Friday, October 05, 2007

How many hours a day do you spend writing?

So I was revising away yesterday, and I had an idea for a new version of the scene I was working on. It passes the "gut test," as in, I feel it's a good idea. That means more revising and finding a way to make the new idea fit into the scene. I've spent the better part of this morning figuring out how to do that.

The question of the day is, should I count that as writing time? After all, it yielded zero pages.

I've long suspected that when many people ask about "writing time," they're really thinking about what I'd call typing time -- the time spent at the keyboard, resulting in x numbers of pages.

This is why I always hesitate a bit when people ask me how much time per day I spend writing. Do they mean time at the keyboard? Should I include thinking time? What about reading time? What about the time I spend researching things like street lighting or a typical meal in a castle in 1204?

That's why I find "How many hours a day do you spend writing?" one of the toughest questions about the writing life to answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a question I get all the time, second only to "what are you working on".

Do I count the moment when mid-movie one line inspires an entire story idea and I natch it away for the future? What about the frantic 3 a.m. scribbles that are nearly senseless sometimes but keep me awake if I don't write them down? How about the sixteen lines in just under 12 hours because diapers, meals, lessons, and the fax/phone/emails were non-stop? Is that even 10 minutes of my day? Or the on-line searches and subsequent jots for and about gauntlet manufacture because my hero has to have the perfect fit, or corset sizes to know if a ham would fit inside, or the history of women's courses to know how a man in 1316 handles such matters?

Oh, well, I'd write more, but a hazardous waste diaper is calling, and I haven't measured the ham in the freezer yet for comparison and my husband is about to be bombarded with questions about his comfort level over menstruation . . .