Most authors I read write in small chunks of time (1hr~40min). I wonder if this is a writing technique. I always find myself writing for 3 to 4 hours straight (taking 5 minutes breaks). The thing is that when I start writing I want to put all my ideas into the paper (I mean screen) as fast as I can. I wonder if this is bad for writing. Is it a bad idea to write too many hours straight?

  • 1
    Writing practices are notoriously subjective; there's no "wrong" or "right" way, and different authors work better with different practices. Is what you're doing now working for you? If not, have you tried the other way? This question might work better as "what are the pros and cons of writing in short sprints and in long sessions," but to be frank, phrased like that, it's mostly common sense, and wouldn't really constitute a practical problem to be solved.
    – Standback
    Aug 5 '12 at 15:00

Different writers have different writing disciplines. Mark Twain said that his discipline was to write a certain number of pages per day, but he wrote in longhand and as he got older he began to write in a larger and larger hand, so that his actual output was less. He was, he confessed, a profoundly lazy man.

I read that Stephen King used the "pages per day" method as well, and this is not uncommon. The important thing in a longer work is the preparation — start by reading twenty or so pages back from the point you stopped the previous day. This lets you edit what you wrote as well as brings you back into the feel of the piece, so that when you get to that blank page you already have a full head of steam. Another nice thing about the "PPD" method is that it forces you to write something. If you write crap one day — and we all do — you can simply edit or delete it. But you will have at least gone through the exercise.

However long your daily session, another important consideration is not to write yourself out in a single day. Writing a longer work (which I assume is what you are talking about) is like running a marathon: you have to pace yourself. If you sprint too soon you will wear yourself out. Leave something for the next day, even if it is a juicy bit that fairly begs to be written. Especially if it is a juicy bit that begs to be written. That will give you something to look forward to. If you have ideas you are afraid you will forget, write them as notes and use them in the next day's writing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.