time figuring out or moaning/bragging about] how fast they can write, or how much they can write in a day... they should only be concerned with how GOOD [or not] what they write is...

    end of lecture
     
  11. creativeblue22
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    creativeblue22 New Member

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    I watched an interview with Stephen King. He said, aiming this at young writers, if you're serious about writing then try and read and write 4-6 hours a day. Obviously it is easy for Stephen King to say that when he's earning $40million dollars a year and it's his job.

    However, I do try and put the hours in as I think writing gets better as you mature and with practise, however cliche that might sound.

    I attempt to write 2, 000 words a day. But I have days when I feel what I've written is utter crap and I don't want to look at it again. I don't think anything is wasted though, as its all practise.

    I think I read and write a total of 3-4 hours a day.
     
  12. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Hmm... I've never counted words, or even the time spent on writing them. o_O

    I never sit myself down and tell myself that I have to get x amount of words done, or spend x amount of time on it. At best, I'll sit down to work on a specific part, and make sure that it is fully fleshed out before I quit for the day. Generally, though, when I have a story I want to tell I just write it - sometimes all in one hit, sometimes over several days, weeks, months or years, depending. To tell you the truth, I pretty much balk at the idea that I should have a set amount of daily input/output to legitimise myself as a serious writer, nor am I bothered in the slightest if that then means some won't consider me a serious writer.
     
  13. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I don't do 'word count'. I write one scene/chapter a day, usually in the afternoon, using the following morning to transcribe it to hard-disk. This process gives me the opportunity to both review the previous day's work and warm up for what's to come.
     
  14. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    Between school, work, homework, sleeping, and eating, I only have a theoretical 4 hours a day to dedicate to everything else - shopping, cleaning, cooking, showering, and of course writing.

    So yeah, some days my word count is negative :(

    But then again, it's a hobby for me, not a living.

    Anyway, in regards to your question about snacks, have you tried popcorn? Popcorn popped in canola oil and sprayed with butter-flavor cooking spray is really healthy and tastes good. I find coffee fairly filling in addition to caffeinated. Have you tried some non-nut nuts? Like peanuts? Dried fruit is pretty healthy but really dense, you can eat too much of it really easily. Granola is good too.
     
  15. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I aim for about 10kb, which works out to about 1700 words and usually takes me about an hour. Any longer and I fritz out.

    ? Not me. :confused: Sometimes the writing doesn't come as easily. It happens. Sometimes I have to get up and do something else but then I have to return to the writing until it's done. And I love my tea...

    Perhaps you need to lower the amount you aim to write in a day. I used to write until I felt I could write no more. I found that I'd start the next day having nowhere to pick up from, and would get nothing done. Plus I'd get tired out. I told myself to stop after a certain amount of writing (even if I had more in mind--ESPECIALLY if I had more in mind) and leave myself a place to pick up from the next day, and it worked out much better. Plus I don't tire out as much.

    I can't eat while I'm writing because my fingers are too busy doing the typing. How do you eat and write at the same time? Maybe snacking while you're writing is a distraction?

    I know I use such words more often than I should. Doesn't really bother me much but that's just me. I use whatever word works best, and if it happens to be "seem" or "just," then so be it. *shrug*
     
  16. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    Since I started writing 'hardcore' it's been at the least 1,000 words a day, which is like 4 full pages. That's for the novel though. Every other day a new idea for a short story pops up, and if I don't write it in one sitting I don't finish it, so I write it all down right away. Those are around 1,200 words usually. If you're anything like me, than no wonder you're getting burnt out! 3,500 words is pretty crazy.

    Haruki Murakami, whom I'm obsessed with lately, had really good tips for writing. First one was stop at a point at which you're writing a lot, have ideas flowing, and you're excited. That way the next day you have a good start point and don't get all upset about not having ideas. He calls it keeping the rhythm.

    Next he wakes up at 4am and writes until 11am. I've adopted his lifestyle (lol) so I wake up at 4am too, but I only write an hour or so because I don't want to burn myself out. I figure if I write 1,000 words a day, in two months I should have a novel fairly put together. Then he also runs to keep his blood flowing and mind cleared. Yep, I do that too =D But then running's always been a fun.
     
  17. Goose
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    Goose New Member

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    Interesting stuff -

    Funny you should mention murakami, just finished 'what i talk about when i talk about running' - sounds like you have too! I agree, some great tips in there about all this.

    Snacking/drinking is essential for me while I write. Probably a habit I picked up when writing my dissertation and I had to have little treats to keep it from seeming too dire.

    Anyone who says things like 'If writing is a chore then you aren't doing it the right way' is in my opinion a little delusional. If writing is to be made a career out of I think it will inevitably become more and more like 'work,' deadlines to meet and commisions to stick to etc.

    Also while we're here I reckon it's interesting how different the feel of the act of writing is for a novel and for a short story... where the former feels a lot more like writing as a means to the end, whereas the short story is a lot more immediate and 'free' to go where it likes? If that makes sense.

    At the moment I work 3 days/week in a school and I don't see how anyone can write after a day's work like this. This leaves me 2 days a week to write as well as fit in the rest of my life. Anyone got any good tips on maximising writing time whilst being able to make a living on top? Career advice please!

    Thanks everyone it's a really good insight to hear all this

    Easy,
    Goose
     
  18. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I don't know if I'll ever write again, to be honest. ~_~;
     
  19. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    I'm in the middle of it actually =D Just finished the chapter on how running helped him learn fiction. Great book, but there are so many blog entries on Murakami laying around that I felt I already read this book. He and I are a lot alike. It's good to be able to connect to famous writers so easily. Keeps me wanting to write.
     
  20. Goose
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    Goose New Member

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    why'd you say that atari?
     
  21. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I think new writers like myself ought to write as often as possible, and as much as possible. The more I do anything, the better I get.

    I mean to write as many of the best sentences, paragraphs, and pages as you can each day.

    When I sketch, I try to sketch as many figures as I can, but I also try to make them the best as I can.

    At 2000-3000 words a day you should finished a 70,000 page manuscript in 2 months or so. The first draft at least.

    Snacks, hmm, dried soybeans? If you mix it with corn, or corn chips, it makes a full protein. What about dried fruit pieces, or fruit in general? Also raw veggies like carrots and celery. Ezekiel bread is a full protein, and it is healthy. It also makes a great snack. Keep it in sandwich baggies for the day. That's what I do.
     
  22. Arrow
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    Arrow Member

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    I don't write as much as I snack. I'm getting better though. At snacking, of course. Architectus, you're making me hungry....hold the celery though.

    I was just about to admit that I should be writing more. Then I realized that I am, in fact, writing at this very moment. :rolleyes:
     
  23. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Writing alot won't make you a better writer.

    Knowing what you're revising, and how it comes across the paper in the final product will. You need to know why you're story doesn't involve the readers if you truly want to improve.
     
  24. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Eyez, perhaps writing a lot hasn't ever helped you improve, but it sure has helped me. Same with sketching a lot.

    I guess that is why we are all individuals. Many bestselling authors in their how to write books told me to write often. That writing often helped them grow as well.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If I may, I believe Eyez' point is that mere volume won't improve your writing. If you write volumes of prose poorly, all you will accomplish is reinforce bad writing habits. You must strive to improve as you write, not simply increase your throughput.
     

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