Five Authors + Five Questions : Typical

Writers write. It’s what we do. To go above and beyond that, by answering interview questions they receive in email, is astounding indeed! For this round of Five Authors/Five Questions, I’ve barged into the workdays of Louise Marley, Lavie Tidhar, Lisa Mantchev, E.C. Myers, and Jay Lake.

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Question two: How much do you write in a typical day? Is there a time of day you find yourself naturally more productive?

Louise Marley: I used to believe I was best in the morning, but my life circumstances have changed.  I now know I can write at any time, but I agree with a poet friend of mine who pointed out that there are two cycles of creativity in a day.  There is often, and surprisingly, a little rush of ideas and energy quite late in my work day.  I’ve learned to wait for that, and to be ready for it when it comes.

As a working writer, I can’t wait for the perfect time to write, because that time will never come.  At this moment, my brain is getting ready to work, because it knows that the housework is done, the body is exercised, and when I finish this little commitment to Shimmer, there won’t be anything between me and my current novel.

I’m not a fast writer at all.  I expect to turn out between three and five pages a day, which is far less than some of my colleagues.  The saving grace for me is that most of those pages are keepers.  I loathe throwing out things I’ve written, so I do my best to write them well in the first place, and to write the scenes that need to be there.  Only rarely, when I’m revising, do I have to delete entire passages.  I hope to keep that up!  It means a book a year, as a rule, and that’s satisfactory for me.

Lavie Tidhar: Not a morning person! I used to do a lot of writing late at night, which I still love–however these days I try to be up relatively early and then do the whole coffee-e-mails-blog-updates-wake-up routine and get on with daytime writing. I try to aim for a minimum of 1000 words a day–work on one project in the morning and another one in the afternoon, but it all depends. And of course some days you just need to get out of the house and walk or do anything other than write.

Lisa Mantchev: I have two kids and I’m a stay at home mom, so there are no typical days! My new routine, though, is to get up at five am and have uninterrupted writing/editing time until 6:30. I’ve always been a morning person, but now I’m an EARLY morning person. And there’s something so settling about a cup of really hot tea and complete silence. When I’m drafting, I can manage between 1500 and 2000 words in that time period. Editing is harder to measure, but ten to fifteen pages, unless a New Scene crops up.

This morning, I had not only a New Scene but a New Character pop up. I am most perturbed, given her appearance and her chipper attitude.

E.C. Myers: What’s this “typical day” you speak of? Let’s go with an ideal day, shall we? I’m naturally more productive at night, often very late, but I’ve disciplined myself into a morning writing routine that gives me about an hour to ninety minutes of writing time before heading to my day job. Then I try to fit in two or three hours more of work in the evening before bed, which doesn’t always work out. I’ve been revising two novels for the last year, so I haven’t drafted new fiction in a while, but I usually average about a thousand words an hour if the writing is going well, and around 500-700 when it isn’t.

Jay Lake: 2,500 words seems to be my base unit of daily output. That usually takes me 60-90 minutes, though that depends on the nature (and stage) of a writing project. As for productivity, I can write at almost any time of day so long as I’m conscious and not exhausted, but the practical aspects of my life seem to have me writing in the late afternoon or early evening most of the time.

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How many words/pages do you write in a day? Leave us a comment! Next Wednesday, it’s battle on between outliners and pantsers! Place your bets now…

One thought on “Five Authors + Five Questions : Typical”

  1. I can relate to many of these. Being a parent and part time worker, writing often has to take the back burner, but ideally, I write about two hours after getting up, when I’m charged on coffee and actually awake. Depending on whether there is flow, determines how much I write. I usually have a minimum so have to sit and wait it out if its not working. Can take up to three hours, though I’m happy with two.

    Editing has to fit in with my day, though any time is good, provided I’m not too tired. I don’t consider blogging/social networking as writing though it does suck up a lot of time. Writers are doing it tougher these days, with so much of their time in demand.

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