How Long Should We Write Each Day?

imageWriters write. We’ve all heard this succinct advice on becoming a writer.

But how often should we write? Where should we write? Where do we start? Where do we finish?

How long should we write each day?

Answers to these questions fill countless of books, articles, blogs. Often they disagree.

Each writer brings her own approach to the art and technique of writing. We may agree on general principles, yet disagree on specific techniques.

For example, I generally won’t stop writing for the day unless I’ve finished the chapter of the book I’m working on. The chapters of my novels tend to be shorter, rather than longer, so the task isn’t that daunting.

Having thought about the forthcoming chapter the previous day — the plot points that have to be struck and the character development that needs to occur — I keep to the task until that last sentence is in place. I end my chapters with a revelation or hook that creates expectation in reader, and this guides my thinking the following day; it makes the process easier — for me.

This, however, is not necessarily the case for others.

A fellow writer, and winner of several writing awards — no slouch in the craft of writing— told me that he often stops writing before completing the scene he’s working on, whether it’s giving him problems or not. He finds that tackling the material the following day brings fresh insight to his writing. I suspect this is because he is more a pantser than a plotter, but the point is well taken. One shoe does not fit all. There are, indeed, different strokes for different folks.

It’s helpful to keep this in mind as we pour over the voluminous suggestions of experts. Some nuggets of advice are more suited to our particular personalities and circumstances than others. We need to decide which to keep and which to throw away.

After all, how long is a piece of string, anyway?


Study all the advice you can, but implement only what’s best suited to you.

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