How Much Do Writers Write in a Day?

There is an interview with George R. R. Martin in this month’s Writers Digest. If you don’t know George, he’s the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the first book of which is A Game of Thrones. Currently there are five books in the series with two more planned. What non-fans probably don’t know is that the first book was published in 1996 and the last three books were published about 5 years apart. Some fans don’t like this. It’s a long time to wait for an installment.

My husband has become a fan and after reading the article he said, “He only writes four or five pages a day.” For the tomes that George writes, four or five pages a day means it will take five years to finish. At the same time, I told my husband that four or five pages was pretty good. I’ve read many author interviews who have goals of four or five pages a day. Or sometimes it’s a word count like 1000 words a day. That doesn’t seem like a lot, until you try and write that much.

November is National Novel Writing Month — NANOWRIMO. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That comes to an average of 1,667 words a day. I know that I can write that number of words in just over an hour IF I know what I want to say. I’ve participated in NANOWRIMO every year for the last five years, and only once did I hit the 50K mark (with Old Flames Never Die, which I hope to publish soon). It’s harder than you think to write several pages a day, especially if you have a job or other work to do, a family, daily duties etc.

I am curious about Nora Roberts’ daily work or page count. She’s reputed to write eight hours a day everyday, even on vacation. I figure that has to be at least 10,000 words a day (which I guess is about 40 pages — 250 words a page). This may be why she’s so prolific.

So how much do I write a day? When I can write, I average about 1,800 words. The problem is that I may only write one day a week. I’m working to change that. Now that Deadly Valentine and Endangered are published, I’m eager to get more work out there. Especially since two Valentine books are completed drafts that only need edits. Who knows, maybe this time next year, I’ll be writing four or five pages a day which would mean a new book release every three months or so.

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