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Thread: Writing Schedules

  1. #1
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    Default Writing Schedules

    Like updating schedules, but not.

    How often do you write? How long do you write when you sit down to do it? What's your average word count for a writing session? And life's busy, life comes first, of course, so how do you make sure to leave time for writing?

    And... this is probably the most difficult question for anyone to answer and put into practice: how do you maintain a consistent writing schedule?

    This is actually something I've been curious about as I suddenly hit another writing slog this week, and then the topic came up on Discord. I could probably be satisfied with just a few hundred words a day, because, you know, that accumulates pretty quickly, but all of a sudden I don't want to write for a decent chunk of time (usually an entire two weeks) and it slows all of my projects down immensely.

    Have at it with discussion & tips & whatever else seems helpful. ^^
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    I use an app called Habitica which is for managing to-dos, daily tasks, etc. with RPG-like incentives, and one of my daily tasks is to work on TQftL for half an hour. There's no word requirement, and sometimes all I end up doing for a session is rereading something I've already written and making edits, or staring at the screen thinking about how something should proceed. I find that a lot nicer than NaNo-style word limits: there's no stress about trying to rush through to get some words done, just sitting down to work on the fic in some form for a little bit. And half an hour is very little, so it doesn't feel like an overwhelming task to do. Of course, once I have been working on it for half an hour, I frequently work on it for much longer than that - by that point I'm in the zone, and that's definitely allowed. But I don't try to force it; if I'm really not feeling it, I can stop after half an hour and do something else.

    I find that schedule very helpful; it keeps me going, working on the fic most days, without feeling stressful or like I have to rush the story itself.

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    The timing's pretty appropriate for this, what with the dawn of NaNoWriMo. Best of luck to those participating, by the way.

    As for me personally, I tend to write around 1000 words per day, give or take. At the moment, I'm only working on one thing. But when I was juggling my story and a oneshot (for the contest or Yuletide), I split that between the two. Usually it takes around 45 minutes to do this, for me. Depending on how fast I'm typing. Having the big plot points outlines probably helps. I'll bet I'm in the extreme minority, in that I tend to like doing my writing in the morning. So, if it's a work day, I may squeeze the writing in between exercising and starting work. Otherwise, I just write on lunch break or wait until I'm home. Weekends are pretty similar. I'll write after I've exercised first thing in the morning. I think it's working for me so far. It's enough to make me feel like I make decent progress, and has managed to prevent any burnout feelings over the last 3.5 months. But, y'know, different strokes for different folks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfree View Post
    I use an app called Habitica which is for managing to-dos, daily tasks, etc. with RPG-like incentives, and one of my daily tasks is to work on TQftL for half an hour. There's no word requirement, and sometimes all I end up doing for a session is rereading something I've already written and making edits, or staring at the screen thinking about how something should proceed. I find that a lot nicer than NaNo-style word limits: there's no stress about trying to rush through to get some words done, just sitting down to work on the fic in some form for a little bit. And half an hour is very little, so it doesn't feel like an overwhelming task to do. Of course, once I have been working on it for half an hour, I frequently work on it for much longer than that - by that point I'm in the zone, and that's definitely allowed. But I don't try to force it; if I'm really not feeling it, I can stop after half an hour and do something else.

    I find that schedule very helpful; it keeps me going, working on the fic most days, without feeling stressful or like I have to rush the story itself.
    This is actually something I've tried, too - not the Habitica part, though it looks fun - but rather count anything that relates to writing as productive. Whether it be notes, staring at the screen and thinking, actually writing, whatever, I could feel okay about the day's work. Except when there's more non-writing days than writing days, and all of a sudden I realize it's been months since I updated any of my projects. Then it feels a little stressful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambyssin View Post
    The timing's pretty appropriate for this, what with the dawn of NaNoWriMo. Best of luck to those participating, by the way.

    As for me personally, I tend to write around 1000 words per day, give or take. At the moment, I'm only working on one thing. But when I was juggling my story and a oneshot (for the contest or Yuletide), I split that between the two. Usually it takes around 45 minutes to do this, for me. Depending on how fast I'm typing. Having the big plot points outlines probably helps. I'll bet I'm in the extreme minority, in that I tend to like doing my writing in the morning. So, if it's a work day, I may squeeze the writing in between exercising and starting work. Otherwise, I just write on lunch break or wait until I'm home. Weekends are pretty similar. I'll write after I've exercised first thing in the morning. I think it's working for me so far. It's enough to make me feel like I make decent progress, and has managed to prevent any burnout feelings over the last 3.5 months. But, y'know, different strokes for different folks.
    Ah, 1000 words is a darn good amount! I've not had a day like that in a super long time - I've found that the more my writing style changes, the slower I write for whatever reason. Could be I'm getting older, too, and there's just other priorities on my mind. But! Writing in the morning makes sense because it's generally when people are most alert and rested. Exercise only adds to being alert, too, I think. I wonder if any natural night owls would find it easy to write in the morning (or whenever they first wake up)... Hmm...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambyssin View Post
    The timing's pretty appropriate for this, what with the dawn of NaNoWriMo. Best of luck to those participating, by the way.
    GL to you too - I think I'll need it. I'm already questioning most of my life choices and it's only day 1. :P

    I'm slowly trying to make it a habit to write - but I've discovered that unless I have a plan with everything mapped out, I'm going to struggle. I even have to storyboard my characters and their actions throughout chapters because I'm not very good at understanding emotion.

    A lot of my time when it comes to writing is actually almost always on a Friday - and that's because of the job at my local animal shelter. I work with cats, and nine times out of ten all they want is a warm lap and some fuss. I have my notebook with me at all times so I tend to do some jottings or planning. I am starting to take writing a bit more seriously though, considering I'd like to be an author as a career, and believe me when I say that writing as a hobby is vastly different than writing as a job. Hopefully I'll have a firmer schedule to keep thanks to NaNo this year ~

    Currently working on a project for NaNoWriMo ~

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfree View Post
    There's no word requirement, and sometimes all I end up doing for a session is rereading something I've already written and making edits, or staring at the screen thinking about how something should proceed.
    That's such an excellent idea. I have a feeling I've tried to do something like this at some point, where I've focused on development rather than word counts, but I've never been able to make it stick. I like to write fast, to be both making progress with whatever I'm writing and learning more about writing itself at all times, and that tends to make me more of a word-count sort of person. I always write two stories at a time, one novel and one fanfic, and I like to do a thousand words a day for each. Sometimes that doesn't happen, obviously, but at least 70% of the time I really enjoy the process of getting words out and assembling them in order, and the remaining 30% I'm too stubborn to give in to my laziness, so I do hit my targets more often than not.

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    I wonder if any natural night owls would find it easy to write in the morning (or whenever they first wake up)... Hmm...
    I'm more of a night writer myself -- sitting at a desk under a slightly yellow electric light with a pitch-black window at one side and steam curling from a drink on the other is just, like, I don't know how to say it but something about that conjunction of things puts me into writing mode just like that -- but I do find it good to write in the mornings; I'm alert then, and what I produce is good, but I lack that kinda manic writing energy that I get at night. It's mostly a question of what time I naturally start thinking time to write at, I think.
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    Yeah, I think everyone's different. There are plenty of people who can do their best thinking at night. But, for me, my mind gets a very thick fog over it that makes concentrating extremely difficult (which is why I worked a night shift job until back in June, ha ha). So, I'm pretty sure my writing quality would suffer.

    I'm curious, though. For any of you night writers, how soon after you stop writing do you go to sleep?

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    I do most of my writing either during lunch break at work, where I don't have internet to distract me, or in the evening. It's fairly often one of the last things I do before going to sleep... which isn't necessarily a good idea because sometimes I just fall asleep while trying to write. Otherwise, it varies. Most of the times when I'm really inspired are at like five AM, though.

    The Final Stretch - Chapter 74: Unraveling
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

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    In a perfect world, I'd probably do some writing every other day, with the days not writing being taken up by drawing instead. However, thanks to the bummer that is life, I kind of haven't been able to keep up a consistent schedule at all. I'm either writing for hours on end in a single day or not writing in half a month, and it kinda sucks.

    One thing I'll confirm though is that I am not a huge fan of writing at night. A couple of my pieces (namely A Simple Kalosian's Story and Thinking Through Illness) have been written in roughly three hours between 7pm and 11pm, but they're both pieces I don't take a large amount of pride in since one was a vent piece and the other just didn't turn out that great in the end. My mind just clouds in the evenings, and I end up thinking darker thoughts and start feeling sleepy, both things which make me lose focus. Meanwhile pieces that I've written during the day are ones I'm fonder of (chapter 1 of The Back Alleys of Ecruteak and my non-Pokemon shipping Drabble Where I Was, Where I Am come to mind here) since my mind wasn't clouded when I wrote them.

    My next writing plan is to manage some tomorrow - I don't know if the excitement from the USUM announcement will end up fuzzing my mind, but I wanna get this schedule back on track.

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    Oh yeah, USUM announcements have always thrown me off. Those days I almost always end up writing in the evening when I've had the time to digest the news and reactions from some parts of the internet. I can't imagine what I would've done if I'd actually been writing something when SM were getting constant pieces of news dropped. ^^;

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    If I write at night, I usually go to sleep a few hours after. I think it works for me in general, but I usually need the manic writing energy to really get anything good done like Cutlerine. I usually think of my best ideas at night, too, right before I sleep. Most of my first finished chapter fic, Survival Project, was brainstormed as I was trying to fall asleep, heh.

    Due to a bunch of different changes in my life recently (moving, starting grad school, and soon to be buying a permanent house), I have kind of noticed the writing slumps tend to hit when I'm expecting changes like that to happen or when I at least expect my daily routine to be broken. And because of that... Well, if that's really the cause of said writing slumps, I can't really control unexpected things or be content with a totally uneventful life, so I guess I'm just doomed. XD
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    I'll write at almost any time of day I can. The only hours I've noticed that I write substantially worse are between 2am and 7am.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambyssin
    As for me personally, I tend to write around 1000 words per day, give or take.
    Holy cow, that is something. For me 1,000 wpd is when I'm in an all-out blitz and may be shirking real-life obligations.

    When I've got a story going (at present I'm taking a break from chapter stories for a few months), I aim for 400-500 words per day on average, but I make a point not to sweat the wordcount on any particular day. In practice, I try to write at least a little every day, write 1000+ on a good day when I'm not busy and everything's clicking, and accept that some days the wordcount will be zero. Basically try to never come to a complete halt, and sprint when I can.

    My actual speed at writing isn't something I've ever really timed, but if I had to guess 1000 words will usually take me at least 3 hours, including when I let something distract me for a few minutes here and there. It'd be nice if I could get any writing (or reading) done during work hours but that's really not an option with my job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfree
    There's no word requirement, and sometimes all I end up doing for a session is rereading something I've already written and making edits, or staring at the screen thinking about how something should proceed. I find that a lot nicer than NaNo-style word limits: there's no stress about trying to rush through to get some words done, just sitting down to work on the fic in some form for a little bit.
    I've got to second this; that's a great approach.

    IMO, sometimes when the words just aren't coming it's because something else is bothering you about your story. At times like those I think it's best to excuse yourself from having a wordcount for a day and take another look at your outline or do some other kind of planning or fixing. It's so important that your story stay on your mind when you've got writer's block. If you need three days or more of planning like this and the words still aren't flowing, that's when I bite the bullet and just focus on getting the words on the page even if I don't think they're the right ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icomeanon6 View Post
    Holy cow, that is something. For me 1,000 wpd is when I'm in an all-out blitz and may be shirking real-life obligations.
    I really do think it just comes down to the fact that I have an outline going. If I was making more of the story up as I went along, I imagine I would not be doing that well. But when I know more or less how I want non-battle scenes to play out, I can write things fairly quickly.

    I suppose a good comparison would be my Yuletide piece. My progress on that felt substantially slower than drafting chapters, because I was making everything up as I went along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambyssin View Post
    I really do think it just comes down to the fact that I have an outline going. If I was making more of the story up as I went along, I imagine I would not be doing that well. But when I know more or less how I want non-battle scenes to play out, I can write things fairly quickly.
    I think having an outline is more typical than you think; even with a really detailed outline I can't write nearly that fast. In my case at least I think the biggest difference between writing quickly and slowly is how much you change what you've just written as you go. I'm constantly rereading the last few sentences when I write and fixing typos/grammar or even just rewording and tweaking, and that really slows me down. Someday I want to try to write more spontaneously and save all the editing for later, but it's tough to fight your instincts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambyssin View Post
    I really do think it just comes down to the fact that I have an outline going. If I was making more of the story up as I went along, I imagine I would not be doing that well. But when I know more or less how I want non-battle scenes to play out, I can write things fairly quickly.
    Kinda depend what you consider an outline to be, I guess. 'Knowing more or less how you want a scene to play out' is very often just what it means to successfully write a scene, imo; an outline sort of suggests to me that you've got a more settled plan to follow. I've never been sure how I feel about dedicating time to creating that kind of thing. I guess I'm just impatient and I feel like if it's time to write, it's time to write, damn it. Possibly that's just my slightly unhealthy obsession with hitting my word counts shining through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambyssin
    I'm curious, though. For any of you night writers, how soon after you stop writing do you go to sleep?
    If I'm writing late, literally right afterwards. I don't recommend it; my brain's still whirring with story-stuff and it makes it hard to sleep. But I guess it doesn't irritate me enough to want to change that particular bad habit.
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    Sadly, writing is pretty down the priority list for me right now, so I write whenever I feel like it. It's also a pretty big reason why I don't do chaptered stories anymore and stick to oneshots or anthologies. Since I don't give out a posting schedule, there's no expectation placed upon me to post something on a certain day, so I try not to force myself to write when I simply don't want to, since I don't want the overall work to suffer as a result. It's not the most ideal situation, but it's the one I've been dealt with right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambyssin View Post
    Yeah, I think everyone's different. There are plenty of people who can do their best thinking at night. But, for me, my mind gets a very thick fog over it that makes concentrating extremely difficult (which is why I worked a night shift job until back in June, ha ha). So, I'm pretty sure my writing quality would suffer.

    I'm curious, though. For any of you night writers, how soon after you stop writing do you go to sleep?
    Unless I am absolutely sure that what I'm writing is gold and the train of thought will disappear in a moment's notice, I tend to stop writing at around 10 or 11pm, and I don't go to sleep until around 2:30am, so there's plenty of time inbetween.

    A question to ponder: are there particular settings that you find preferential when it comes to writing? I do my best work in noisy restaurants, and wrote an entire oneshot in one sitting at a Chick-fil-A once. If I were to write in a quiet library, it'd be the equivalent of turning in an essay written entirely in crayon...by my non-writing hand...while on drugs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Teller View Post
    Sadly, writing is pretty down the priority list for me right now, so I write whenever I feel like it. It's also a pretty big reason why I don't do chaptered stories anymore and stick to oneshots or anthologies. Since I don't give out a posting schedule, there's no expectation placed upon me to post something on a certain day, so I try not to force myself to write when I simply don't want to, since I don't want the overall work to suffer as a result. It's not the most ideal situation, but it's the one I've been dealt with right now.
    I used to only write non-chaptered works, too, for the sake reasons and also because I didn't feel like I was really capable of sticking with a project that long. ...And also because I didn't have any ideas. But! I find them much more fulfilling to write than one-shots now, and now I find it harder to delve into one-shots. ^^; I'd be interested to see a chaptered fic from you someday tbh because from your current works you've got lots of great ideas flowing around I'd want to see more of!

    A question to ponder: are there particular settings that you find preferential when it comes to writing? I do my best work in noisy restaurants, and wrote an entire oneshot in one sitting at a Chick-fil-A once. If I were to write in a quiet library, it'd be the equivalent of turning in an essay written entirely in crayon...by my non-writing hand...while on drugs.
    Ohh, a good question. Noisy restaurants are good for inspiration, I think, in that you're around a lot of other people but don't have to interact with them so you get to just steal their enemy and make art out of it. : ' ) I used to sit at Panera to write occasionally when I wanted to get out of my studio apartment I was in at the time (not a lot of places to write in a small 1 room place like that), but mostly I like to write at my desk with music super loud so everything around me doesn't matter.

    Now that I live near a beach, I want to try writing while being a beach bum because I think it'd be just as inspiring if not more than a noisy restaurant for me, but since I don't have a laptop with a battery that lasts more than 30 minutes, I'd have to write freehand which doesn't interest me. ...Though I'd probably get some looks for bringing electronics to the beach anyway, heh.
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