Saturday, July 30, 2011

How Fast Do You Write?

It's been a while!

What have I been up to? I hear you ask. Apart from my screenwriting course, which was just a fab learning process, I've been doing a lot of learning and trying to nail down the illusive skill of writing a successful category romance.

But most recently I've been trying to figure out how some authors manage to churn out words at the speed of light while others--like myself--take a good three months or longer to finish a 50,000 word book. I've heard authors say write a bad first draft then re-write. What I'm curious to discover is whether authors who write 20 pages in two hours do that. Do they write total nonsense then re-write until it makes sense?

See, I don't get that. Surely it makes more sense to stop and think about where your story is going and get it right the first time rather than toss out any old pants then try to fix it. Another thing I'm wondering is: is it possible to write a word a second?

I ask because I've become fixated on this subject, if only because it's another handy stick to beat myself with. But if you look at this logically--1 manuscript page is somewhere around 250 words. Therefore 20 pages would total approximately 5000 words. Okay so, 5000 words written in 120 minutes would give a writing speed of  about 42 words per min. which would require a typing speed of around 0.7 word per second continuously!

WOW!! Some people can think super-fast!

I'm no typing slouch but there is no way I can think that fast to come up with dialogue, sexual tension, conflict, back story, portray traits, characterization, motivation, create sensual emotive love scenes, emotion, quirks, scars, weaknesses, strengths, etc, etc in continuous seconds without stopping to test whether these story moments make any sense or are even remotely entertaining.

To do that, you'd have to write without thinking. I'd love that gift, I can tell you! Or do these authors spend hours planning and prewriting each scene before they transfer words to keyboard? It takes me a whole day to write 1000 words, so do forgive me if I'm a little sceptical about such claims.

I'm not saying it isn't possible to write a word and a half a second, I'm simply saying....hmmm...I might need to train as a Stenographer...

How fast do you write? And can you tell me how? I've made it my goal to increase my output. I'd love you to share your tricks with me.

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  1. I'm with you, Monique. Writing is painstakingly slow for me. Write. Delete. Write some more. Repeat.

    But I found my writing rhythm. If a story's flowing, I can write 1000-1500 words in 3 hrs give or take in the morning (on a good day). Give me the same time frame in the afternoon and that number drops drastically. So I schedule my writing for mornings and reserve everything else for afternoons. Works for me.

    Great post, Monique.

  2. Hmmm, Dora, you have me thinking. Am I simply not writing at my peak time? Need to check on that.

    Thanks! :)

  3. Welcome back, Monique. How fast I write depends on the story and some days are more productive than others. A good typing speed helps :-)

  4. Thanks, Lacey!

    I'm hoping to keep up the blog a bit more now I've finished my screenwriting course.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hi Monique. I write very fast. If it's flowing well I can do 5k in a day or more. But - and it's a big but! - I do turn off my internal editor completely and just write. It does mean that my first drafts are incredibly bad. That's what editing is for though, right? :-)

  6. LoL, Jackie.

    I can't EVER turn off my internal editor. So after many years of fighting it, I've finally embraced the fact that it's the way I write. Since then my word count has tripled.

    Isn't it amazing what we can achieve when we stop fighting ourselves?

    I think the plus side of writing with my internal editor firmly beside me is that I end up with only minor edits on my books.

    Thanks for stopping by. :)


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