When and Where Do You Write? How Long and How Many Words?

“When and Where Do You Write? How Long and How Many Words?” by Joan Y. Edwards

English: Blue silhouette of a notebook
English: Blue silhouette of a notebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Do You Write?

  1. Wee hours of the morning
  2. An hour after everyone is asleep.
  3. An hour before everyone wakes up.
  4. On your lunch hour at work.
  5. While your baby is taking a nap.
  6. An hour after supper dishes are done.
  7. Wake up from a dream with the answer to a plot complication or solution for one of your characters
  8. Your best time???

Where Do You Write?

  1. In your office on a desktop computer
  2. In an easy chair on an iPad
  3. On a bench in your favorite park
  4. Sitting up in bed on a notebook with a pen or pencil
  5. At the dining room table on a laptop.
  6. On the front or back porch
  7. On the patio under a beach umbrella
  8. Your favorite place???

How Long Do You Write Each Day?

  1. More than 1 hour
  2. 1 hour
  3. 30 minutes
  4. 20 minutes
  5. 15 minutes
  6. 10 minutes
  7. 5 minutes
  8. 1 minute

How Many Words Do You Write Each Day?

  1. More than 3,000
  2. More than 1,500
  3. More than 750
  4. More than 375
  5. More than 200
  6. More than 100
  7. More than 50
  8. More than 25

Do you get up in the wee hours of the morning to write when all the world is quiet in your house? You could.  Do you write and go to bed one hour after others are sound asleep? Do you set a special time to write?

Do you ever awaken from a dream with ideas that would make a good plot for a new story? Or do you wake up knowing how to solve the problem for your main character? As soon as you are awake, pick up the notebook and pen on the table beside your bed and hurriedly write down what you remember. If you don’t want to wake up anyone, take your notebook to the bathroom, turn on the light, and close the door. You could also use a tiny flash light.

Put a notebook and pen in the side-pocket of your car. You can jot down ideas at the next red light. (A personal note: Some lights last so long, you might forget where you are going.)

If someone else is driving, you can write for short spans of time. (Some people get sick when they read or write while the car is in motion.)

You might enjoy taking a walk. Take your notebook and pen with you. Perhaps you might like to take a pocket recorder on your walk. When you get home, you can listen and write it in your notebook or type it into a computer. Pretend one of your characters is walking down this same street. What would he notice? What would the villain notice?

If you’re go to a park with a lake, you could fish. Write down the sounds you hear. What the water looks like. If you went swimming in the water, what would the water taste like? Would it be safe to swim? Are there any signs of pollution? What problems could this lake pose for one of your characters?

Suppose you have a picnic. Do the ants come on cue? Or is another insect a problem? Or is a person a problem? Or do you run out of food? Can you find a place to sit down? What did you eat? Did you meet an old friend of your main character there? A classmate or relative you hadn’t seen in years? If you journal about this when you get back home or before you leave, it’ll give you ideas to use another time.

After an exciting time with family or friends, write down what happened and the emotions you experienced. What made you angry? What scared you? What pleased you very much?

Just take seven minutes a day to jot down seven sentences or more.  Seven sentences could take less than 7 minutes. It will be enough to help you remember the situation. That would probably be 100 words or more.

If you think you could write more than seven minutes, you might want to try 750 Words.com: http://www.750words.com/
750 Words.com will encourage and reward you for writing 750 words a day. If you don’t, it’s no big deal. Write what you can. They give you points for writing and badges. No one sees it but you. You can free write. Write what comes in your head. Or you can write a scene for your latest manuscript. No editing. Just let it flow. 750 words is about 3 standard pages of a manuscript double-spaced. They send you daily reminders, if you choose them.

You can also do this without signing up for 750words.com. You can create your own rules. Write 7 minutes, 10 minutes. You choose your plan.

Enjoy your writing when and where you choose to do it for as long as you choose to do it. Keep on writing.


Tanya Cilia. “How Do I Write? Let Me Count the Ways:”

Thank you for reading my blog. I am very glad that you are here. Please let me know when is your best time to write, where do you like to write, how long you write, or how many words you write a day.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

8 thoughts on “When and Where Do You Write? How Long and How Many Words?”

  1. Joan,
    Reading this first thing this morning will have me thinking about it off and on all day. I don’t have a set number of words or minutes per day, but I try to fill most all my “free” time with writing or writing related activities. I also get up early, even when I don’t have to work so I can keep my writing routine going.

    I especially like the sections you included on taking notes of your surroundings and special outings. We often think we’ll remember the details, but writing them down makes it a definite.

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thanks for sharing your writing habits with me and my blog readers. It’s great that you maximize the amount of time you get to write each day. Even when it’s difficult to manage.
      It was nice to hear that you especially liked the sections I included on taking notes of your surroundings and special outings.
      You are a blessing. Enjoy your day!
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  2. This is a motivating article.

    When to I write? Sometime the wee hours if I know my day will be busy, sometimes during the day, but rarely in the evening.

    Where to I write?I travel a lot so sometimes on my lap, in car, on my boat, on the beach, in a tent, on a lawn chair. Even when I’m running and have my digital recorder with me. This is the best part about writing. I can write anyway.

    How many words? I don’t give myself a word count. I find this adds to much pressure and I don’t write well. Some day I crank out a lot and others, not so much.

    You can see the theme of my writing life – flexibility!

    1. Dear Kristina,
      It’s good to hear from you. Thanks for writing and sharing about your writing. I’m excited that you believe my article is motivating. I think we all need to remember to have our writing life to be flexible! That is really important. Too many rules can spoil the fun! Remembering to balance your life experiences with your writing. You don’t want to miss a party. I love that you write while in your boat. I’ve never been on many boat rides. It seems like it would be nice to sit there and write surrounded by the sights and sounds of a lake.
      Do something fun today!
      Joan Y. Edwards

  3. This is interesting to think about. 🙂 Here are my answers:

    When do you write? Usually, a half hour in the morning before work, and then at night after dinner until my eyes fall shut.

    Where do you write? Everywhere! Mostly at my desk at home looking out into my backyard. But I have a notebook and I take it to the coffee shop, to the park, and in my car. I write in bed on my laptop. I write on airplanes. I’ve even written in the car wash. Just to say that I did it. 😉

    How long do you write? That varies. I try to write something every day, even if it’s just a few minutes in my notebook. But some days I’ll write for eight or more hours. So the average is probably about two or three hours a day.

    How many words? That varies too. I’ve written ten thousand in one day during Nano one year, just to see if I could. For a while I did morning words at 750 words, and so on those days I could easily be writing three thousand a day, but now that I’m revising I’m probably at about a thousand a day. Do blog posts count? 😉

    I look forward to reading other writers’ thoughts on this!

    1. Dear Kirsten,
      Thanks for writing. It is fun to hear about your writing habits. I’m glad you enjoyed thinking about your answers to my questions. I love that you wrote while inside a car wash, just so you could say that you did it. Funny!
      Wow! Writing 10,000 words in one day. That was awesome. Sure, writing blog posts, counts. Any kind of writing counts.
      Do more fun writing adventures today!
      Enjoy living.
      Joan Y. Edwards

  4. I make my living as a writer. I write my first 1K of the day, on whatever novel is in first draft, first thing in the morning. Then, after breakfast, I switch between projects as needed, depending on deadline and how much they’re paying.

    I prefer writing in the morning and editing/researching/teaching in the afternoon.

    By doing the first 1K of the day first thing, no matter how crazy my day gets, I know I’m 1K ahead of where I was the previous day. It doesn’t hang over me, and I don’t feel guilty if I don’t get back to it.

    If I didn’t write every day, if I made excuses, I couldn’t pay the bills and keep a roof over my head.

    1. Dear Devon,
      Thank you very much for writing. I appreciate you very much. I’m proud of the way you commit to writing 1000 words first thing in the morning. It’s interesting that you do you editing/researching/teaching in the afternoon. What you’re saying is that writing first thing in the morning “grounds” you, “stabilizes” you to handle anything that comes your way. Awesome!
      I see from your site that you write under different pen names. What criteria do you use for deciding which works will be done by Devon Ellington and which ones that you choose a pen name for publication? Good luck with all the workshops you teach and selling of the numerous books you have written.
      Do something fun today!
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

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