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How fast do you finish writing your books?

6449 Views 31 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  edmjill
Just curious. I've been thinking a lot about 2013 lately, and my main objective is to get at least one book out by summer. However, I'm aware that this is 'low' in terms of possible productivity. I've seen authors put out six or seven a year, which I think would be ideal, but I recognize that not everyone writes at the same pace.

How fast do you finish your own books? Do you have a writing quota you stick to? A chapter a day? 3k words a day?

Also, how long do you take for editing and formatting and stuff? I imagine it takes much longer to fine tune your book, get your cover completed, and format it than it does to actually finish the damn thing, but still. I'm curious about time frame sort of things.

Also, do you have any tips for productivity? So far I seem to be completing somewhere around 2k to 2.5k words a day. Some cases a whole chapter. If my math-y type skills serve me well, I -might- actually be done with draft one in a week and a half or so.

I'd like to be one of those super prolific writers that gets ten books out a year, but I don't think that's very practical. But who knows! Maybe I just need a stronger work ethic.
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If it makes you feel better, I'm a tortoise to your hare.  :p

No quotas for me. I just focus on the end goal of telling a good quality story, and trying to get one book out every year. Everything beyond that (short stories, work on other potential novels, etc.) is just icing on the cake.

As for editing: not long at all. I make sure to bake a lot of the technical stuff into the document as I type, so I just have to slap a title page, table of contents, and end page and it's all but ready. This normally takes about a week. Being savvy with your word processor does wonders, and cuts down on the time immensely. (I've had to manually convert everything to the proper formatting for other people's work, and it takes three times as long, or more.)
In the seven days that I've written I've produced 64,000 words, which after another 6 thousand I hope to get done tonight, will be 70 thousand.  I write for 8 hours a day, like a job, I produced roughly 1,500 words an hour, sometimes as high as 1,800 words.  I can write a 100,000 word book in 2 weeks.  It takes me roughly 2 to 4 days to outline the book so between 16 to 32 hours of work, just outlining the entire book.

Also, I've been working on these book ideas for months to years, they're not random thoughts, but things I've built to over time before I even sit down to outline.  I then spend roughly two to three times the amount of time editing for 4 to 6 hours a day, at least that's what I've started to do.  In the month of January, I will be releasing nearly 20 publications between 5 and 60,000 words.

Now, I'm working on this for a living and am taking the whole year.  I'm a touch typist who can type roughly 89 words a minute (when typing a story it's about 27 to 33).

For years I didn't outline my books and my ideas, I just started a month ago (the busiest months of my life) and yet wrote more in the last two months than I have the entire year.  I don't have to think of story even if my story changes from my outline.

I'm a perfectionist, I write, rewrite, edit, then line edit all my work.  I highly recommend the book 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron, or you can go to her blog, or google Rachel Aaron fast writing, and get a full strategy in how to produce prose very quickly.  It's the best system that I've found, it's changed my writing, and by next year I expect it to change my life.

But, everyone's different, no method is better than the other, whatever gets your book done, gets your book done, and that's the major accomplishment right there.  There's nothing more exciting than holding a copy of your book in your hand.  Everytime I do it feels like the first time.

Have Fun!  Do your Best!  Get To Work!  Avoid the procrastination trap of this board.  I get addicted to it as probably many of the writers can attest.
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I write about 1100 words/hour the first hour, and up to 1400 words/hour once I'm warmed up. If I only write 2k words in a day, I know I didn't even put in 2 hours. I try not to confuse time at the computer with time writing.  :D (Honestly, I have an app that blocks the internet. I have no self-restraint.)

Oh, in answer to the original question, my quota is 3k per day. I try to do more when I'm feeling groovy, to make up for the days I choke and write nothing.
I average ~1200 words per hour when I'm focused. I'd like to reach a 4 book per year average, but I'm not there yet.

Editing certainly takes up a good portion of my time. I have four steps right now:
1. Quick content review to make sure there aren't any gaps or glaring issues.
2. Run it through grammar software to help identify issues.
3. Read it out loud slowly, fixing errors as I go.
4. Download it on my phone for 'leisure reading'.

I spent a lot less time on compiling and formatting now that I use Scrivener. It used to take me an entire weekend to format a book, but now it only takes a couple hours.
I average 1,500 words per hour. I have an editor that does all the 'hard work' on my own i doubt i'd get 1 book a year done.
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(Daily) One page minimum - three pages maximum (single spaced)

Less is more. I am productive and avoid burnout at the same time.
I write about 3 books each week. Two non fictions ( about 10k words each) and 1 fiction ( anywhere from 40k to 80k) I do write 10 hours daily but it's not all for myself. I still have my clients. I write about 1800 to 2000 words per hour on a good day with little trouble. Writing daily is a must for me. I'm sick this week so my work amount is lower than normal. :( Still next week should be amazing!

I still need to read that 2k to 10k book. I'd assume that would double my writing speed... who knows.

Also.. just because you write slow doesn't mean you don't produce quality work. Speed is key within my business so I've learned to make the most of my writing time. It might not fit for everyone. :)
Dalya said:
(Honestly, I have an app that blocks the internet. I have no self-restraint.)
Which app do you use? I'm on the hunt for something that I can't just override when I'm feeling the urge to check out random youtube clips.
I write 7 pages a day, 6 or 7 days a week, which allows me to finish a 60k novel every month.
I wrote three novels and a novella in 2012 and am hoping to write four novels in 2013. I write 1,500 - 2,000 words every single day when I'm working on the rough draft. I then take about a month to get the book ready for public consumption.

I'd love to be able to up my production, but the current pace is mentally fatiguing enough that I'm not sure I could manage.
Combined with a full time job, I've managed to get one book out every year; 8 months for first draft plus 4 months of editing. This is the book from concept to finish (meaning no initial outlining). Now I'm doing it full time (as of 4 months ago), my aim is 2 books per year.
A week of outlining (for a trilogy). Then 2,500 to 3,500 a day on the first draft until done. Then put it away for a couple of weeks (work on other WIP) then edit for a week (scattered days between other WIP) then send out for reader/edits.
You must have an outline before starting. And keep a spreadsheet of words by day by title.
I'm a fast writer and a slow editor.  A really, really slow editor.  This year I plan on correcting that.
I feel like 3 months is adequate for around 200 pages. It's daily habits and a strong finish. I know some are faster, but life, man, really takes a lot out of me before 5pm.

I have written 2 books full novels in six months. It nearly killed
I like to take 2-3 months to finish a book but my readers are...excited and many ask about the next one.
The nature of the indie book business is such that I can't take the amount of time I would like between projects.
It also depends on if I'm on deadline. If I am, EVERYTHING takes a backseat.
My husband has never seen me on deadline. In a few weeks he's gonna have to figure out how to work the stove!
I wrote about 100k words in November 2012 (a novella and most of a novel). I've written a 75k novel this month. I'd like to write another 60-70k novel next month.

Frankly, this pace is a bit much for me. Once I get the next book out, I think I'm going to dial it back a bit--maybe just stick to 50k a month.

As a side note, I can only get this much work done because my husband and I are both home, and he takes care of our son. So I'm pretty much free for face-on-keyboard mashing all day, every day.
Holy crap guys, thanks for the responses. Getting an average from several different people helps me put stuff into perspective. (Plus, it's a nice kick in the tush, as far as motivation goes.)

I still think I'm a little on the lower end, but if I focus, I think I'll be able to get to a more productive pace. Thanks again! I'm going to go write now, right now, lol.
I'm slower than most of these people. I'm only good for about 500 words/hour. I do it almost full-time--just do a bit of movie reviewin' on the side--so I can still pull off 60-80K of first draft in a month.

Last year, however, I only produced about 300K of final draft words. Compared to a potential of 720-960K words. I didn't really buckle down until March, and I think I can do better, but even so, it looks like I spent about 50% of my time on edits, maintenance, formatting, covers, etc. Revision is far and away the most of that. The other stuff really doesn't take all that long once you've got it worked out.
Wow, that is really an open end question! It comes down to what kind of book it is, how long it is, how much detail is involved in it, if there is research required, and so forth. For me, I am too new to really give an answer. But if I were to devote eight hours per day into just writing, I would probably do about 10,000 words. My problem comes in editing. When I write, it sounds good to me and it feels like I am catching all punctuation and grammatical errors. However, when I go back and review, it always amazes me how many mistakes I made. I started my second book, however, I decided to revise GIFTED before I print it on paperback so the second book is on hold. I hope to have it done by this Summer but I will do a better job of polishing it before publishing than I did with GIFTED.

Take your time, write at a pace you are comfortable with and enjoy.  = )
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