Read Write four to six hours a day

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The Good Guy

Well-Known Member
Jul 1, 2011
71
16
#1
Is it normal for people to be struggling with this advice, at least in the beginning? I know King says that this exercise won't be strenuous if you really love doing those two things, but I'm curious to know, is that something you just jump right into? Did he himself in the beginning struggle with doing this method? If only I could ask him that question. Do you any of you aspiring writers that follow this method, start of with smaller exercises and then work your way up?

I ask you all this because I'm currently trying to follow his advice and I'm struggling with it. I'd love to hear your views and experiences.
 
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Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
58,267
218,363
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#4
Is it normal for people to be struggling with this advice, at least in the beginning? I know King says that this exercise won't be strenuous if you really love doing those two things, but I'm curious to know, is that something you just jump right into? Did he himself in the beginning struggle with doing this method? If only I could ask him that question. Do you any of you aspiring writers that follow this method, start of with smaller exercises and then work your way up?

I ask you all this because I'm currently trying to follow his advice and I'm struggling with it. I'd love to hear your views and experiences.
4 - 6 hours a day is a long time. Maybe gradually build up to that many hours. I am not a writer nor do I aspire to be one, but I do love to read!

Welcome to SKMB :smile:
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
83,450
326,853
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#5
...if you have a job that pays the bilsl, are independently wealthy or have a spouse/significant other that allows you the flexibility to pursue your avocation in such a manner, then it's realistic-otherwise, you need to scale back and work within the limitations...that's not a bad thing-just reality...
 

blunthead

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2006
80,756
195,365
Atlanta GA
#6
Is it normal for people to be struggling with this advice, at least in the beginning? I know King says that this exercise won't be strenuous if you really love doing those two things, but I'm curious to know, is that something you just jump right into? Did he himself in the beginning struggle with doing this method? If only I could ask him that question. Do you any of you aspiring writers that follow this method, start of with smaller exercises and then work your way up?

I ask you all this because I'm currently trying to follow his advice and I'm struggling with it. I'd love to hear your views and experiences.
Welcome. Writing is hard work and takes dedication and perseverance. Stick with it.
4 - 6 hours a day is a long time. Maybe gradually build up to that many hours. I am not a writer nor do I aspire to be one, but I do love to read!

Welcome to SKMB :smile:
...if you have a job that pays the bilsl, are independently wealthy or have a spouse/significant other that allows you the flexibility to pursue your avocation in such a manner, then it's realistic-otherwise, you need to scale back and work within the limitations...that's not a bad thing-just reality...
I'm not a writer, but I think I can offer a suggestion to go along with those already: Write with discipline and the conviction to write. This attitude will demand that you write the correct number of minutes per day/hour/week.
 

Kingfisher

Well-Known Member
Jan 1, 2015
55
275
27
#7
I'm a writer myself (it's how I pay the bills, even) and all I can say is that writing isn't a process to me. It's perfectly possible to plunk away a paragraph in between surfing the Internet with music on, or watching a movie, anything. There probably isn't any one right way to do it so I wouldn't worry yourself if you can't follow what someone else says is right.
 
Mar 1, 2016
4
14
Oregon
#9
I wondered this myself. I am not opposed to reading or writing 4-6 hours a day but, as a new mom of a very active 10 month old, finding that time can be hard. For this season of life I have established my own sporadic reading/writing schedule. I get up a little earlier and stay up a little later, and during her naps I read and write! It's not the perfect set up, but it's better than nothing.
 

Senor_Biggles

Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2015
188
878
45
#10
Is it normal for people to be struggling with this advice, at least in the beginning? I know King says that this exercise won't be strenuous if you really love doing those two things, but I'm curious to know, is that something you just jump right into? Did he himself in the beginning struggle with doing this method? If only I could ask him that question. Do you any of you aspiring writers that follow this method, start of with smaller exercises and then work your way up?

I ask you all this because I'm currently trying to follow his advice and I'm struggling with it. I'd love to hear your views and experiences.
I've read On Writing three times and I don't remember his advice for new writers being quite that tough. As I recall 4-6 hours a day is the time he himself dedicates to reading/writing every day, but obviously that's as a successful full time writer. I think the recommendation for aspiring writers was two hours writing a day, six days a week (fairly sure he allowed for one day off a week). If you've got a full time job, family, kids, four to six hours daily is just not going to be possible. I've been trying to follow the advice as best I can for just over a year now during which time I've been working on my first attempt at a novel, and you know what? Two hours a day six days a week has proved to be beyond me as well. A really good week I maybe manage five to six hours writing in total and the same again for reading, both done on trains as I commute to and from work (about the only free time I can find).

I think the piece of advice you have to take to heart is "Don't come to it lightly". The important thing is that writing becomes a habit and it becomes something that you have to do, so that if you go too long without firing up the laptop you start to feel uneasy, edgy. You need to make it an addiction that you need to feed. That's what I took away from On Writing anyway.

I do a bit if running and it's a similar thing for me. I started running over ten years ago for reasons which become less and less clear to me each day, but I know when I did start it was really bloody painful. But if you can stick with it, it slowly gets easier and you begin to develop into a better runner, and then you get better and better and better until one day your hurtling along and you suddenly realise that you're enjoying yourself and you feel like you don't ever want to stop. I still hate running sometimes, still have days when my legs are screaming at me and it's cold and wet and I'm exhausted, but it doesn't matter, I pick myself up and go anyway. There are two reasons for this. One, I know that however bad I feel before a run I will feel worse later on if I duck out of it. Two, sometimes it all comes together perfectly and it's the best thing in the world when it does.

I think that writing is something the same. When it all comes together it can be joyous, but you don't get to have those days without putting the miles in. And to put the miles in you have t be disciplined and push yourself to do it regularly and often.
 
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Dana Jean

Moderator
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
47,164
197,578
Thornfield
#11
I've read On Writing three times and I don't remember his advice for new writers being quite that tough. As I recall 4-6 hours a day is the time he himself dedicates to reading/writing every day, but obviously that's as a successful full time writer. I think the recommendation for aspiring writers was two hours writing a day, six days a week (fairly sure he allowed for one day off a week). If you've got a full time job, family, kids, four to six hours daily is just not going to be possible. I've been trying to follow the advice as best I can for just over a year now during which time I've been working on my first attempt at a novel, and you know what? Two hours a day six days a week has proved to be beyond me as well. A really good week I maybe manage five to six hours writing in total and the same again for reading, both done on trains as I commute to and from work (about the only free time I can find).

I think the piece of advice you have to take to heart is "Don't come to it lightly". The important thing is that writing becomes a habit and it becomes something that you have to do, so that if you go too long without firing up the laptop you start to feel uneasy, edgy. You need to make it an addiction that you need to feed. That's what I took away from On Writing anyway.

I do a bit if running and it's a similar thing for me. I started running over ten years ago for reasons which become less and less clear to me each day, but I know when I did start it was really bloody painful. But if you can stick with it, it slowly gets easier and you begin to develop into a better runner, and then you get better and better and better until one day your hurtling along and you suddenly realise that you're enjoying yourself and you feel like you don't ever want to stop. I still hate running sometimes, still have days when my legs are screaming at me and it's cold and wet and I'm exhausted, but it doesn't matter, I pick myself up and go anyway. There are two reasons for this. One, I know that however bad I feel before a run I will feel worse later on if I duck out of it. Two, sometimes it all comes together perfectly and it's the best thing in the world when it does.

I think that writing is something the same. When it all comes together it can be joyous, but you don't get to have those days without putting the miles in. And to put the miles in you have t be disciplined and push yourself to do it regularly and often.
Actually, I think he said get so many words a day, not hours. Some people can get that many words in 30 minutes, some might agonized for a couple hours. Don't hold me to that, but I'm pretty sure it was by word count.
 

skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
15,675
92,028
USA
#12
Meh. What works for one person is not guaranteed to work for another. You have to find your own rhythm and go with that.
 
Likes: GNTLGNT

Senor_Biggles

Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2015
188
878
45
#13
Actually, I think he said get so many words a day, not hours. Some people can get that many words in 30 minutes, some might agonized for a couple hours. Don't hold me to that, but I'm pretty sure it was by word count.
Yeah, now that you say that it sound right. Better go back for a fourth go! Although....now I recall a passage about how he used to get home form work and lock himself in the laundry room to write for a minimum of two hours every night when around the time he was working on Carrie, or have I confused that again with two thousand words? Might have, on days I write I go for an hour or so and usually manage just over a 1000 words, so I could easily be confusing two thousand words with two hours. That seems tougher though, certainly in the beginning. As it gets to be habit it gets easier to bang out the words rapid fire, but at the start (or on really bad day) two thousand words could be pretty unassailable. I guess the important thing is to write on more days than you don't and to set yourself a tough but achievable target and stick to it.
 

sam peebles

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2008
2,080
509
Massachusetts
#14
Actually, I think he said get so many words a day, not hours. Some people can get that many words in 30 minutes, some might agonized for a couple hours. Don't hold me to that, but I'm pretty sure it was by word count.
I think you're right. I think it's somewhere around 2000 words. Which is a lot. Some short stories are that long. It's basically two percent of an (average) novel. If you consistently write 2000 words per day, you could complete a novel in less than two months.

I think the most I've ever written in a single day is around 5000 words, but I'm usually somewhere in the hundreds.

And as has been mentioned King's just stating what has worked for him. It's not applicable to everyone, he's just writing what he knows. I think Kurt Vonnegut had a completely different approach and would spend days on a single page until it was perfect and then move on. Personally, over the two, I prefer King's style. Vonnegut's would drive me insane.
 

Rrty

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2007
1,301
4,062
#17
The word count, as Dana Jean mentioned, is indeed the objective metric. And yes, 2000 words, for some odd reason, is the magic number. It's doable on a consistent basis, and it gets you to the end fairly swiftly while keeping bad writing to a minimum. Of course, keep in mind, I'm not a professional writer, this is just my opinion.

But just to further explain: when I tried to write a lot of words per day, I found I was making scenes too long, because it actually is tiring to write, say, 3500 words composed of ten different scenes as opposed to one. If I made a scene too long, then I was hurting the pace, and that is death for commercial fiction. Same thing with screenplays: go for no more than five/six pages a day. Again, not an expert, just some thoughts.
 
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Pucker

We all have it coming, kid
May 9, 2010
2,906
6,215
57
#18
In any discipline, being your own boss is difficult. I don't place any specific stricture upon myself (and that's fine for me), but if I have something to say I will make the time to say it. Sometimes that requires sacrifice in other areas of my life. Writing can be a very cool hobby, but if you're serious about it you have to treat it like a job. That means there are going to be times when you won't enjoy it. It means there will be times when you will feel like you aren't any good at it. You will run into walls and you will lose your way sometimes ... and other times it will come so easily you'll wonder why everybody doesn't do it.

The important thing to remember is that if you are a writer you will need to write. The running analogy Senor Biggles offered is very instructive. Ask someone who runs regularly how they begin to feel if they cannot run for whatever reason. The idea of finding a rhythm (as someone else pointed out) is very good. I would caution, however, that what you don't want is a comfort zone. Pumping out X number of words or putting in Y number or hours is an exercise in futility if you're merely filling up pages to satisfy some arbitrary quota, and calling that good.

Either that ... or I am entirely wrong. :eyebrow:
 
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