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Ok, so I've mostly been lurking here for quite some time now. The thing is, all the inspiring threads lately have been really encouraging and I finally started writing my first book! Ok, so it's my second attempt at starting a book but I lost steam pretty quick last time around.

Anyway, I'm finding that I am a terribly slow writer. I am lucky if I can get out a few hundred words per day. Ugh.

I've tried outlining my story ahead of time but I can't seem to come up with much of a plot that way.

Plus, the one scene that I have completed is short. Something like 400 words. Shouldn't it be a bit longer than that?

Any help, here? Thanks.
 

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Daniel,

I'm a fast writer but a slow thinker. It takes me time to come up with what I want to write in a scene, and I often write and then throw stuff out. While I'm typing, though, I'm a whiz!

The thing is, it doesn't matter how many words you put out in a day. What matters is that you keep at it and that you work on your book every day. Your speed will (probably) increase with practice. And one day you'll find yourself typing "the end."

Hang on. As people say, it isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, and I'll add: It doesn't matter if you race across the finish line or drag yourself across on your elbows. Once you finish, you've won!
 

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Take comfort... there are other turtles running the race with you. I definitely include myself in that category.

I just don't have it in me to create a dozen works every year. I don't have that much creative oomph. If I didn't have to work a 40+ hour work week, I think I could definitely finish two books per year, and I might be able to get to three, but that's going to be it for me, I think.

I need to live with an idea for a while... warm up to it, get to know it, let it really soak in before I am ready to write it down.

I don't begrudge the fast writers their ability... I just recognize that I don't have it. To each their own!

I think Jan is right about just committing to doing something with your book every day. Getting that discipline is important.
 

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Hi Daniel! Don't be discouraged. I think writing gets a bit easier as you do it more. I also started out barely able to write a few hundred words a day. I think of it as my pool of creativity, and mine gets exhausted pretty quickly.

But over the years I've pushed and pushed that until I can pretty easily do 1000, sometimes 1500 words a day. And I find that as long as I keep a reasonably steady schedule, say three to five days a week where I at least do my 1000 words, then I get ahead, slowly but surely. And if I can do 3000-5000 words a week, then I can finish a novel in four or five months (editing not included :) )

So please keep at it. You might enjoy
, which is part of a lovely talk by Ira Glass about learning to write as a new creative worker.

As for your chapters, I find that mine come out about 2500-3000 words, but I admit I'm still learning about novel structure and what works. They say a chapter should be as long as it needs to be, so without knowing your work who can say that 400 words is too short?

The one thing I'm certain of is that the more you write, the more you do your own body of work, the more you'll know about what's right and what works for you.

Good luck!
 

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It is what it is.  You may find some good ideas and inspiration at www.nanowrimo.org.  For a lot of people, you need to turn off the inner editor in order to get the words out.  Otherwise, though, if slow works for you, then don't fix it.

Oh, and writing sex scenes does take up lots and lots of words.  Just sayin'.   :eek:
 

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Your scene should be exactly as long as it needs to be. There are no rules, or if they are, they're made to be broken. :)

I'm a phenomenally slow writer -- somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 words a day, maybe. But, I eventually get things finished!
 

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Daniel P Robertson said:
Ok, so I've mostly been lurking here for quite some time now. The thing is, all the inspiring threads lately have been really encouraging and I finally started writing my first book! Ok, so it's my second attempt at starting a book but I lost steam pretty quick last time around.

Anyway, I'm finding that I am a terribly slow writer. I am lucky if I can get out a few hundred words per day. Ugh.

I've tried outlining my story ahead of time but I can't seem to come up with much of a plot that way.

Plus, the one scene that I have completed is short. Something like 400 words. Shouldn't it be a bit longer than that?

Any help, here? Thanks.
Hmmm. Are you enjoying yourself?

There are a zillion reasons to write. For some, it's a business that earns them money. For some, they don't care about the money, but enjoy it for other reasons. If you write slowly, you'll have fewer books, and the current self-pub environment does seem to favor the prolific. If you're prolific, you get more chances to be "lucky" plus you get better with practice.

If you're not prolific, do you want to be? If you want to be, keep taking lessons from people who are.

If you don't want to be prolific, then exactly what do you want?

A while ago, I made a joke while I was working on a story, saying "It may not be great, but it's long!" This was absolutely a joke about my insecurities. Another author thought it meant I was spewing out crap. Now, my crap may be crap at times, but I'm never trying to spew out crap. I'm trying to spew out genius. LOL. Hey, maybe you just need to be more delusional, like me. I recommend Delusional Tea. Three pots a day.
 

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Hi, Daniel! :)

Lots of us write quite slowly. Some of us are amazingly fast, too. Some plan ahead really effectively. Some are "pantsers." Personally, I'm a slow pantser. Most of my slowness right now is coming from real-life concerns (day job, health issues), but even with no distractions, I don't write fiction quickly.

I think the key to remember is that writers of *all* types can, do, and have for centuries produced great books. Whatever your writing method is, you just work with it to maximize your productiveness. If you figure out what works well for you and commit to it, you'll write books.

Good luck with you current WIP!

Sent from my LG-VS700 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Welcome. I started my WIP for nano in 2008 and I'm just now halfway through editing the thing for the first time. I don't know how many words that is per day, but I don't think it's a lot. And my first scene is around 800 words. Sounds like you're on the right track to me. ;D
 

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Daniel P Robertson said:
Anyway, I'm finding that I am a terribly slow writer. I am lucky if I can get out a few hundred words per day. Ugh.
A few hundred words a day is better than no words a day! I generally average 1-2k a day, but some days 100. I don't put too much stock on my daily count as long as I have something written for the day.

Daniel P Robertson said:
I've tried outlining my story ahead of time but I can't seem to come up with much of a plot that way.
Not all writers follow an outline (hell, I don't). Why don't you just start out with some notes and go from there. There's no rule that says you have to have an outline in order to write. Do what works for you!

Daniel P Robertson said:
Plus, the one scene that I have completed is short. Something like 400 words. Shouldn't it be a bit longer than that?
Don't stress too much about short scenes. Remember, you can have several scenes within a chapter. You'd be surprised how much you end up adding to it when it comes time for the second (or third, or fourth) draft!

At the end of the day, do what works for you. That's what revisions are for. Don't over think the formalities of writing (do it later when you edit)!
 

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Thanks everyone! I didn't expect to get so many replies so fast, gotta love the KB!

I certainly hope that most of this slow writing is due to my newb status. Otherwise I might never get anything done.

I have done some blogging, and managed to get out a few 1000 word posts in a day or two, but even that is a bit taxing. Fiction is so much more of a struggle than that for me.

@jnfr I've seen that Ira Glass video several times, and I love it!

@fredster I hate my internal editor...or at least when I'm trying to write. I'm sure it will come in handy once I get the first draft done though! I just need to figure out how to get him to shut up when I'm not ready for him.

@daIya I do want to be prolific. I've read some books and blog posts on faster writing, and I try to adopt those methods but I think I just need more experience. I'd be lieing if I said money wasn't one of my motivators, but I've wanted to be an author since I first started reading as a kid.

@everyone Thanks again!
 

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I've been at this writing thing for well over a dozen years. (My first short story was published in 2001, long before the epub revolution.) And I'm still a slow writer. I blame it on the fact that I'm a trained literary critic, with a Ph.D. in English literature. Very, very hard for me to get the editor off my back. But it does have its advantages. I've been told by editors more than once that I write very clean copy. Still, I really do wish I could put out first drafts faster. I'm probably going to die before I get all the stories out that are in me. :(

It is what it is and you are what you are. That said, if you're just starting out as a writer, you have to calculate a certain amount of time as "apprenticeship" -- you don't start from day one knowing exactly how to get from the first sentence to the last. My apprenticeship took me through Clarion West and a number or online writing workshops before I sold that first short story to a print magazine. I sincerely believe that joining or attending some kind of workshop will help immensely with the learning curve.

Good luck! The most important thing in this business is determination. Be a SOBWBIC (Stubborn Old B#!&% With Butt in Chair).
 

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You'll find whatever your natural productivity level is and it will fluctuate - maybe often, maybe only occasionally - and if it's "slow" then so be it. Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment, The Last Picture Show) said he writes 5 pages per day, and that's about it (though he does try to write 5 pages *every* day). Compared to some of the productivity levels of those here on KB, he would be a "slow writer."

Then there's Herman Wouk; Winds of War and War and Remembrance each took something like 6-7 years to write, so if you figure 1000 pages for each book over 6-7 years, that's "pretty darn slow."

For me, every so often I can get into "the zone" and crank out 40+ pages of fairly good material, non-fiction or fiction, in a single day (admittedly a *long* day) that needs only minor editing. Other times I can't string two sentences together coherently, often for weeks on end. But after 30 years of writing, I can tell when I'm hot and when I'm not, and unless I'm facing a deadline I don't worry about it. It's like being a baseball pitcher, but also the manager; you know when you don't have your stuff on a given day and give yourself the hook.
 

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Love what was said here. So true.

If I can turn off my internal editor then I can kick out 3k to 4k words a day… which happens to be approximately same length as my chapters.

When I leave my internal editor on, my daily count drops dramatically to just 500 to 1k a day.    
 

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Showing up and getting the words onto the page, no matter how many, is the main thing. I write slowly because I can't resist going back and editing every few sentences. I've been trying to tuck that pesky internal editor away as well as reading books with advice on writing quicker. I'm speeding up, but still nowhere near as much as I'd like.

There are many slow writers, so don't get discouraged. The end product is what matters! Enjoy the process at whatever speed is comfortable for you.
 

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I've been a writer for years... I've done ghostwriting and everything else including copy writing. Deadlines are a part of my daily life, thus I write quickly. The biggest issue is getting down to work and making sure you write something every single day no matter what. Even if it's only 100 words.. it counts.

Two pieces of advice.. First... Write down how many words you are writing per day. Creating this ledger like item is something that makes you both feel good and work hard to be more productive. Maybe you can start with 100 words a day for a month then try to double it the next month.. and so on. 
Second try the "gun to your head" technique. You set a count down timer for 1 hour and write as fast as you can. The key is NOT to plan before setting the timer. It's amazing to see what comes out when you push yourself to think quickly and limit distractions completely. Some times you can write a lot some times it's only a little bit. This technique is just a way to motivate action asap.

Outlining isn't required so don't stress about that. Just keep moving forward...

Good luck -- don't get discouraged.. at least you have the goal. :)
 

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Whether you'll get faster or how much is anyone's guess. There is a good chance that you will, but both production and improvement in your writing is largely dependent upon writing regularly. Try for five days a week. If you only manage a few hundred words, those are words that weren't written already. In a year, a few hundred words a day written five days a week add up to a good number. Do the math. :)
 

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I wrote an average of 600 words a day for my novella. While it's snail speed, I'm still happy because I love my work. I also didn't have to do any major rewriting. It may help if you are doing shorter work, so you'll see the end earlier, but even if you aren't, I firmly believe that as long as you enjoy what you are doing, being slow doesn't matter.

That being said, I'm also starting out like you, so maybe I will write faster with more and more practice. Here are a couple tools I used to boost the word count. They didn't work very well for me, because I ended up revising and deleting much of what I've written, but maybe you'd find them helpful:

http://writtenkitten.net/
http://writeordie.com/

Good luck!
 
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