A standard 8-1/2” x 11” page contains approximately 600 typed words with single spacing or 300 words with double spacing. (Word count, of course, depends on font and size.) Blog articles average between 400-600 words, which equal one typed single-spaced page. Chapters vary in length, but book pages usually contain about 300 words. So one single-spaced page would equal two book pages.
Whew! Now that we have the math out of the way, we’re back to the question: How long should it take?
Some writers write quickly. They can fill a page in 30 minutes. Others are slower. It might take them an hour or two. Still others agonize over what to write and how to say it and spend days in misery before they have a final product.
Which way is right?
However your brain works is the right way for you. Slow or fast doesn’t matter. What’s
important is that you write. Writing doesn’t come easily for everyone. Maybe marketing is your passion and you can create marketing campaigns in your sleep. Don’t compare the two.
I can write a blog article fairly quickly, as long as I’m clear on the topic and message. My novel, on the other hand, is more like going to the dentist. Anxiety, worry, uncertainty, avoidance, all come into play. I love my dentist but I’m never sure how the visit will turn out. I love my novel but I’m often unclear what comes next. So I do what I can quickly (blogs) and I take time when I need it (novels).
I took a break from writing today and pulled out my Sudoku game. I’d chosen an Expert level, which I work on in stages, and before I dug in I thought, “It’s been a day since I last looked at this. My eyes are fresh. I bet I’ll see something I didn’t see before.”
The same thing applies to writing. Is your mind alert? Are your eyes rested? If you’re
physically tired you’ll fall asleep in the chair. If you’re mentally tired you won’t know if your words are making sense.
You don’t have to complete your article or chapter in one sitting. Let your creativity flow. When it stops flowing, take a break. Start another activity that rests your mind—walking, reading, doing some chores—then come back to the writing when you’re refreshed. It will make a world of difference! You’ll see things you didn’t see before. Thoughts will flow again.
Once you’re finished, save what you’ve written and walk away. Give yourself a day, or at least a few hours, before your final edit. Let your brain ponder what you’ve written. I
always come up with different ways to phrase an idea or an important piece I forgot to add. Remember, you’re reading for clarity. Pretend you know nothing. Does it all make sense?
To recap, don’t try to write the way someone else does. Do what works for you. Make sure you’re rested. Read for clarity. And take as long as you need.
Now for that Sudoku game. I wonder what I’ll see this time.
Photo by Grafixar, morguefile.com