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Author Topic: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?  (Read 2053 times)

Offline Finn McCool

How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« on: July 13, 2016, 09:10:38 PM »
I find it interesting reading the "How Many Words did You Write Today" forum topic and the counterpart since it helps me get into seeing how other authors function, but when seeing some authors who write some tens of thousands of words in a day and seeing myself write only a few hundred, it makes me wonder how much time they commit to that massive words-count (Honestly if you can do that, then you can accept a virtual pat-on-the-back from me.). 

The question that immediately arises is the titular one: 'How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?'  For this, it would be interesting to hear what your average is when you are in your general highest productivity, average, and lowest (leaving aside writer's block naturally.).

 

Offline Raptori

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Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2016, 09:37:14 PM »
Good idea for a thread, it'd be interesting to hear what the others say! What kind of numbers do you tend to reach?

We used to write about 100 words per hour most of the time - 400 wph at best - but that changed a while back after reading up on how to be more productive when writing. I wrote an  explanation of what we do differently (plus links to the articles that helped most) in this post. After making those changes we write ~1500-2000 words per hour.

Unfortunately we've had little writing time for the last few months so usually only manage to get 30 minutes every few days at best. It's rare for us to not reach 800 words per half hour, and the few times we've managed to write for a couple of hours in one go we ended up writing over 1500 each in the 30 min "pomodoro" blocks in the middle of the session (we recorded word counts in each break between pomodoros).

Once we get our schedules sorted we'll be aiming for 2-3 hours daily writing time, hopefully that holds up and we can get really productive!
« Last Edit: July 13, 2016, 09:43:10 PM by Raptori »
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Offline Alex Hormann

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Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2016, 09:44:09 PM »
When I'm not at university I have to schedule writing around farmwork. I can easily get 1000 words per hour once I get going, but it's quite often short bursts of a few hundred.

Offline zmunkz

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2016, 12:33:10 AM »
For me it is not consistent... when I have a good outline and the creativity is flowing, I can bang out 1000 words and hour for three or four hours in a row. MOST of the time it is way less than that... sometimes only 500 words in a week. For every crazy day of several thousand words, I probably have 2 weeks of way less.

According to Brandon Sanderson's BYU lectures, most people write about 500 words an hour when they are warmed up (he suggests new writers aim for 3K/week every week, and then says for most people this is about six hours of uninterrupted writing).
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Offline night_wrtr

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2016, 01:22:38 AM »
Mine tends to vary. If I can get an uninterrupted hour, it will fall between 500-1500 words.

Sometimes I'll get next to nothing if I'm discovery writing.

Offline SugoiMe

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2016, 03:28:00 AM »
I'm pretty slow. I can manage 1000 in an hour on a good day, but mostly I average out at 750 words in an hour.
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Offline cupiscent

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2016, 06:50:56 AM »
During Nanowrimo, when I had a full outline and permission to just slam the words down and keep moving forward, I was writing about 2500 words a day in about two hours (half hour commute each way, half hour lunch break, and then whatever I needed in the evening). These days I get a maximum of two hours writing time a day, in two hour-long patches, and I've been calling it a great day if I get a thousand words.

I will note that I think writers - especially aspiring / starting-out writers - over-emphasise the importance of the "uninterrupted hour". We can tend not to write unless we have a big block of time, with the result that we don't write very often, with the flow-on result that then, when we do write, it takes time to limber up. I found that my productivity increased a lot when I made an effort to write every day, regardless of how many words I wrote. I started out with a goal of 200 words a day, minimum five days a week, just grabbing fifteen minutes here and there. I found that once I'd done that for a week, I was getting more words out of the same time because when I put fingers to keyboard, my brain already had the words ready to come. My subconscious had kept working, basically, knowing that a chance to write would come soon.

That doesn't work for everyone. I know I read a thing from Kameron Hurley talking about how she works best in big blocks of time, so she sets aside a day or two a week as writing days and just does it all then. Not to mention that snippets here and there is a painful way to revise. (I know, I'm trying to do it now, and it's driving me crazy.) The big trick is figuring out how you work best, and making the effort to make it easier for yourself.

Offline slywind

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Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2016, 05:17:14 PM »
My writing speed fluctuates. I can write 2000 words in an hour if I'm excited about what I'm writing and familiar with what I'm trying to do and convey. However, that 2000 words will need heavy editing. It'll be riddled with weak adverbs and passive writing. If I slow down and focus on writing quality, sometimes I'll feel myself get bogged down, and can't get words out fast enough.

So for me, it's a toss up between writing terrible prose and fixing it, or writing okay prose and fixing it less. I'm currently spending a lot of time trying to ingrain better writing habits so it happens on a subconscious level.

@Raptori I read the post you linked to and really enjoyed it. I've been doing a bit of a variation on what you do with your multiple drafts, but usually I combine your first and second versions into one. That said, I have noticed something that gives me trouble with that method. If I'm writing a longer story, some of my character development, plot, and worldbuilding comes from actually writing the story. I feel I miss out on some of this when I just put down the points of light on a map (as I think of it). So, with shorter stories, I find writing the basics down works fantastically. But for a novel-sized piece of work, I sometimes let myself slip into full prose as I write, because it tends to lead down interesting paths.

Phew. That came out longer than expected!

Offline Raptori

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Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2016, 08:37:55 PM »
@Raptori I read the post you linked to and really enjoyed it. I've been doing a bit of a variation on what you do with your multiple drafts, but usually I combine your first and second versions into one.
Glad you liked it! We're not hugely strict on it either, good to mix things up when you feel like it.

That said, I have noticed something that gives me trouble with that method. If I'm writing a longer story, some of my character development, plot, and worldbuilding comes from actually writing the story. I feel I miss out on some of this when I just put down the points of light on a map (as I think of it). So, with shorter stories, I find writing the basics down works fantastically. But for a novel-sized piece of work, I sometimes let myself slip into full prose as I write, because it tends to lead down interesting paths.
That's a good thing really! It's only really worth being strict about it when your inner editor is killing your productivity - holding back from getting down the pieces that come to you whole is never a good idea!
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline TLCannon

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2016, 06:10:13 PM »
For me, it depends on what I'm writing.

If its the first draft of a novel or short story, probably around 1800 words an hour is my average. I can usually finish my NaNoWriMo daily total in my morning commute.

If it is the second, third, or forth drafts, then probably closer to 800 words, depending on how close to acceptable it was when I got to it.

If it is an article for a website or magazine, then I usually write around 800 words in an hour. These need a bit more research and care, as I tend to do fewer drafts of them and I need to get them closer to right on the first try.

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 09:03:06 PM »
I can produce 5K words of decent draft prose / day, but cannot sustain it without health issues or quality suffering. I prefer half that. It's a great question, but I think straight numbers of words per hour/day, etc., are incomplete.

I use what I call a layered approach, and depending on the layer, there's a different unit of measure. I find I work faster if I only do one thing at a time. Here's what I do and approx. how fast I do it:

Scene Prep: 1/2 day / scene: establish setting(s), # & type of characters required, scene-level plot, exposition, and dialogue tasks, plot tasks and constraints (what must and must not happen).

Character synthesis (walk-ons, extras with basic actions, basic dialogue): .5 - 1 hour/extra, 2 hours for initial draft of a character profile

Initial Draft (creation of plot, events, character motives & major reactions, basic dialogue,  scenes) : 3-5K /day

Initial PLOT review (consistency, plausibility, linkage to other scenes, event sequencing): 10K / day

Characterization insertion: motives, reactions, noticed details, interior monologue: 3K / day

Dialogue review (grammar[mine], references [theirs], char. style/voice adaptation: 1 scene / day

Description: (additional details to stimulate senses, provide stage direction to the action and reader's eye): 1.5K / day

I won't go into editing, but I imagine I provide more detail here than most.




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Offline Matamelcan

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2016, 05:49:56 AM »
Good grief... I can't even imagine writing 2500+ in a day... my proudest moment was when I wrote 3300 words in a day, never happened since.  I write about 500-1000 a day, gah, its frustrating.
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Offline Deads

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2016, 04:54:22 PM »
I find, for me, it's easier to write in short bursts, and often not even daily.  I'll write for 30 or 40 minutes, and end up with anywhere from 500 to 1500 words, depending on what I'm doing.  Then I'll have to take a break for a while.  also, I tend to write consecutively for a few days, then take a day or two off, sometimes more.  That said, I've never tried to write anything longer than  a few thousand words, so... yeah. 

Offline Peat

Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2016, 02:17:19 AM »
Piece of string.

When focused, 500 words in 30 minutes ain't a big thing. I'm more likely to stretch it over an hour while doing something else at the same time. If I'm in a plot mire, things go slow... if I know what I'm writing ahead of time, it flies.

I just logged 10,000 over the last 4 days (not including 2 and a bit chapter revisions of something else and 2 blog posts) - there's been times when I'd kill for 10,000 a week. I think 3,000 a day is currently my maximum speed but that's because of my short attention span.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: How Quickly/Slowly Do You Write?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2016, 06:01:37 AM »
It depends on how well the writing is going. I've written as much as 3,000 words per hour, but I'd say my average on a solid writing day is somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000. On a slow day, it may only be 500. I don't have much writing time, so I try to make the most of it.