1. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    is 5000 words a day too ambitious?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by dave_c, May 26, 2012.

    I'm approaching the point where I'm going to be doing my first full draft of my novel. I want to set myself a words perday target. Iv read that a lot of people say 1000 per day is what they aim for but to be honest that's a bit too easy for me once I get going. Do you think 5000 is too much?
     
  2. Skodt
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    Skodt Member

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    There is no real limit. If you feel you can get 5000 and not start to dred it then go for it. I usually do about 2000-3000 a day. I don't set a standard, I just tell myself to write. I write until the idea is finished, then I call it a day.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    It all depends on you and how much time & energy you can spend. My creativity usually last between 1300-3000 words, after that I need a time-out to think about how to on from there. Not much good writing will come out if I push myself beyond that, but everyone is different and you have to find your own quality-range.
     
  4. koal4e
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    koal4e Member

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    I find my thought process delivers more than I can physically write, but this is down to the time I have spare after work to do so. I started my new book about a week or so agoand have managed a little under 5,000 words.

    You have to remember that if you are writing 5,000 words a day you are looking to have completed a 100,000 word novel in only 20 days, writing 5,000 words may be easy, but having a tangible and interesting story in these 5,000 words per day is not so easy. Dont set limits and simply write what you can.
     
  5. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    I'm setting this more for the sake of self discipline than speed
     
  6. P R Crawford
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    P R Crawford Member

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    It would mainly depend on how well organized you are. If you have everything outlined to a T so you know exactly where you're going at each stage, 5000 words shouldn't be too long a haul. Some pros crank out 10,000 a day (but they're mainly known as hacks).

    It will likely be a pretty full day at the keyboard, though. You might want to consider a variation of the pomodoro technique - 15 minutes of work, 5 minutes of break - use a timer. Or that could be 30 minutes on, 10 minutes off - whatever works best for you. The breaks will be important - you'll need to come up for air...

    How you fuel your body is also important; eat small lunches high in protein - low on fats and simple carbs - so you don't fall asleep after eating... Keep some light, complex carbs on hand to snack on. And drink lots of water. I'd personally stay away from junk-food like Coca Cola, chocolate bars, potato chips, etc. - and too much coffee could end up working against you.

    And try to get a full night's sleep - tough when your mind is racing with all you've done that day and with what you're aiming towards the next.

    Cripes, I sound like someone's mom.... :redface:

    HTH
     
  7. Jud
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    Jud Member

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    I can only echo what most of the others have said. Discipline yourself by all means, but I wouldn't take that discipline any further than promising yourself you'll write at least something every day.

    I can only manage about 1500, after that I become mentally tired and my creative juices start to dry up. Having said that, I could probably manage double that if I could only break the habit of editing as I go along.

    As a rule of thumb I'd say just write until you feel the inspiration and enthusiasm start to wane.
     
  8. Radrook
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    Radrook Contributing Member

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    I find that the faster I write the more rewriting I have to do.
     
  9. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    I think stephen king use to say he only wrote something like 500 words a day. and with that he had a novel a year.

    i personally think, the faster you write the best when your trying to get your idea out. but when comes the time for a second or third rewrite i'd rather limit myself to 1000 words a day, but making sure these are 1000 words that are important.
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    A heavy novel too. I doubt it that any professional writer would push themselves to the 10K mark each day, or even 5K. besides, you run the risk of getting tired and having to take a longer time out to rest, mentally. Writing a novel is not a 100m sprint, it's a marathon. You can't give all you have in the first km, if you do you probably won't finish it.
     
  11. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    5000 words would be insane for me, I'd have to put my work, family and general health & hygiene on the back burner to hit that target daily. But if that's realistic for you and you enjoy the challenge why not try it out, or maybe step it up over time - start with say a daily 1500 words for a week and keep increasing until you reach a level that works.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like it's _likely_ to be too much, yes. I realize that people have entirely different writing styles, and some writers will spend an hour perfecting one sentence while some will write a thousand or more words in that hour. To write five thousand words in a day, I think that you'd have to have a writing style where you do your first drafts at top speed, never pausing to reword, to research a fact, to think about a scene.

    If that is indeed your writing style, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if that five thousand word goal is going to _pressure_ you to write full tilt, and prevent you when you would have liked to pause and think and perfect a few lines, then the goal is driving your writing style, not just driving you to work on your writing. That's where I think that the goal would go wrong.
     
  13. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    I tend to write a lot when I sit down to write. I type fast though. However, I also find that I take little time to proof read, other than the red squiggles that automatically show up under my text. My last attempt at writing a lot landed with over 7500 words in about 4 hours, with breaks. I have not proof read it, however, I'm told it is beautiful. That effort was an emotional outpouring and simply done to "get things off my chest". It was more of a journaling. However, barring that episode, anytime I've sat to write any great amount it ends up choppy. Scenes are cut short, dialogue has no flow, and I end up scrapping entire chapters and starting over again. Take time to think. Ponder and be sure what you pen/type is quality verses quantity.
     
  14. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    It just depends on how you write and the moon cycles and what plane your zodiac sign is passing through....................LOL

    Seriously, sometimes I can crank out 5000 words, but that's basically like a full day of writing and doing nothing else. And usually when I write that much, it's mostly garbage. But it's good practice.

    If you're thinking of discipline though, I don't think setting yourself word limits is a good idea. Just set aside time to dedicate to writing. Whether it's 30 mins or 2 hours or half a day. It doesn't matter how much your produce or the quality really, it's just a good habit. Like anything else, practice practice practice. I always carry a note book with me and a pen in case something strikes me. I try to write every day on my novel, but that's because I have the time and I'm trying to make a deadline for myself to have a MS pushed out by September (because then I will be working full-time). Just depends on where you are and what goals you have. I would try and not focus on word limits though.
     
  15. AWR
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    AWR Member

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    I also wouldn't personally be looking at a goal 'per day' but would look at the average over a week.
    Some days I can sit and the words just stream out, other days the words take longer to come (but that is not necessarily bad if you are dealing with something that needs more attention)
     
  16. Cali Boy
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    Cali Boy New Member

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    I think 2K a day is more realistic.

    I stick to 1,500 per day.
     
  17. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you think you can do 5K a day, then go for it. But don't feel pressured to do it if you can't. I find it hard to believe you'll do 5K a day consistently, but hey, if you got it in you, by all means, do it.
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Do as much as you can, how much that is doesn't honestly matter.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what anyone else does is totally irrelevant...

    how can anyone other than you possibly answer that question?... you're the only one who knows how quickly you can turn out 'usable' words and how much time you have to spend on doing so...

    try it for a few days and see what the result is... if it's junk that will have to be edited/revised over and over to make it worth keeping, then the answer to your question is clearly a resounding 'yes!'... but if it's all usable and will only need 'normal' editing, then the answer will be 'no'...
     
  20. Akyra
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    Akyra New Member

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    Personally I have a problem with objectives like "this many words a day" because too easily you end up writing anything just to get it done. What I prefer to do is set a different kind of limit - for instance, I'll write this scene today and that scene tomorrow.
    It's different for everyone of course. But the hardest thing for most people is to actually get started, so I think the best thing is still to just promise yourself to write something everyday, and stop when you feel tired. My best advise would be, don't write if you don't have the creativity flowing. Usually the end result is just not worth it. (Something useful is also to remind myself why I love writing, that usually helps me find the motivation to sit in front of my computer).
     
  21. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As everyone else has said, it doesn't matter how much you do, as long as you do something daily. I don't do word limit personally - too artificial and I really cannot be bothered to highlight everything new that I've written just to see the word count every time. Also, sometimes I do editing and I revise earlier scenes - what's that gonna do to the word count? But for me, I feel motivated when the story is on its way to being finished, so my aim is usually to finish this scene or that scene, rather than word count.
     
  22. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    I like your idea of a scene a day (or set number of), i may just do that.

    This is to motivate me into writing, so i treat writing as my job. As i am currently unemployed motivation to do ANYTHING goes out the window. It really is something that you have to experience to understand. I want to treat writing as a job because it will give me purpose. Even if i write utter rubbish i will have a achieved more in that day than if i had done nothing at all.

    It really is a situation that you wont understand unless you have ever been long term unemployed, so i suspect there are going to be allot of people out there that "don't get it"
     
  23. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have been in your situation, and like you I decided to do something with it, so I started writing like I was a professional writer and treating it like a job. I think that made me handle the stress of that situation much better than I would have if I didn't have the writing to give my days a meaning, a purpose. Turning a negative situation to something creative and meaningful is a good idea, I think.
     
  24. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    take advantage of the days when you are on a roll. other days, you will struggle to write a few hundred, so if you write 5000 one day and a 1000 the next, that will balance out for the tougher times.
     
  25. bo_7md
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    If you are going for a self motivation and self check , then a milestone approach might be what you need. For example, say your book has 10 chapters, and you know that it takes you a week to write a full chapter then set 5 ~ 6 days and challenge your self to do it.

    The problem with putting daily limits, be it words or scenes, is that there will be days where you freeze or get busy and that tends to pile up and drag you down. In a milestone approach you can make up for it at a later date or day, so make sure it is reasonable.

    Bo-
     

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