Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Hot answers tagged

72

I can type at about 5K words per hour, but I can't write nearly that fast. I need to think of what's going on. I need to keep some sort of consistency, and I can't remember all the details. I need to do some planning. My creativity seems to burn out somewhere around 5K words each day. Putting words on the computer screen is one thing; knowing which ...


28

In theory this could be possible, but such an author would burn themselves out after a couple of days with such an intense schedule. A novel is more than just 100,000 words thrown together. There needs to be a story and characters. You need to engage the audience, ensure there are no accidental contradictions. This requires planning and revisions and this is ...


25

You are under the misguided assumption that writing is just the act of putting words on paper. The verb itself certainly has that meaning, but when applied to the writing of books, there is also conceptualizing, planning, outlining. Many works of fiction have at least the same number of words in notes and ideas. And then there is the word that I'll only ...


18

this seems to mean that they wouldn't have to spend too much time on revision or editing other than correcting a few minor mistakes here and there You seem to consider revision as error fixing, but fixing the story is another major part of revising. This is unrelated to how someone created the text (dictation, typing, ...) and involves a lot of cut/pasting ...


14

I'm just starting to learn the Dvorak layout (I'm at about 15 WPM touch typing after around 5 hours of practice over the last few days), but have not yet decided whether or not I will stick with it permanently. (Edit: After 2 weeks of using Dvorak, I'm up to about 35 WPM). This site has a useful trainer for learning it. Here are my thoughts so far: The Bad ...


14

I'm used to calling the person who converts handwritten documents into (digital or ink on paper) typed manuscript a typist. They used to be a lot more common; large offices would have a "typing pool" from which, in rotation, typists would be summoned to type a job (such as producing a fair copy of a revised document, making a first draft from a handwritten ...


9

As other answers have explained, it takes time to devise engaging characters, plots, backgrounds, worlds, &c.  But some genres and styles need more of that than others; and it probably depends upon the length and quality level you're aiming for. The world record for the number of novels written in one year is 23, held by romantic novelist Barbara ...


8

I switched to Dvorak about 4 years ago due to some pain in my wrists. It took me less than a month to regain my old speed, maybe three weeks. This was the same for everyone I knew who switched cold turkey; people who went back and forth with QWERTY during the transition period took two or three months to become proficient (or gave up). After less than six ...


8

It is important to be able to type fast enough to focus on the writing and not the keyboard. Being able to touch type is essential, in my opinion. I don't think I could keep my train of thought if I was constantly scanning the keyboard for the next letter.


7

It seems to me you are looking for a scribe or scrivener. Historically, this job description was for copying from hand to hand, but it mostly has been replaced by digital formats. Currently, hand-to-hand transcriptions are performed by rabbinical students in producing a new Torah. (The clever ones memorize the Pentateuch in doing so.) Scribe: a person who ...


5

This is one of those questions where everybody just has to go with their own personal preferences. My last choice would be trying to dictate. I tried Dragon Diction as well, but as you have already noticed, the pauses and the less than stellar word conversion rate make it too tedious. I have done almost all of my writing by hand and then transferred to ...


5

I could probably write a book every week or two by dictation. IF that book consisted of me rambling about any subject or no subject as thoughts popped into my head. But if you want an actual book, a book that would be coherent, well thought out, and interesting to read, that's an entirely different question. Maybe in ancient times when it took considerable ...


4

Just keep on writing! The more you write, the more used to it you'll get :) I'm also a gamer, and English isn't my first language, so writing in English was a big struggle for me a few years back. I was generally slow to type, even in my first language. But as they say, practice makes perfect. If you're writing a relatively large story, you'll notice that, ...


3

I oscillate between handwriting and typing. I find handwriting preferable for first drafts or for getting ideas out, as I can simply scribble on the nearest piece of paper or notebook, have arrows going everywhere - it's beautifully unstructured. I like it for first drafts as well for the same reason as Steven - it slows down my thought processes, which I ...


3

Typing Well is more important than typing Fast. That is, you need to be able to type the words as they form in your mind, as you think them, without thinking about the actual typing. Bruce is correct. If you can touch-type, you are mostly there.


3

Consider whether you're likely to do a lot of typing on other people's or public computers where you won't be able to switch the layout--if that's a common occurrence, then the hassle of switching back and forth may make it not worth it. More importantly, is your typing speed currently a limiting factor to your writing? Do you compose sentences ...


3

I'm going to suggest a writing exercise! You do need to practice a new habit and I would encourage you to research alternative keyboards or keyboard layouts (strange breaks habit: learn to type in Dvorak so that you no longer know where the keys are). The others are right: otherwise you need to type a lot. But writing a lot can be hard, so make it ...


3

It is not impossible to write something like that. I even wrote short story's on a daily basis and released a chapter every day. But the most essential part in that is a simple, but very underestimated principle: Quality needs time If you write a whole novel in 3-4 days, you can be certain, that it lacks the quality it should have. Lets take a japanese ...


2

At a work where I answered 100+ emails a day, I found that my hands hurt a lot less after switching to dvorak. It causes less strain on the hand, in other words.


2

I learnt to touch type about 6 months ago after my wife pointed out that although I was a fast typist, half of the time, I was actually hitting backspace to correct a typo. So actually I was quite a slow typist. Now that I can touch type, I realise that my poor typing skills before were having a small impact on my creative writing. It was like I was writing ...


2

No, touch typing is not important for writing. How fast do you need to type in order to write at a reasonable pace? Most people seem to consider a thousand words in a day a reasonable rate for a professional novellist. You do not need to type at a speed of 70 wpm to write a thousand words in day. In order to type a thousand words in an hour you need a ...


2

I would argue that typing isn't an important writing skill at all... unless it is. I can't write by hand, because I can't write fast enough. I can't make edits on the fly. That being said, there are a great many writers who don't type at all. James Patterson, for example, writes entirely by hand on legal pads. I've noticed I think differently when I'm ...


2

I don't think that FAST typing is important, but I do think it's important to know how to type. Not to be able to touch-type is a handicap, not just in writing but in the job market overall. With the internet it's easy to learn to type or get better at typing--there are LOTS of sites for typing help. Typing qualifies as a communication skill; writing is ...


2

In my case, the answer was: not very important at all. I'm the author of 40 books and hundreds of magazine articles. I've made a living as a writer since about 1990. I never learned to touch type well; my typing speed is about 30 wpm now. As my writing needs and output increased, I turned to voice recognition using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which also saved ...


2

The answer depends upon what type of work you are getting into. Just because you can type fast, doesn't mean you can write well. But writing fast does have the added benefits of allowing you to quickly lay down a rough draft, tweak the hell out of it, clean it up during editing, and publish the final piece. Also, if you are going to be writing for a fast-...


2

I prefer a buckling-spring keyboard like the old IBM Model M or the ones made by Clicky Keyboards. I only wish I could find that feature in a more ergonomic layout. Buckling-spring keys provide better tactile feedback than bubble keyboards, and I find that causes me to type faster and more lightly (rather than mashing the keys), easing strain on my hands ...


2

See Dean Wesley Smith's recent article about writing speed: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=3204 As Smith says, "I don’t type faster with my little four-finger typing, I just write more hours than most... I am considered a fast writer because I spend more hours writing. Nothing more."


2

The simple approach is to give all of your subsection text a left indent, and possibly a right indent, to set it off slightly from the main section text. Any text starting at the normal left margin would then be identifiable as belonging to the main section.


2

I'm not sure if there is an official rule for this, but in all the examples I found online, a dash was used. On a side note, a section of terminology and definitions is often referred to as a glossary.


2

If you require a human to type your work, then I'd say a scribe, though that may be archaic. Nowadays, a computer paired with a particular software may be faster and cheaper. These are called Optical Character Recognition, or OCR for short. Simply upload scanned images of your work, and the program will do the rest. There are plenty of free software that ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible