Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Ellen Hart writes:

At a library appearance this past weekend, someone in the audience asked me if I treated my writing like a job.  I said that I did, that it was not only my passion, but my main means of support.  And then she asked if I wrote for eight hours each day.  My answer was no.  I can't cold write more than three or four hours a day--unless I'm on a deadline and can see the end in sight.

So am I a slug?  Do you all write for a full eight hours?


Mary said...

Sometimes 4 is agony. Sometimes 6 is heaven (not often, mind you). But 8 would blow my mind literally!
When it's agony, 4 may take 8 with the pacing the floor, etc.

Giggles and Guns

Pat Batta said...

I'm about to try some marathon writing (up to 8 hours a day with scheduled breaks) to jump-start my next book. However, even though I don't work and don't have children in the house, I would rarely be able to find 8 hours a day to use for writing. I strive for four.

Pat Batta

Sharon Wildwind said...

Writing is only part of this being a business. When I first started, a business teacher recommended spending 60% of available time on running the business and 40% on writing. He said this was true even if I had only 1 hour a week available: spend 35 minutes running the business and 25 minutes of that hour writing.

He also said the first task of that 35 minutes of business time was to figure out ways to get more than 1 hour a week available.

Marcia Talley said...

With every book I make a resolution to be more organized, to write X number of hours a day for X days and get the book done several weeks ahead of deadline so it can sit a few days before a final edit.

Ha ha ha!!

I must be motivated by deadlines, because in the final month before a book is due, I'm writing flat out, the house is falling apart around me, and my husband is slipping thin food under the door. Pizza!

Sheila Connolly said...

My brain stops producing coherent words after no more than four hours. But a full day with nothing to do but write? That would be a luxury.

The real time killer is keeping up with blogs and posts and promotion and edits and galley proofs and everything else. It's easy to fill that eight hours (BTW, that's seven days a week), but probably less than half is purely creative.

Lori L. Lake said...

Sometimes I write sporadically for long periods, but most of the time 2 to 3 hours works. Last weekend, though, I got on a roll starting at 9:45AM and didn't stop until 8:30PM (7,200 words later!), but that doesn't happen all that often. If I can crank out 1,000 to 2,000 words in a sitting, I am one happy camper.

But writing 8 hours a day, day in and day out? No way. I need time to research, to read, to ponder, to make notes, to journal, and sometimes just to sit on my duff and look out the window - seemingly brainlessly - but something's going on because later on, I usually have something to add to the manuscript that I didn't know I needed.

I also work at night while I'm sleeping. Often I go to bed working on a story problem . . . and wake up in the morning with answer. Does that count as 8 hours?

Lara Z said...

Oh Thank God. I thought I was unusual. Even on my "writing" days when I'm not doing my other job, I can only write about 3-4 hours continuously. I usually do mine in the morning. The rest of the day I am doing other things. I keep hoping it makes sure I'm living life, and my writing won't end up sounding like a holed-up-out-of-touch writer put pen to paper.