What is your daily writing habit?

JS Wiig

“Hello, muse?” “Please hold…” *elevator music*
Dec 23, 2020
I've only been in my daily habit now for just over 100 days, on my first SFD (s****y first draft).

I write 500 words a day, towards the end of the day, sitting in my bed with the lights out except for the side light, with my laptop perched on outstretched legs. It takes around 20-30 minutes to complete my daily goal.


My analytical mind tells me: at this rate, I'll write approximately 150,000 words a year (gotta have time for revision, right?), which means in approximately 6.666 years I'll have written one million words and achieved some level of proficiency. Very exciting!

How about y'all, what do your daily writing habits look like?
200-400 words per day, sometimes more, sometimes 0. 1-2 hours at night just before bed. Some days I think it would be better early morning when I seem to have more ideas, but other days things flow just fine, so it's working out. Yes, output is slow, but I write primarily for my soul and so it's ok if things are a little slow.
Large chunks of time is spent not in writing but in research, writing notes, sketching scenes that never get used, and generally flailing about, even though I don't have a flail.

All of which makes a hash of any attempt at estimating a daily word count. But I do try to make it into my writing room five days a week.
I am fortunate enough to work for myself from home, so I can make my own schedule and hours. I've spent almost two years working as a professional ghostwriter, and that has allowed me to perfect focus and discipline when it comes to writing. As a result, I write anywhere between 2,000 and 6,000 words on my novels most days. Slower days are usually because I am focusing on world-building, character creation, and other notetaking aspects of novel writing.

I'm more creative at night, hitting my stride between 10pm and 3am, so I've been trying something new where I split my sleeping schedule into two 3 hour blocks (I only need about 6 hours of sleep a night, thankfully). That way I have my writing time when I am most creative, but staying up that late doesn't interfere with the rest of my schedule. Establishing that is a bit of a work in progress, but, when I get it right, my writing is even more prolific.

I managed to write a 173k word novel in less than 3 months, a 70k word novel in less than 2 months, and 3 parts of a 4 part project, each about 160k words in length, and over 100k words in the fourth part of that project in less than a year. This was all accomplished between November 2019 and November 2020. Maybe I'm a little crazy, and there are definitely times where I'm not as prolific, but these projects have also been the first I've worked on since I became so serious about my own writing being a possible career option. I haven't done much revising yet, letting my projects sit for a little bit before returning to them, but that will come once I wrap up the current first draft I am working on in the next day or so.

As for a routine when I am getting ready to write, I always make myself some warm tea, usually a pot so I can enjoy multiple cups while getting in the groove. I always make sure I have at least two hours of time to commit to writing because it takes me about 45 minutes to really get in the rhythm. I'll put on some music but avoid television or movies. I'll review any recent changes or developments to my notes and I will reread the last few paragraphs I wrote before diving into the next section of writing. Even though I do my writing on a laptop, I still keep a pen and notebook handy for any scribbles or doodles I want to get down. I don't usually set a word limit/expectation for myself, otherwise, I find myself glancing at the word count and the clock too much, but I do set a specific time for when I will end my writing unless I am having a total lazy, responsibility free day, then I will just write.
I have a fairly high risk approach, but I've been writing for 34 years now, and it does suit me.
I write very intensively. Typically I'll do a 5,000 word chapter every day for the duration of the novel - 18/20 days usually.
My aim is to get the best possible first draft - with all the "magic"! - then do a copy edit afterwards.
My novels are then edited by my editor.
More here about my working method.
I write for 10 minutes last thing in the evening. The writing comes on top of studying, playing in a band and of course reading. Hopefully I will have more time for it in a few years when I am done studying. Until then I will just have fun with it, write a few short stories.
I'm not very good at sticking with a daily writing habit. I write when I have time and am inspired, but I think I need to start being more focused than that. Something I generally have been doing for the past couple of years is committing to write a review whenever I watch a film, just to keep up a general habit of writing. I've now extended this to books as well, and am studying a masters, so plenty of opportunity to write there! The trick is to not lose sight of my main writing project...
Thanks everybody!

It is interesting to see the varied approaches used to stoke the creative fires.
I'm still working on it, and will just get into a flow where I hit a need to step away from it for resesarch or planning. I'm in one of those humps at the mo, and want to keep putting some sort of words on paper while i'm stepping away from the story proper. I'm writing on top of a job, childcare responsabilities and have recently diagnosed ADHD so keeping it all up can be easier said than done. I aim for 10-20 minutes in a session, often just a couple of hundred words.
Binge writer!
Not normally. I normally just try for a chapter a day most afternoons. But life got a bit crazy this year and things got thrown off. However, a good deadline or three always helps (and that's before I get to writing the book @nixie will haunt me for) and that's what I have. So, by the middle of February when my shop can reopen I'll have a short story edited, a novel revised and ready for copy editing, a seperate project finished, and whatever work my publisher needs doing out of the way. Then I'll try to settle back to a chapter a day :)
Some weeks i hit 500 words all seven days, other weeks just two or three days.

I usually miss because I have something going on that is higher priority. What I don’t do is skip writing just because I don’t feel like it. If I have the time the words are going down, no matter.
Great to see so many diferent types. All awesome, especially when we get so little time.

200-3000 words per day, five days a week if I get the time. I write from a cabin at the bottom of the garden all year around, often in the evening. That total plummets to 100-200 when I'm editing which happens more often than I'd like; I tend to check on plot and lose flow in looking backwards too much. I write to consider character and plot, with worldbuilding often requiring further research along the way, again making me stop. I am 135000 words into a completed novel that now requires final editing, part way through a second and have completed a kids picture book with my wife. The whole has taken me two years and totals around 250000 words (many edited out) with 120days worth of editing. Oh, yes... I'm a dyslexic, so I'm proud, regardless of any self flagellation.
@BKessler I wrote a novel draft between 8am and 10am as a teenager, now I don't have that luxury it's so much harder!

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