Average Daily Word Count?

Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MzSnowleopard, Sep 25, 2020.

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  1. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Or you just need to tell her to get the #$%^&* out of here and leave you alone. While it doesn't fix your situation, there's a reason people say that authors need a thick skin. It's just practice for what you will eventually run into in the real world.
     
  2. CrimsonAngel

    CrimsonAngel Active Member

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    I try to write 10,000 words a day, but only write about 300 words a day, but I am getting there! :)
     
  3. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    And don’t be discouraged by that. 15k per day is an unrealistic target, despite what some here are insisting. If they can churn out that every day well then that’s just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic. But A, they must be in that privileged position which means they don’t have to work for a living. And B, I’m taking it with a huge pinch of salt regardless.
     
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  4. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    I totally agree if you mean to do that consistently. I used to have my goal at 7.5k with the ultimate goal of reaching 10k a day. I found that it was too much of a struggle, I'd just write stuff just to count words and that didn't do anyone any good. Therefore, I reduced my goal back to 5k and I don't have problems anymore. For me, that's a realistic goal. But I don't just reach 5k and stop. I write until I can't write anymore. I never fail to hit my 5k goal, but if I can go 6k or 7k, I'll do that. When it flows, it flows.

    The point isn't to pick an arbitrary number and force yourself to hit it. The point is to write. Challenge yourself. I don't just say "I hit 5k, I can stop now." I am constantly pushing myself with new goals. Sure, I hit my 5k, but I'm almost at the end of this chapter so I'll keep going until I'm done. I'm close to 80k in the novel, so I'm going to keep going until I'm there. I don't stop until I can't continue. I am constantly pushing to improve. Someday, I'll make a push for 7.5k again.

    And yes, I have a full time career, thanks.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I don't think any body in this thread has said 15k a day is realistic (ive done about 7k today, and thats on top of a day job) Cephus said he does 5k, i said i average 3k although i did 6k yesterday and 7k today... where did this 15k figure come from ?

    In on writing stephen king says he aims for 2k a day on average

    The only author i know whos cranking out 15-20k a day is Joanna Penn, and shes using dictation... if you typed 15k everyday you'd have a primo case of rsi in very short order
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
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  6. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Stephen King is also traditionally published and as such, he only gets one book, at best, published a year, at least under his name. That's why he came up with Richard Bachman, so he could get more books out faster. People like Joanna Penn are self-published and they put out multiple books a year. There is a reason for the disparity.
     
  7. CrimsonAngel

    CrimsonAngel Active Member

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    What is primo case of rsi?
     
  8. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    A serious case of repetitive strain injury.
     
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  9. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I understand that, including and especially point c) - People seem to take it the wrong way, suggesting I'm pitching that you don't need to write much to get good at it. Obviously not. I'm talking about stressing over arbitrary targets for the sake of volume, not quality. It needs to be both. Personally I'd rather read a book crafted carefully over several years than one bashed out over a weekend. I'd agree that smashing out words can help exercise the writing mind, and is a perfectly reasonable strategy to develop skills. It's training, and an athlete might reasonably take pride in how much training they do, and have a perfectly reasonable training schedule, just as one could have a writing schedule with quotas. But it's not the end game. If they only train, and never race, so what? My point is about the interesting phenomena that quality is rarely ever mentioned or addressed when writing quotas are discussed, even the acknowledgement that a writing quota may compromise quality if too strictly focused on (ah shit, I only hit 3K words of my 4k target. It's great but I missed my target, I failed!). I'm also addressing that quantity, not quality, seems to be the main point of pride and a measure of writing achievement by many. But word quotas are not the only measure of useful productivity. It's like an athlete so happy about meeting their training goals they don't even care about how fast they are. Fine if you just want to get fit or have fun. No good if you want to win.

    Let's open the discussion about quotas a bit more rather than keeping it confined to 'productivity'.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  10. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Time thinking about your story is not wasted. I find myself far more creative walking for a few hours (or weeks) musing about the idea and then typing, than sitting at the computer the whole time. I have no problems finishing books or scripts because my plots are usually fully formed through plotting and planning carefully while out and about. I also think they're better for it because I haven't just accepted the first idea that came to mind. I make notes on my phone or simply let the residue of the best ideas stick in the mind. The writing then becomes the mechanics of construction, with room for creativity, but the hard stuff is figured out. I spend a lot more time thinking than writing, and for me that works fine. I've personally never had or held quotas, with some works completed in 2 weeks and others 8 years. Some sittings I write 50 words, some 10k, but they all get me there in the end. It depends. For me. I like to let the art breath, evolve and give myself space to explore more complex emotions, rather than bash out words when I don't feel at my best in order to meet some arbitrary self-imposed (and not very helpful) goal. Everyone has their process. I'm simply pitching the idea that word quotas are not the only measure of useful productivity.

    This is a great video about Roald Dahl's process ("The pencil doesn’t very often touch the paper. It’s looking and musing and correcting and then, then you do a little writing, and in the end you get something done…"):
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  11. CrimsonAngel

    CrimsonAngel Active Member

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    That is interesting, never want that though.
     
  12. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I got it. Not from writing but gaming in the late nineties. Oops.
     
  13. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, when it comes down to it, it's what you do with the words on the page and not how many there are or how quickly you get them out. To be a writer, there is more involved than just time at a keyboard. I read more than I write, but, for me, that's an important part of being a writer. And as I said earlier it takes me about two or three times longer to get through the revision than the initial writing. And I do edit as I write, but it's not enough, not for me.

    I'm primarily a short story writer. I've rarely gotten a draft down in a day even with a word count less than some of you. I would say it takes me a good week to write a first draft that's probably around 4k words. And that's just the beginning. As someone who is actively selling my work and publishing, I know how much time really goes into the stories I do sell. It's a lot more than many people would think. I haven't published a novel, but I have written a few. I don't think a high daily word count would really do me any favors. I'm not in a rush. And writing is my only job. I'm not in a rush, but I still feel I am productive.

    I would burn out writing 5k or more words every day. Personally, I know I couldn't maintain something like that. It doesn't really come down to practice produces increased writing speeds and higher daily word counts. It hasn't worked for me and I've had plenty of practice. It's great if some of you can be that prolific, but I think there's more that comes down to it the the number of words you can get down in a day. I've said this before and I really believe that the real magic happens during revision anyway.
     
  14. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber <[:>)-|---< Contributor

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    That's better than zero, which is pretty much where I'm at right now.
     
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  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If the book is well edited both by the author and by a team of professionals you shouldn't be able to tell the difference... to be clear I'm talking about fast writing a first draft... the work flow after first draft of self edit-- second self edit -- editor--proof reader -- format -- publish obviously takes time... i'm not or a minute suggesting that anyone publish the first draft (and that still applies if the first draft took 4 years to write)
     
  16. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Contributor Contributor

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    I think the point moose and Cephus are making is that, the more you practise at writing, the better you become at it and the less time you need to spend thinking about the details of your story - that becomes automatic. The time to agonise over the words is in edit, not in first draft.

    If you pants, I imagine you would spend more time thinking about your story. I'm not criticising that, I'm a pantser.
     
  17. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    To be clear I'm not against fast writing. And maybe my language had a bit too much hyperbole. I guess I was countering the idea that going slowly and carefully meant not getting things done. ALL writing methods have their merits, and taking one's time to thoughtfully craft a story is one such valid method. Yes, a well edited fast draft can shine. And there are plenty of real world examples where it works. On The Road springs to mind, but he planned that for years before starting his famous typathon, and then spent the next few years in the edit.

    (I am convinced though that many self-published writers, and I'm not suggesting those here, do both; smash out a fast draft and then publish with minimal editing. Those vanity novels are often just roleplaying and I doubt they go back to read through it again to see if it's any good. I often think some have only been gone through once, while writing.)
     
  18. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    It depends. It's individual. As deadrats mentioned, that theory works well for some but not for others. I've been writing for well over 25 years and still need lots of time to muse over things. And I personally prefer to get it as right as I can while working on it. I'll redraft what I have several times while working on the rest. So my message to the OP is; don't stress about not meeting the challenge of an arbitrary word count. Just write, and see what you get.
     
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  19. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Well all this makes me feel a little better about spending 4 hours agonising over the use (or not) of a comma.
     
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  20. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Lol, that's so me. I think I wrote in this forum ages ago that I spent months agonizing over a single sentence, only to finally cut it out. I just couldn't get the meaning out of it that I wanted.

    I like this (supposed) quote by Oscar Wilde: "I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out"*

    or Gustave Flaubert in a letter to a friend while writing Madame Bovary: "I have just spent a good week alone like a hermit and calm as a god. I abandoned myself to a frenzy of literature. I got up at midday, I went to bed at four in the morning; I have written eight pages."

    *yes, I know the quote is debated and likely not true, and also sometimes attributed to his editing, or proofing, but don't spoil my fun!
     
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  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    There isn't one right answer to this , everyone is different... but for me the first draft is about plot character setting, dialogue and action... i worry about things like comma usage in the edits , and my proofreader then corrects me in the spag edit

    There also isn't one right answer to the speed , but if you want to sell your books there is a need for reasonably fast output... in a trad deal a publisher probably won't wait ten years for the next book and if self publishing you need a reasonable level of output for effective marketing.

    I self publish and usually (this year less so because of my insanely high covid workload in my day job) publish six a year... that doesnt imply smashing out a book every two months... the books that i would have published this year were mostly written in 18/19, and what I'm currently writing now will be published in 21/22
     
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  22. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    I think it was Flaubert who also said (I’m also paraphrasing): “Every word is like the tearing of flesh from my body.”
     
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  23. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Unfortunately, a lot of people do exactly that.
     
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  24. MzSnowleopard

    MzSnowleopard New Member

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    I give people kudos for the courage to put their work out there. Sadly, when the do this, it's not their best work.
    I have novels I've been working on for well over 15 years. They're not ready for public consumption. My friend however, has churned out several books. I have read 3. To be honest, I've seen her do better in play-by-post RPG's. What she's released makes me cringe.

    Writers do themselves a disservice by releasing their stories before they are the best possibility that they can be.
     
  25. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    That's true. And there are writers who have such a poor view of their own skills that they will never release anything because they are terrified of the consequences. It's why people can't just throw things up on Amazon without review. It's why the beta reading process is so important. You can tell the people who never availed themselves to other people's opinions. Those are the people at the bottom of Amazon's rankings.
     

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