How Many Hours Do You Write? 7 Ways to Crush It Everyday

How Many Hours Do You Write

It’s exhausting.

You organise your entire day so you can write. Then, when you sit down in front of the blank page, nothing comes. And you do this for hours. Then the next day, after a defeat like this, it’s even harder to force yourself sit down and write again.

Do yourself a favour.

Make your life a little easier

Short writing sessions are the friend of the productive writer. As part of your journey towards becoming a writer, try writing every day for 15 or 30 minutes. This will help you become more productive and creative.

How Many Hours Do Writers Work a Day?

The prolific British author Anthony Trollope wrote for three hours before work each morning and produced dozens of novels during his lifetime. Stephen Kind writes for three hours or more each day.

I typically write for one to two hours each morning. I may spend an additional hour editing my work that evening. Other writers I know go write intensively for several months before taking a break for a few weeks.

How Short Writing Sessions Can Help You Become a Writer

Like many writers, I spend a lot of time procrastinating.

The prospects of sitting down for fifteen or thirty minutes is less daunting than facing into a two or three hour writing session at the weekend. A short writing session is more achievable because almost every writer has 15-30 minutes in their day of which they can make better use.

If writing isn’t your full-time job, short writing sessions are perfect for busy days. You could write between meetings, on the bus or train, before you leave for work or late in the evening.

All you have to do is rise half an hour earlier, skip a favourite television programme, or avoid social media and the news.

Short bursts of writing are like small wins. They accumulate over time until one day you look at your work and realise you’ve written ten thousand words. Steven Pressfield best explains the importance of turning up regularly to write in The War of Art.

“All that matters is I've put in my time and hit it with all I've got.”

Get More From Your Next Short Writing Session

Becoming a writer who gets more from short writing sessions is easy. Try:

  • Making a list of 10, 20 or 30 topics you want to write about: don’t judge these ideas, your purpose is only to write as many down as you can within the time you have to write.
  • Forgetting about perfect grammar, spelling or formatting: yes these are all important, but they are also time-consuming. You can fix all of these things when you’re editing later on.
  • Using pen and paper: this method is timeless. It will help you focus more on what you want to write and less on the tools you use to write.
  • Setting yourself a challenge: write as many words as possible within half an hour. Then during your next writing session, try and beat your previous word count.
  • Focusing on a specific part of your current writing project: this intense focus is useful if you’re struggling with an introduction or a conclusion. Make it your job to finish this section before your half an hour is up.
  • Writing with the intention that you will flesh out your ideas tomorrow: you don’t need to finish what you’re working on immediately. Perhaps today it’s enough to turn up and write for a short while before attending to the rest of your life.
  • The Pomodoro Technique: this is a perfect productivity strategy if you only have a half an hour within which to write.

The next time you feel stuck or intimidated by the thoughts of the blank page, go easier on yourself. Write for just half an hour and then go about your day. Then on the following day, push yourself a little harder.

How long do you spend writing each day? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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Photo Credit: Tamás Mészáros via Compfight cc

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8 thoughts on “How Many Hours Do You Write? 7 Ways to Crush It Everyday”

  1. Hey,

    Honestly your title of the post is well enough to catch anybody to read the post because it contains a truth. Still many believer who believes that writing for more than hours is increase your stability in writing. But truth is a single paragraph of worthy information is also means a lot for a reader.

    Regards..!!

  2. I’m nearing completion of my first fiction novel. I started it seven or eight years ago. I have wrote a thousand words here and there over the years. I started writing when I was about nineteen and I am twenty-six now; I just turned that age on December the second. My story idea is great and I am writing in the style of my favorite author Robert A. Heinlein. When I came back to writing after two years of not writing anything but homework, I got serious. I feel that completion is within my grasp.

    The thing I noticed about my story and my writing when I started back on my novel was how awful I was when I started. I revised almost everything I had written over the years. This was probably the third or fourth time I had revised/edited this story because every time I came back to writing on it, I realized it was poorly written. This time coming back to writing was different than the other times before. After reading what I had written in my story, which was about 14,000 words, I searched through my old e-mail and found a copy of the very first writing on my novel/story. It was maybe 5,000 words. It was so inspiring to see how far I had come over the years. It was awfully written with my dialog being my only redeeming point as far as my writing skill. The story idea I still loved otherwise I would not be coming back to writing it.

    I decided after finding the seven or eight year old draft that I would use that as my base. I would not be using the 14,000 word version I had been revising over the years.

    My point is that “Becoming a Writer Doesn’t Mean Writing For Hours Every Day” is totally true and the Pomodoro Technique is something that I think I will use one day, hopefully a long time from now, when I get writer’s block.

    Maybe that is not my main point. I agree with the article’s premise but my new style that works best for me is to wake up early in the morning say five-thirty or six-thirty and write until I have to go to school, work, my wife demands attention (I’m under the impression writer’s wives often go neglected when a writer is on a hot streak), or until I simply reach a stopping point.

    I am not even sure this comment is appropriate for this article but since I took this morning off from working on my novel to devote time reading writer’s help websites I felt like letting that little anecdote about how I got to actually write successfully out.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      It’s interesting that you can see your craft evolving over time. When I read back on older drafts I sometimes feel pleased that I’ve progressed and then embarrassed by what I wrote years ago.

      Anyway, if you like writing every morning you may enjoy learning more about the Early Morning Pages. I try to get up early to write. I don’t always manage to do this but I find that when I do, the rest of the day goes much easier.

      Good luck with your novel.

      1. I will definitely check out your “Early Morning Pages.” Thanks for such a quick reply on my comment. You have a bountiful cornucopia of excellent information on your website. It is so rare to get to use cornucopia that I could not help but use it instead of saying plenty, a lot of, or a bunch information.

        What I would like to see is an article listing places where a writer can find one time writing jobs something like a classified ads listing writing jobs such as: (this list was copied from http://www.writingforward.com/creative-writing/20-creative-writing-careers)
        Greeting Card Author
        Comic Book Writer
        Novelist
        Creativity Coach
        Writing Coach
        Advertising (Creative)
        Screenwriter
        Songwriter (Lyricist)
        Freelance Short Fiction Writer
        Creative Writing Instructor
        Legacy Writer (write people’s bios and family histories)
        Ghostwriter
        Travel Writer (if you travel)
        Article Writer (write, submit, repeat)
        Columnist

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