1. There_She_Goes
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    There_She_Goes Member

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    Writing a novel - how many hours per day? Recommendations?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by There_She_Goes, Jun 15, 2012.

    Hello!
    So I was just wondering if you guys have any recommendations for how long one should force himself to write every day when working on a novel? I know it's up to people's individual needs, but how many hours do you write your novel per day?

    Thanks :D!
     
  2. Mokrie Dela
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    Mokrie Dela Member

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    It varies. Work, life etc, gets in the way sometimes, but i'd say if you're serious about writing a novel for publishing, at least an hour or two a day. At least.

    Some days i dont write, some days i do ten mins, somedays a couple of hours. IF someone's trying for a career with this, then they'd need to do an hour or two at least imo.
     
  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I have found that most of the time I can only be creative for about 3 hours and then my brain just needs a rest. So I take a long break and then if I'm not completely sidetracked with another project I'll have another go at writing.

    Only you can decide what's the right amount of time for you but I thought I'd mention the creative limits on any one setting because most people have a limit like that. Maybe you should look for your limit and plan accordingly. Success to you. :)
     
  4. BeepBeep
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    BeepBeep New Member

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    I'm with Amy here. Three hours is my limit, even when I have more time. Sometimes even 3 and a half, 4 hours if I really need to finish a chapter or a particular scene, so I just squeeze my brain cells some more to avoid interrupting the creative flow. Although when I push it that much it usually ends up looking rushed and a bit flat, but that has solution anyway! :)
     
  5. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Don't count in time you spend writing count in the number of words you actually write. You can stare at a blank piece of paper for twelves hours, that's not writing, writing is writing so count your words not your minutes.

    As for number of words per day it depends. you have to find your own count. I do 1000 words a day. no more no less. If it takes me 15 minutes then I'm done for the day, if it takes me 5 hours then I don't stop till I'm done.

    Start writing, see what's the minimum you write every day then try a little high and keep doing it every day.
     
  6. growingpains
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    growingpains Member

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    I agree with this. You can sit down for an hour to write and by the end of the hour only have written a few hundred words. Just because you spent that time "writing" doesn't mean it was time well spent nor was it productive. You should focus on how many words to write - not how many hours. I've always found one thousand a good place to start - and the more you find your "groove" you can bump it up to as many as four thousand (personally). Though if you're not used to writing a lot - or regularly, for that matter - five hundred is a good place to start too. You can keep writing once you hit your mark if you're so inclined.

    Being that people's days are so busy, going by word count is most effective because you can bump up your word count in those little pockets of times you find throughout the day.
     
  7. growingpains
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    growingpains Member

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    I agree with this. You can sit down for an hour to write and by the end of the hour only have written a few hundred words. Just because you spent that time "writing" doesn't mean it was time well spent nor was it productive. You should focus on how many words to write - not how many hours. I've always found one thousand a good place to start - and the more you find your "groove" you can bump it up to as many as four thousand (personally). Though if you're not used to writing a lot - or regularly, for that matter - five hundred is a good place to start too. You can keep writing once you hit your mark if you're so inclined.

    Being that people's days are so busy, going by word count is most effective because you can bump up your word count in those little pockets of times you find throughout the day.
     
  8. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    As much as you can do without being overwhelmed/shirking your other responsibilities! :) (If you find yourself running dry on words, call it a day.)
     
  9. lallylello
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    lallylello Member

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    You have to force yourself? Poor you! I hope that was just a bad choice of words. I love writing and never see it as forcing myself, or I'd do something else instead!
    In an ideal world I'd write first thing in the morning and last thing at night and laze about in the middle! However, I have a job, kids, hubby etc. to fit in so it never quite works out like that. If I was working to a deadline I'd probably set myself a word target each day as has been said before. If you choose that route you could see if you can beat your target for a few days and once you're ahead of the game you can give yourself a day off.
    If you lead a busy life (like me) then you need to set aside time to achieve this. I know people who run away to the library or a cafe to write two or three times a week. I really want a shed like Philip Pullman so I can hide from the cries of 'Mum! What's for tea? Mum! Where's my green t-shirt? Mum! etc. etc.'
    (Love 'em all to bits really, though.)
    Good luck with your novel.
     
  10. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    You should never do it if you don't want to it at the time, I find that if I force myself to do something I don't want to, the results will almost always be negative.
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I find that if I force myself to sit and write I will get in the groove after a paragraph or two. Then I will be in the "zone," and have forgotten all about not wanting to do it a few minutes before.

    As for the OP's question, I write everyday--for as much as I can. Forgoing all other hobbies.
     
  12. NeedMoreRage
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    For the last month I've been averaging about 3.5k-4k words (about a chapter) per night (about 2-4 hours). But this is something extremely rare for me. I just have a time set each day and I try to start writing by that time. I don't set a minimum or maximum time limit because sometimes I just don't have enough to work on or a certain part is giving me trouble.
    I've heard that one should try to write every day and set a minimum limit of words to write each day, but that has never worked for me. I'm always writing novels and for me, 500-1000 words is not a sign of a productive night. I write a lot of words all at once, and then take a break until I know I have enough ideas and creative energy to do another chapter. It keeps my chapters consistent and makes it so that I only have to focus on one chapter at a time.
    I suggest you experiment with different methods. Most writers' methods are different, so it's best to just find what works best for you.
     
  13. Mokrie Dela
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    Mokrie Dela Member

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    I'd like to add, that some sittings i've written an entire chapter, just got the muse and gone with it, almost unconsciously. Other's i've spent an hour and written crap, or nothing more than a paragraph, so yes, perhaps the amount of words is a better goal to have than time.

    Also, what about writing excercises? Like what you did at school. They'd help your writing in several ways. You know, sometimes you need a break from your current project - they might help there.
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    it's too individual. Just make sure you write every day.
     
  15. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I wouldn't try for hours , I'd try for work accomplished. Set some goal per day - even if it's just a few pages. That way when you're on a roll you can add up your numbers to day, when your schedule doesn't permit a lot of time for writing. I try for an average of four to five pages per day, which can be anywhere between two and four hours of solid writing, depending on how easy the scene flows. Some days are too busy and I merely jot out scenes on the run, which I can flesh out the next day.
     
  16. kingzilla
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    kingzilla Senior Member

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    two to five hours for me, giving me 1000- 5000 words in a day. I try to get 2000 words a day, because then a 80,000 word novel will take forty days to finish rather then eighty.
     
  17. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    I don't put a word or time limit on myself because I know I'll never stick to it. Sometimes, especially if I'm in the mood, I can go for ages. Other times, when I've got time and am trying to push a creativity that isn't there, I find my work isn't the best. There's not proverb here to answer this question. It's each to their own.
     
  18. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    I don't have a time limit; I have a word limit. Usually around the 500 word mark. Sometimes I'l sit at my computer for six hours struggling to hit the mark, sometimes I pound it out and five minutes.
     
  19. There_She_Goes
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    There_She_Goes Member

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    Well, not exactly... But sometimes I'm just not in the mood for it. But I think it's the regular work that really helps you get closer to your goals. That's it :). But yeah, of course I like writing. I think it's funny how so many authors say they'd rather do something else when it's time to open the laptop and start working... :D
     
  20. lallylello
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    lallylello Member

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    I was probably being a bit harsh- I do know what you mean: the only way to make it happen is to have a bit of discipline. Truth be told, I mainly want to write when I can't - like when I know I've got to go to bed because I have to get up for work in the morning but inspiration's just hit and the words in my head are desperate to get out. Very frustrating!
    Top tip though (not mine, I heard it somewhere) is to finish the day half way through a scene - that way when you get back to writing the next day, you already know what you're going to write. Clever, eh?
     
  21. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    Depends I suppose on how much you know you can do. Also, would research be considered writing? If it is, then it is progressing your story, but not getting any words in. I would LIKE to write for an hour or two a day, but in reality, I can't get that much in. Until I'm sure I have things on track (house cleaned and other things) I usually only get a few hours in here and there. If you aren't terribly busy, I'd try for an hour or two, and I do like the word count, not the time. If you want to challenge yourself, try making yourself write 1000 words in an hour. I'm sure it'll get you further if you can deal with the discipline.
     
  22. Rapscallion
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    Rapscallion Active Member

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    If you sit down to write for a short while and snap out of it wondering where the hours went, you've probably done something good.

    Some times I intend to get just a short piece finished and I get carried into two or three events. Of course to most writers here the whole length of my stories is a short piece.

    It may be a good thing not to impose time limits but just write to your hearts content, be it 30 mins or 300.
     

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