word craft


How many pages each day?

BookPeter from Port­land, Ore­gon, wrote to ask me, “How many pages do you write a day?”

Most (not all) writ­ers I know write every day. My own per­son­al goal is five pages a day. Some­times I do more. Some­times less. I have writ­ten a book (S.O.R Losers) in one twen­ty-four hour peri­od. The longest time it took me to write a book (Bright Shad­ow), start to fin­ish, was four­teen years. Need­less to say I didn’t work on that one every day. The short­est time elaps­ing between the time I start­ed to write to when the pub­lished book was in my hand was eleven months (Encounter at Eas­t­on)

The oth­er day I read an inter­view with a British author who said she tried to write a thou­sand words a day. A writer friend told me he gets up at four o clock  each morn­ing and stays at his desk till he gets ten pages done. Some­one once told me that Stephen King used to write a hun­dred pages a day. Antho­ny Trol­lop, an impor­tant British Vic­to­ri­an writer wrote, “I have allot­ted myself so many pages a week. The aver­age num­ber has been about 40. It has been placed as low as 20, and has risen to 112. And … my page has been made to con­tain 250 words… I have had every word counted.” 

But—as I like to remind would–be writers—if you wrote just one page a day, at the end of the year you’d have 365 pages—a pret­ty big book!

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