1. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    How much do you guys write a month?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by U.G. Ridley, Aug 3, 2016.

    I've finally started becoming what you might call a "consistent writer". I used to be very sporadic and undisciplined, only writing when inspiration hit, so it's been really fun to finally see progress being made in such a short amount of time.

    There's been a lot of discussion about how to become a great writer, and I think this is it. Just writing a whole bunch. That's what my personal progress is telling me anyways.

    So how many words do you guys write on average in a month? Do you set goals and stuff? I'm really interested to see the differences in people here.
     
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  2. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    A month? Recently its been in around at least 50,000, but I'm always writing short stories to try and practice describing ideas, movements, conversations. So, more than that.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to do 520K a year (10K a week) but since I started getting busier with the business side of writing I've cut back to 365K a year (1K a day).

    But I don't do it consistently. This week I've been on vacation and I've written about 25K - when I go back to work there will be weeks when I'll only do 1 or 2K.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't keep to a writing schedule, though I probably should. When I'm fully engaged in a story, I write between 1,000 and 1,500 words per day. Between stories, I don't write anything except possibly notes for upcoming stories. I'm just beginning a new story now, one which will likely wind up being a novelette or novella. I don't see it becoming close to a full-length novel. I think it has potential to be really good, and I might be able to sell it to a science fiction magazine.
     
  5. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    It's always anyway. Never with an s. But I'm happy to hear you feel you are making progress. There is something great about being a prolific writer. Sometimes I feel that way.

    I couldn't really tell you how many words I write a month. A month is a really long time, and how many words I'm writing during that long period of time is not something I care to keep track of. I have things like I want to write a short story or a chapter. Each usually take a week or less, I would say. Or maybe I get caught up in writing poetry for a month. It takes me such a long time to write poetry. With something like that, you simply can't judge by a word count. And everything needs revision. I don't really want to put off revision. I find it works best for me to almost revise as I go or shortly after. What I try to do with shorter things is have something ready to go out on submission every week. And it's just such a combination of writing things that go into that. But my goal is to get into these publications so I try every week.

    With longer works I wanted to aim for a chapter a week, but I've got caught up in editing it a few times. And there was this other novel that I just wasn't enjoying so I stopped. But when I return to something book length I still think I will have the weekly goal of something like a chapter a week. The problem with having a monthly goal is that a lot of people would wait until the end of the month. Weekly goals allow for less procrastination.
     
  6. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    Heck. It sounds like I'm the world's slowest writer. The most I have ever written in a single day is 2,000 words. I only write short stories (at the moment - I have 50,000 words of potential novel I've been ignoring for 2 years) and when I sit down to work on those I aim to get a minimum of 500 words down in a sitting.

    Most of my 'writing' time though is actually spent reading, thinking and redrafting. And I don't write every day. I'll maybe get a 3,000 word first draft out in little chunks over a week or two, then keep going back to it a bit at a time, adding, deleting, tweaking on and off for a month. Then forget about it for three months (for me, the 'brewing' time is the really important bit). Then go back and have another play with it for a few days. Then hopefully polish it up all ready to go. Until last week, I hadn't written anything (new words on a page) for over a month.

    As an estimate then, the number of words I get onto a page in a month would probably average out at around 2K a month.

    Probably worth noting that I'm not published and not completely certain whether that's something I'm interested in. It's possible my writing schedule isn't that of anyone who ever would get published!
     
  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's nothing wrong with being slower - there are great writers who take a decade to write their books. It wouldn't fit in with a certain modern (e-inspired) marketting plan, but there are lots of other ways to publish, if you decide you want to.

    I'd also say that the reason I keep track of words by year, rather than by day, week, or month, is that I don't think the short-term measures are as meaningful. If someone writes 50K in a weekend but then doesn't write another word for three months, that person isn't a fast writer, s/he's just a binge-writer. Again, nothing wrong with that style of writing, but it can be deceptive in terms of measuring overall productivity.

    In general I think it's more useful to look at "finished" words on a longer time frame. A lot of the time when people count rough words they don't acknowledge that those words might be rewrites of old scenes, or parts of books that don't go anywhere because only the "easy" parts were written, etc.

    Anyways, main point - not a sprint, not a contest of any sort, and not enough data presented in this threads. (And "anyways" is a perfectly acceptable colloquialism. I wouldn't use it with the queen, but... I don't think she's here.)
     
  8. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    No, no, the Queen is definitely here, and I think she prefers queen with capital Q.:coffee:

    Joking aside, I know people's writings styles are very different, but I'm starting to wonder if being a slow writer works if you want to make genuine progress in a reasonable amount of time. Once you're established and have mastered all the basics of just writing, then sure, you can spend as much time as you want just fleshing out your stories in your head without touching the keyboard, but before then? I dunno. I'm just an eighteen-year-old kid who's only been doing this for three years, and most of those three years were spent in a state of mindless static, pretty much, so I'm as ignorant here as anyone. But I know that for me, I sort of pretended for a while that the way I handled writing was fine; that waiting for inspiration to hit, only writing a few thousand words a months - if even that - was a fine way to become a great writer fast, but the progress I've made between when I was maybe sixteen to when I turned eighteen was minimal at best, whereas this past month when I've been writing like a madman, I'm seeing progress being made every day. I can literally sense all the little turning points where my brain goes "OH!" and figures out something new, things that no lectures or crafting books ever helped me realize, because they are lessons you can't really learn without doing the work yourself. I'm not saying it's the right way, but I think all writers should at least try to force themselves to write on a strict schedule for a few months, because I feel like a lot of people haven't ever gone through with trying it, and so they are just stuck in this place where they are barely writing, barely making progress, and letting valuable time pass them by, time that could be used to really get better.

    Wow... I just had me a little rant there. Anyways, thank you all for your replies, and good luck on your writing:geek:! That includes you @Queen! Haha.
     
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  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it definitely makes sense to experiment and push yourself, sure! And if you find something that seems to be working, go for it!
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write four hours per day, five days per week, so in a month (with an average of 22 working days) I spend 88 hours writing which is potentially an output of (and here I'm estimating) anywhere from 100 to 300 pages (25,000 to 75,000 words)... but some days, the best I do is 100 words.

    For me, it's not so much about output as it is noses and grindstones. ;)

    As for goals, I set the goal of having the current draft of my WIP done by the end of June. Then it got pushed to the end of July. Now, it's set for the end of August. We'll see how that works out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  11. funandgames
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    funandgames New Member

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    I'm brand new to writing, and I aim to write 1000 words per day. Now these are not finished, done with words. These are 1000 words of bad grammar, terrible pacing and plot holes that I will fix later. I just needed to get those words out, otherwise I would spend three weeks writing and rewriting the same paragraph hundreds of times, getting nowhere.

    Seems to work for me.

    So far.
     
  12. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Its hard to say. Not every month will be the same because some months I may be writing a first draft therefore I write a lot! at least 2000 works a day every day (on the weekends it could be more and during the week it could be less depending on how hard I worked during the weekend). Now that I'm writing the second draft/editing I am not writing a lot. I am also the type to write one novel at a time. I may write a short story here or there though. There have also been times that I didnt write at all for the entire month.

    ETA: Yes i do set goals during the first draft. My goals are to write every day and to write 2000 words a day at least. I try to write at least 4000 works a day on the weekends. I typically hit my goal.
     
  13. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Difficult to answer when you're as inconsistent as me. I've been averaging about 1,000 a day for the last few days, so if I could maintain that the answer would be about 30,000 words.

    Truth is I won't maintain that, so I can't answer.
     
  14. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I've always had trouble with the idea of fixing things later. That doesn't mean I don't have to edit and revise, but fixing things along the way just helps me from feeling overwhelmed. If it's going to take you three weeks to fix a paragraph, just imagine how many paragraphs you will have to fix at the end and how many weeks that will take, Plus, once you start to fix the same kind of mistakes, you are less likely to make them. That doesn't sound like getting nowhere to me. I hate it when people assume a first draft has to be bad. It doesn't.
     
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  15. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I write what seems right - sometimes that's nothing , sometimes its several thousand .. this evening I've just written 600, some days i don't go to bed but just sit up writing and writing (that generally leads to the discovery the next day that I've written an extensive pile of crap, but occasionally there are gems)

    I tend to find that if i set myself a target i'm less likely to achieve it than if i just go with the flow ... ( I'm also a pantser as I find rigorous planning a sure cause of writers block)
     
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  16. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    The reason why a lot of people don't fix and edit first drafts until they are finished is because it can quickly become a waste of time. You never know if you figure out something new about your story that forces you to change earlier chapters. Imagine then that you've spent hours editing whatever chapter now needs to be scrapped or largely re-written. You've now added several more hours of editing to your to-do list. Then, once you've re-written and edited everything that needed changing, you keep writing the rest of the first draft - possibly feeling worn out by the monotonous hours spent editing. The ideas might not come to you as quickly, things don't flow as well, requiring you to do more and more post-draft editing, and would ya look at that! - another one of your new chapters forces you to re-write an earlier one. Oh, darn. Guess that's another few hours of editing then!

    That's why a lot of people say first drafts are usually bad, and why a lot of the greatest authors seem to agree. It's okay that they are bad; in a way, they're supposed to be. Because you are still exploring the world, the characters, and the story. If re-writing all the time works for you, then that's awesome of course, but for most people, it's a huge disadvantage. It just leads to more and more work when all you really have to do is finish a first draft to figure out the story, write a second draft to fix all the inconsistencies, write however many more drafts you need to write to perfect the story, and then start editing.
     
  17. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I see a problem in thinking writing is ever supposed to be bad.
     
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  18. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Don't think of it as bad, think of it as raw. You have to feed a cow, build up some mass, before you can cook a steak.


    And now i'm hungry.
     
  19. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I just prefer to write at my best always. I don't think about fixing things later. If something is wrong, I think it benefits me to fix it before writing another 150 pages or before writing even one more page. I write pretty clean copy because I've always expected that of myself. I don't want to write anything "raw." I want to write at a publishable level. That's what I practice now and aim for now. If I have a mess at the end, I won't even bother.
     
  20. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Whatever floats your boat.

    Sounds exhausting to me, then again, I'm that special type of lazy who uses spellcheck as an excuse to completely forget the order letters are supposed to go into words.
     
  21. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This line of thinking is utterly foreign to me. You make it sound like editing is a bad thing, a tedious thing that is to be avoided if at all possible. To me, editing/revision/rewriting is the entire ball of wax, so to speak. It's the most fun and creative part of the whole writing enterprise. That's the main reason I revise as I go. I find it almost impossible - and certainly undesirable - to move on to a new paragraph if the previous paragraphs aren't polished jewels.
     
  22. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    Again, if it works for you, that's awesome. But it's not how a lot of people work, and there's certainly no need to take issue in that. When I say writing is supposed to be bad, I mean that if you are going to write a great story, then you need to explore it before you polish it. You can't polish something in the dark and expect it to be shining when the lights are turned on. That's a stupid analogy, but it's the way I see it.
     
  23. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Some of my rough drafts might give you an aneurysm.

    MC:runs away from the (something, ill figure it out)
    (something): makes a creepy (clicking?) type of noise
    2nd Character: you think it hunts by sight or soun- (gets eaten)
    MC: thinks its probably sound.
     
  24. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    Like with the other guy, if you like doing it that way, that's awesome. I'm just explaining why some people don't do it that way, including myself. Editing is not a bad thing, and I don't know what made you think that that is my view. I'm talking about the process of writing, when to edit, and when to just wait. I love editing, what I don't love is spending hours doing so and finding out later that everything I polished has to be scrapped and re-written, and then - by your standards - be polished again.
     
  25. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Here's a quote that always stuck with me from the second I read it:
    "The essence of writing is rewriting" --William Zinsser in On Writing Well

    Maybe that process works for you, but it seems silly for me. And I mean no offense by this. But if I felt that way, without allowing myself to write sloppily because not every word is near perfect, I wouldn't write. It would suck all of the fun out of it.
     

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