| In a recent survey a series of questions were asked in regards to how long does it take you to write. The survey itself was geared to the novel writer. The responses that came contained the required answers as well as many comments that I found to not only be interesting but educational. The results you are about to read were based on the 71 responses received.
It is known that some authors tend to specialize in one specific genre, yet there are still many more that like to write in a variety of genres. While 42% said they wrote Fantasy, 28% wrote Romance, and 20% wrote either Horror, Drama, or Fiction. Another 10% wrote Sci-Fi, 7% wrote Bio’s, Comedy, and Mystery and 4% wrote Action, Historical, Children, Psychological/Opinions, Erotica, and Fan Fiction. The smallest margin 1.5% wrote Occult, Mythology, Fairytales, Science, Religion, Spiritual and Animals. Since most authors write in more than one genre the statistics on this could never be truly accurate.
The majority: 89% of those that completed the survey are writing a novel, while it is not known for sure whether this is their first attempt, a question that I foolishly forgot to ask. Only 11% indicated that they had no current novel in the works.
25% admitted that they had no time currently to write. This consisted of persons that had novels currently on the back shelf. It would appear that while most write other things besides their novels, they tend to have a specific schedule to work on their novel. Some stated that this time also included research, edits, and rewrites. This of course would fluctuate the balance of percentages as to how much time is actually spent on writing vs. the elements required in order to write. The leader of the pack was 2 to 4 hours a day revealed by 31% followed by One to Two days a week at 20%, and Three to Five days a week at 13%. I was surprised to see that few actually wrote 4 to 6, or 6 to 8 hours a day as this revealed only 4%. As well only 3% worked on their writing for 8 to 10 hours a day.
The first draft of a chapter can be smooth sailing if your creative juices are flowing. From some I have heard that it is important to just write and worry about what it actually says later. Others believe that as each paragraph is written that they must immediately go over it and read through for consistency and errors. I guess we will never truly know which way to be correct as each writer will develop the style of writing that best suits their expectations. Based on an 8-hour day we see that a draft can be completed in one day by 38%, and 2 to 6 days by 30%. While 10% felt it took a week, 7% took two weeks, and only 1% took three weeks. There was as well a margin of 7% that stated for some it took a month, and others more than a month.
Editing is an interesting subject, since I have found that it is the most dreaded part of the novel writing process. My hat is off the 6% who have no time and let someone else do it. While it is not a question that I asked I would be curious to know if the writer actually does not bother to edit and just waits for the first person to read and edit their work, or if they actually have someone that edits their work because the writer does not really have the time. For those fortunate enough to have an editor at their disposal I would think that the stress related to proofing your work would make for easier writing. I hear a lot about spelling and grammar, and while I find myself guilty of both at times, I could not imagine just doing a spell and grammar check only, like 20% of the writers informed me that they do. Even after a spell and grammar check is completed many times have I found errors that would not be caught, I’m sure this article will have a few regardless of how many times I read it over. 23% revealed seeing double from continually going over their own work. And in the end 4% ended up re-writing the whole chapter. But the majority found that 27% took as much time to edit as they do to write, and 20% found it took them more time to edit than to write that first draft.
It would appear that groups tend to be a popular thing and while each person will receive out of their group what they are willing to put into it only 37% are currently in one. 31% are not in any group and 21% prefer to work on their own. If you look at those that are not in a group and those that do not want to be in a group, combining them results in 68% of the writers that are quite independent. Of course there is 21% that would like to be in a group and are looking for one. Look no further, drop by and and become a part of "Invalid Item"
While I was disappointed to see that only 2% wrote strictly to be published, and only 7% were already published, I was amazed that 77% had hopes to be published, but in the meantime they are writing for pleasure until their dreams can come true. And then of course there are the 13% that write for pleasure only. Writing is a form of expression, a sense of mind release, and a fabulous way to show your creativity. Writing is an art, a skill, and a talent contrary to what those that cannot or do not write may think.
Is it necessary to make a commitment if you want to succeed and be a successful author? That is a mystery. It is hard to say that a writer that only writes when they are in the mood will not accomplish more than a person who writes a chapter a week or a month. While it is important to run with your thoughts when you are in the creative mood. It was surprising to see that 37% write when they are in the mood, and 35% write long enough to finish a thought process. Commitment was found in 18% who write a chapter a week, and 6% a chapter a month. As for no commitment at all a mere 4% admitted this was the case for them.
It was nice to see that 41% take the time to review actual chapters, since this can be a long process. I myself could not believe how people could rate so many items, then of course I clued in one chapter, five poems … hmm could that be why so many have reviewed many more items than myself. And of course I received a variety of new chapters to look at in the comment section of the survey. People tend to read what they write, 10% enjoy reviewing in their own genre. While 34% only review if asked. I think it would be safe to say that those authors would look for another author that they respect and like their writing and seek out a special review from these people. Writing and time go hand in hand so it was understandable that 11% don’t have enough time to read. But for some only 3% admitted that they hate reading other people’s chapters.
Please note: The following are comments that were received and for
the sake of the author/member’s privacy I have not included their origin.
Are you currently writing a chapter book?
**I write too many chapter books. Have about 16 novels on the go and have only been writing for 2 years.**
How much time do you spend on writing for your book?
**I actually write/edit a chapter in a day (1-3 hours), and I try to write at least 3 chapters a week. I wrote a book in 10 days, but then edited in a few more times over the course of three months, plus a final line edit before sending it to a publisher.**
**I write all the time morning, noon and night, during my breaks at work, even when I'm sleeping. I get my best ideas sometimes from my dreams.**
**I'm trying to make a concerted effort to change. I currently have virtually no time to finish that novel I've started.**
**When I wrote my book, all in all, it took five years. But if you only count the time I actually worked on it, I'd say 6-12 months.**
**The one I am working on now, I have been on for almost one year. I am 2/3rd's finished.**
**Writing for me is always on my mind, I can honestly say that there isn't a moment in my day that I'm not jotting down new ideas and editing works that I've completed.**
**3-5 days per week is what I usually put in while working on a project, however not all of that is actual writing. I typically spend about 6-12 hours per week researching when I am working on a piece. I spend about 2-5 hours per day writing a storyline and producing characters to act out the storyline for my work. 2-4 hours a day though is spent in the actual writing of the book.**
**I try to do 2-4 hours a day and I have so many writings, I can't study on one specifically at a time. A lot of times I'll get e-mails from someone wanting more chapters from this story, rather than others. They don't even know about the ones I haven't put on the site yet.**
**Usually the writing process isn't as long as the review/editing process, simply because the second is on-going.**
How long does it take you to complete the 1st draft of a chapter?
** I figure I will go back to the novel soon, and then it will be a 2-4 hour a day project (since I work a day job too).**
**The first draft took the longest, the first three years. Then I found it again after I'd moved and finished the first draft and wrote most of the second draft. Then I put it away again. The next time I picked it up it took less than 2 months to write the next draft and probably about the same for it to be reviewed, but the final draft took less than a week.**
**I don't really know what to say. Pretty much as long as it takes.**
**I can sometimes write a chapter in a day then, I won't touch it for a week or two, maybe longer.**
**I can do as little as one a week and have been known to reel off as many as five in a day. It depends on the mood and how in depth the research was that I did.**
**I have recently been able to do at least a chapter's worth of rough draft in about 4-5 hours straight. Also was able to get a short story draft in one sitting.**
**I generally take a while to write something seriously, most practice things take a week or two unless I get writer's block.**
How much time do you spend editing your chapter draft?
**Many times I'll rewrite whole chapters or even sections of a story when I'm doing the next draft. I wrote one particular chapter 4 or 5 times before both my reviewer and myself were satisfied.**
**I spell and grammar check as I write. Once a chapter is complete I like to set it aside for a week or so while I write other parts of the book and then go back and see what I can do to make it more interesting. All in all, I spend about as much time editing as I do in writing, but I don't change a whole lot of things.**
**Can vastly depend, sometimes it needs it more than others at times. A good majority of my work though is still at the draft stage, and I'm planning to start revising them.**
**The real answer for me is less time than it took me to write the original chapter. About half the time, approximately.**
**None of my chapters are posted, and as for editing and revising, I may look at it until I see double, but I inevitably miss something.**
**It can take as little as an hour to write a chapter, course it can take a week to edit that same chapter.**
Are you currently in a writing group?
**Writing.Com is the closest thing I have to a group, but with such a diverse a field as writing, it is not very concentrated so as to improve my efforts in the specialized genre I like to work with.**
Why do you write?
** As quoted: "Writing is my sole form of expression; I can't write."**
** I really like writing. I should write more, but the problem these days is getting a good idea. I keep thinking of ideas, but none of them ever work. So when I say I'm currently working on something, I'm thinking of ideas for it.**
**When I'm writing every trouble, pain, and worry fade away, and I surrender to the worlds I create. I'm sure you can relate.**
**The chapter books I work on at home are the ones I dedicate the most time to - I intend on getting them complete and to a publisher this year. My one goal for the year! I only gained confidence in my writing this year, through this site. Being a published author is no longer just a silly dream, but a goal I will definitely reach.**
**I've been writing one year, since joining Writing.Com, I've found I enjoy writing, I hated it before.**
**I write for pleasure and the sense of accomplishment and I write to make other people happy, especially the children. Yes I hope to have my work published someday, but if I can write a story that makes someone happy when they read it, I have fulfilled my goal.**
**I luv to write, I literally smack my head at why I didn't start sooner. I only realized it 2 years ago and even then it was just tapping into something new. My love for writing just kinda crept into existence and somehow exploded into something. Being published would be heaven.**
**I am a beginner writer and I want to write a book, but I want to practice my writing more first.**
**I answered on the basis of how it would be if I were writing a novel, I am still working my way up to that goal.**
What kind of commitment have you made to your writing?
**Suffice it to say, I don't believe in forcing myself into a set schedule. I write when I can no longer not write and I write for as long as it takes.**
**I really don't have a commitment to my writing, but I don't want to say no commitment. I'd say I write when I have a good idea.**
**I tend to spend most of my time in between novel ideas, as I am now.**
**I try to write at least a chapter each week, but in between there I throw out a couple of short stories, some poetry, an article or two, and maybe even a non-fiction item, children's educational game, or other practical item besides something related to my main project.**
**My commitment to writing has been horrible in the past. Recently though I have been committing myself to write at the *least* an hour a day.**
**With kids, I carve out the time I can, but I am very committed.**
**I am hoping to get more serious about my writing soon. It's just hard with all I have to do. Plus, I tend to have a problem of starting too many novels at once, and thus get overwhelmed.**
**I write when I have time. I do try to write at least something every day.**
Do you review other people's chapter books?
** I do read and review other people's writing, if they ask or my curiosity is somehow piqued - but I don't have a lot of time to devote to it and chapter books require time.**
** "Yes in my own genre only when the story interest me and isn't excessively burdened down with poor grammar and spelling which IMO distracts too much from the story for me to want to finish reading it." **
**I'm not averse to reading chapter books, but I haven't had the time lately, unless requested. Usually, I ask the author to email it to me so I can use my WP program to make notes if they've requested a review.**
**I love to read other people's stuff, but I am not a particularly great critic. That's why I don't review my own stuff.**
**I wouldn't say in my own genre only, although that's usually what draws me in. It depends on how much time I have and how much the first chapter interest me and if I have the attention span for something that long at that moment.**
**I actually read chapter books in any genre but not all the time. Sometimes, it's because they ask me, and other times its because I felt like it. I prefer to read short stories when I'm here though rather than chapter books.**
**I don't generally read chapter books here, nor do I post my own, just because of time limitations.**
**When I have time to read thoroughly enough to review.**
**I read chapter books that others have written or are writing. I like to edit. It gives me a chance to look at someone else's work for a while, work I am not personally involved in. After that, I am able to look at my own work with a more critical eye, finding errors and ways to rewrite things that I may have missed before. At Stories I usually wait until someone is asking for an edit before I jump in and give them the whole full-blown edit.**
**Sometimes I feel like I have a hundred things to do. But I do try to find time to read actual chapter books and take the time to review them. If I read something I will definitely review.**
**All the time, when I have time.**
**I do this as much as I can but again sometimes there are time restraints. When I get a reading request I do try to accomplish it for them as soon as I can.**
Just some straight up advice:
**I have written a novel in 30 days. It can be done, if you anticipate spending the next month or two editing. This particular effort won't ever see the light of day - my goal was to finally have that "trunk novel" other writer friends are always talking about having. Now I have one, I can move on to more serious efforts.**
**What can be done and what realistically ought to be done - you can write a 50,000 (or even 100,000) word novel in 30 days, but it will very likely be crap. I now think 4 months is a realistic estimate, if you commit at least a couple of hours a day (or equivalent) to it.**
**In a course I took, I saw some great advice. Basically, if you can write a page a day you can have a good-sized novel in a year. If you can do a chapter a week, you can have a decent novel in less than a year.**
And on a final note:
I would like to thank the many authors on this site that took the time out of their busy schedules and shared their writing habits with not only me but all who read this article.
Today’s idea could very well be tomorrows best seller.
Happy Writing :)
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