Thursday, July 2, 2009

Length of long-hand sessions?

Yesterday I found myself with another unexpected chunk of time "trapped" somewhere with a college-ruled notebook and a working pen. So I wrote. Seven pages later, my mind told me it was time to stop.

I wonder if there is such a thing as an optimum amount of writing I can do at one go, specifically for the writing of the initial draft, the kind of writing that is in equal parts putting into words what's in my mind and finding out how the story goes; that scary, delightful, surprising, hazy type of writing. My last two unexpected gifts of a couple of uninterrupted hours have both yielded seven pages.

Do you find any patterns in your writing time span? Does it change if you type or write?


tanita davis said...

Oh, wow! Exciting! Seven pages longhand!!! To me, that's really impressive. I get plenty of pages in on a legal pad, but they're not... complete sentence type of things. They're more scenes and conversations and ...directions. It's more like play staging than writing. Writing a first draft on a typewriter means I generally get better results, though I futz with word choice and that type of thing, which slows me some. But I can get a consistent chapter done, usually. Unless I don't quite know where I'm headed. And then, I have to stay away and think about it, and annoy myself.

Sadly, I am in this stage of the first draft. The piece I'm writing is... really harder than what I've previously attempted. The word "ambitious" keeps appearing on my critiques, and it's scaring me. I hope this isn't too ambitious...

Nandini said...

I love how you describe the 1st draft process, that's exactly how it feels to me. I aim for a 1000 words a day on my "writing days". Anything at all on my "non-writing days". I've just come out of about 5 months of drafting and have written NOTHING for 2 plus weeks! Definitely miss it. But summer camp is coming up soon so I've have some time again.

I don't like to write longhand because then I have to type the whole thing in again and it takes more time. But it helps when I'm stuck to go outdoors with a pad and pen and start over.

You're doing great! Keep going !!

Yat-Yee said...

My seven pages aren't exactly filled with good sentences! It's more a discovery. And somehow when I write, I don't worry too much about word choice and such; the backspace button on the computer keyboard makes it too easy!

Transcribing is a bit of a pain, especially when I can't read my writing! But I find that as I transcribe, I am revising, so I guess I am not spending twice as much time on one thing.

Thanks, Tanita and Nandini, I enjoy learning how other writers work.