1. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    How often do you write a day and do you chop and change between different stories?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ashley Harrison, Feb 17, 2016.

    I'd be very interested to know (a kind of straw poll) how many pages of legible material, do authors write every single day? Is staring at a blank screen for hours on end, a good way of making sure you write something, no matter its quality? Or do you write when you're in the correct frame of mind? I swing between the two extremes really. I force myself after days of not putting pen to paper, to make it a top priority to write a few chapters, even if I need to edit or rewrite it again in a couple of weeks time. I'd be intrigued if anyone out there, has found a perfect balance and what there secret is to a continual stream of writing?

    Anthony Horowitz says "Every writer is different – but not for me the strict regiment, so many words by lunchtime. I may be wrong. This system works for some authors, but I’ve always believed that writing is more a way of life than a job. I like my days to be varied, intuitive. I never sit and stare at a blank sheet of paper. If the words aren’t coming, I go out for a walk, visit a museum, see a film. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never worried about writer’s block that I’ve never suffered from it"

    After reading this, I felt like such a slouch. There's been times when I haven't written for months, for one reason or another and been really guilty about it.

    How do you keep on top of the writer's worst enemy, 'Empty Idea Syndrome'?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  2. chris bolin
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    chris bolin New Member

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    I am by no means a prolific or regular writer. I aspire to be. Ive come to the conclusion for me to reach this end I have Write! Good, Bad, just write.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I mostly write when I feel like it. I just tend to feel like it quite a lot!
     
  4. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Have you got anymore detail than that?
     
  5. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    I force myself to write every day, one way or another. Sometimes it just flows, and I write thousands of beautiful words effortlessly, having to tear myself away from the computer, still ticking away on my phone until my wife steals it. Other days I have to put a heavy metal song on loop for an hour, grinding out half formed outlines and stilted dialog, until I am finally done and can do something else.

    I don't know who said it, but somewhere on this forum I read "notebooks". I tired it out, carrying a notebook, or even just sticky-notes with me everywhere in case I felt he urge to write. I swear by this method now. I have notebooks full of stuff, and am never caught off guard by a good idea without a way to transcribe it. The mood strikes at odd hours, so it's good to be ready.

    I absolutely side with the idea that you have to experience to write. Go outside, feel the snow, yell at a co-worker, listen to a bird chirp, read, watch movies, and read. You don't have fly a plane to write about it, but at least go watch some planes take off. You're not writing a dissertation or researching a thesis, your crafting a work of art. You're carving a boat of dreams, pouring out a sea of nightmares, and inviting a hapless reader to go for a journey of fear, lust, blood, and excitement.
     
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  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write 365K new words of fiction per year, so that works out to 1K per day, but I don't actually write 1K every day. Some days I write 5-10K, some days I don't write at all. If I'm busy or tired or whatever, I don't write. But when I have days/weeks off, I catch up.

    I rarely write more than 1K at a single sitting, but I'll take a break, come back, take a break, come back, etc.

    I have to push myself to edit, do promo, etc., but writing? The writing is the fun part!
     
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  7. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    I'm completely with you about carrying a notebook at all times. I saw an interview ten years ago, where John Cleese said he often thought of a good idea for a sketch or joke etc. and thought, I must remember that for later. When later came around, he forgot what it was that was funny and made him laugh. So he resolved to always carry a pen and a small exercise book in his jacket pocket. Then he would never be without the resource to write down his funny ideas. Since watching that interview, I too carry a pen and paper with me, most of the time. Some places and times would be inappropriate. I've noticed that doing this, has improved my writing tenfold. I even have to get up out of bed at night occasionally, to write down an idea, in case I forget it by the time I wake up.

    Thank you for your reply.
     
  8. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Gosh, that's impressive. How many books do you get published a year?
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Usually four or five. This year coming up is a bit mental... there was a bit of a backlog, so I'll probably have six or seven.
     
  10. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Wow! How do you have anytime to be on a site like this?
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It takes about an hour to write 1K words, so... spread out over the year, it's not really that much.

    I don't want TV anymore - that's probably where most of my time comes from!
     
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  12. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Good on you, it's dross any way. Just vacuous, reality offscouring all day long.
     
  13. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's not a like button big enough for all the like I feel in my soul at this comment.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My plan/intent is neither--The plan is to type into the blank screen, inspired or not. But I have no discipline--I set the goal many months ago of writing three hundred words of fiction a day, and when that habit was established, go for something more ambitious. That habit is not yet established.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm confused about the "even if I need to edit". You sound as if editing is a last resort, as if you feel that the words should come out near perfect the first time.

    I can't say that everybody needs to do substantial editing--for example, I think that BayView doesn't--but I think that it's moderately rare for an author's first draft to be decent. Don't fear the need to edit.

    Me, I edit so much that it's rare for even a single sentence to be unchanged from first draft to last. The first draft is raw ingredients.
     
  16. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    There are moments, when I unload a stream of consciousness on to wad of paper. Then I have to sift through this scribbling, to find something intelligible within it. I prefer to sit down with my laptop or paper and pen and write whilst self-editing as I go. Painstakingly coming up with what precise location the characters are going to inhabit, their exact personality type, their past history, if it'll be relevant to the story I'm telling etcetera. It does take a lot longer to flesh out a story doing it this way, but what I end up with at the end of a writing day, is far more cogent and valuable.
     
  17. Lewis shepherd
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    Lewis shepherd Member

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    I write everyday without fail, sometimes it's a page other days it just a paragraph, but I try not to get hung up on the quantity choosing rather to focus on the quality of what I'm writing.
     
  18. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I tend to write in spurts. If I have an idea for a chapter a few thousand words may come out in a couple of hours. If I'm stuck I usually spend time going back over previous work and rewriting.
     
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  19. Lewis shepherd
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    Lewis shepherd Member

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    Yeah I too am constantly going back and adding little bits of flavour txt ect to earlier work, it's fascinating to me how a story evolves over time..
     
  20. Lozboz
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    Lozboz Member

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    I wish I could write everyday. Outside sources can stop that ie. work, family etc, but I constantly think about ideas for when I do get the time/spark back. Maybe I should start carrying a notebook around with me...
    If I have inspiration and a good idea, I can write all day over a weekend. Then I eventually lose steam and just stop.
    I also edit at different times, sometimes as I write but mostly after I've finished the first draft.
     
  21. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll have a main story going and once in a while I'll just write a short story in one sitting. Sometimes I never return to them, other times I do. The occasional poetry also finds its place in my day.

    I don't do enough reading lol.
     
  22. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I am also one who writes every day without fail. I just love it. Even if some day nothing much comes out because I have to do research. I think the lowest ever day in terms of wc was about 300. But I don't count editing, which I do on and off when I can't put original words down.
     
  23. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    I want to have a daily routine, but haven't made that happen yet. It's coming. My hold-up with it is psychological, which I can admit. But I'm optimistic that I will soon forge that routine into my life.
     
  24. tumblingdice
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    tumblingdice Member

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    I write when I'm feeling inspired AND I'm not too tired (because my job sucks the living hell out of me, tbh). This is not everyday, of course, so I try to get the most out of everytime I sit down to write.
     
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  25. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes if you polish a draft too much, you end up with enormous preamble of trees, atmosphere, curtains, the cat underneath the curtains, an evening meal, washing up and then finally the conversation you began with in draft one. Watch out for this pitfall, I am a victim.
     
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