Furry Writers' Guild Forum

How fast do you write?

Recently I was having a discussion with another writer in which the following subject arose.

At what rate do you write? In other words, if you were to add up the total time spent working on, say, an anthology submission somewhere in the 4-12K word range, what would it come to? If you divided the total hours by the length, how many words per hour would it work out to?

The comment was made that my time spent vs. output seems to be lower than most. As an example, total time spent writing my ROAR#6 submission was about 55-60 hours over a period of several weeks, which includes outlining, initial draft, editing (pre-beta, post-beta, and post-sub). The resulting story was just under 12K so all told that works out to about 200 words per hour. This doesn’t include any time I wasn’t actually at the computer writing, either before I first started on an outline or between sessions while it was in progress. That was one of three anthology submissions in the last two years; the other two (also in the 10-12K range) I didn’t track as closely but I’m virtually certain I spent well over a hundred hours on each (although both of those involved a lot more post-sub editing).

How does this compare to other writers’ experiences?

I have never paid much attention to the amount of time I spend writing. Generally I write in 3-4 hour bursts with a smoke break roughly halfway through (helps me think about what I wrote and where that goes) then take a substantial 1+ hour break. A rough draft for a 10k story takes me about 10-15 hours of actual writing, I think. Most of my time spent “writing” is thinking. I think a lot before I write and can get through the first few thousand words quite quickly. Then I slow down dealing with transitions.

I probably spend about 2 hours editing and addressing “beta” reader comments and call it quits. Only had to put in 3-4 hours of post-sub edits on my FANG 6 story, mostly catching things that were missed.

My submission for the upcoming Trick or Treat probably took a bit longer because I wrote 2/3 of it longhand and spent hours typing it up.

Going to try and keep track next time I’m writing something new.

Per 10-20k finished, published words:

18 hours 1st draft writing
4 hours editing
4 hours redrafting
2 hours editing
4 hours beta read review and adjustments
2 hours final pass editing
1 hour formatting, submitting
2-8 hours redrafting or re-editing as per editor comments
(there’s usually another redraft after this, 4 more hours)
(1 hour resubmission)
(then there’s usually another 1-2 hours of editing the new redraft)

10-20k words: 35 - 50 hours actual, real, ass-in-chair work. :expressionless:

I write in 200 word bursts.
That’s usually about 45 minutes I think.

I write faster in an established world than a world I am building.

I’m happy if I write 500 words a night. A night is typically between 1-3 hours of sitting down to write. I think if I push hard, no distractions and write fluidly, 500/hr is typical? That said I feel I both write and edit slow.

Oh, you also asked about an anthology submission. They used to take me 2-3 months. I’m down to a month now for writing and editing generally. Two weeks to write a draft if I’m lucky.

Huh, really hard for me to answer, as I seem to oscillate between writing stories in a rush and writing them very slowly. If I had to make a guess to my average, I’d say around 500 words an hour, similar to Ocean. At my fastest, I’ve done around 6k a day (writing and editing).

The best answer I can give is two or three (usually closer to two) books a year, or the equivalent in short stories and novellas when the ideas flow in that form. That includes all editing. To produce this I typically work three to four hours a day six to seven days a week, with a week or two off between major works.

My writing speed is very inconsistent. I have written massive amounts in very short amounts of time, and then turned around and whittled away at something at a snail’s pace.

Just depends on how much of a ‘groove’ I get into, but I think the variation lets me build better worlds.


It’s more an amount per day cap for me; 500 words is good, 1000 is great. Grabbing those 500 words might take half an hour or an hour.

It seriously changes for me, depending on how inspired I am and how anal I’m feeling x.x I managed to cough up “The Cat Thief”, cleaned and ready to send, in a matter of two days with only one or two corrections needed from the editor. That was only 2k words, though thanks to work I only was able to pour in about a total of 1-2 hours a day on it.

I know I did about half of my WotA story (around 6k words) in one day, yet the other half took a week or so because I was struggling with wording problems, and the clean-up took another week or so.

Mind you, on weekdays I usually only get about an hour or two a day on average, and weekends are normally stolen from me by friends and a needy mate, but it really does come down to how clearly I can connect to a story or the scene(s) I’m working on.

I tend to write 400-500 words an hour, assuming I’m concentrating, and edit at 3-5x that rate. One of my more recent goals has been to try and write or edit at least an hour every day; since I’m not a wildly fast writer, that’s the best way for me to be able get things finished.

Depends really. Normally at least 3K a day, but if I have to stop to work on plot issues, that can drop by half. Trying to work up to writing 5K a day, reliably. I can do 10K a day, if I have the plot completely fleshed out, but that can be pretty draining, so I don’t do it very often.

Ideally I do all the non-writing stuff in the morning, and write from noon til five. Or at least I try to!

Oh, I write quite rapidly, finishing a short story rough draft in a couple of days. Of course, that doesn’t factor in the months (or years) I spend thinking about the story before I start typing…

When I was writing “Running Mate” last year, I wrote anywhere between 100-2000 words an evening, for an average rate of 742 Words per Day across the span of 27 days for something close to 22000 words.

My low average is about 250 words if I’m in a groove. The ceiling is usually around 750-1250 words, with the average being 1000 on a really good day.

To further clarify (and to enable a fair comparison to some of the responses), while writing the ROAR#6 story referred to in the original post, I probably averaged about 1000 words per day (somewhere in the 300-500 words per hour range) while producing the first draft. The 200 words/hour figure was the final result after factoring in all the time spent editing and revising. The sense I’m getting so far is that my writing my be slower than average but not dramatically so.

If anything it’s the time I spend editing where I may be well above average. Part of it may be due to the fact that my first draft tends to be somewhat austere and my stories tend to grow 20-50% during editing as I fill out details and description (in contrast to some authors who tend to over-write on the first draft and trim out/tighten up in subsequent editing). Since the growth sometimes includes adding multiple paragraphs to scenes, or even whole scenes, writing these parts could arguably be regarded more as writing a first draft (since it is the first draft of these parts) rather than part of the editing process.

One bit of conventional wisdom in writing is that if you’re going to submit something, you should make it the very best work you can produce. I’ve been questioning how far one should go with that. If you find yourself going over and over and over a story to edit and polish it, to the point where the time and effort required makes you dread working on the next story, then maybe you’re overdoing it, especially if you’ve maybe reached the point where you’re likely nitpicking things the readers probably won’t notice anyhow. I’m also reminded of a story told by musician John Mellencamp. His early albums were not as refined as he would have liked, as studio time for recording and engineering is expensive and he had a limited budget. After he hit it big and could take all the time he wanted, he polished and refined his next album until it was as perfect as he could make it, but the resulting album sounded too clean and overproduced. He says he now understands that while he can refine and polish his music, there comes a point where he has to let go.