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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Random questions from an amateur writer

   
Author Topic: Random questions from an amateur writer
mayflower988
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I'm just curious - about how much time do you spend writing each day? Are any of yall full-time writers (i.e. instead of a 9-5 job)?

Speaking of which, is it possible to make a steady income from writing fiction?

How long does it take you to finish a story or a book (a ballpark figure)?

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extrinsic
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I am a full-time writer for a 40-hour or more week job, according to tax laws. Creative writer, depends on how much creation time I can squeeze into a day. Several hours daily on average.

I'm given to understand from interested parties who track writing revenues, roughly a fourth of self-employed English language fiction writers make their primary income from creative writing, averaging 30- $40,000 per annum.

Other sources say the average accomplished fiction author nowadays expends six hundred hours in toto; planning, drafting, and reworking; writing a novel of average length, roughly 120,000 words.

Struggling writers, anywhere from a few years to a lifetime. Disregarding writers who claim they wrote a novel in a few days or weeks. They may have written a novel-length typescript or manuscript in a few weeks. I have serious reservations any one of the results could be labeled a novel until it's been through comprehensive reworking for accessibility, voice, craft, and mechanical style that could take years or a lifetime to satisfy readers.

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Pyre Dynasty
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Starting with the second one it is absolutely possible to make a steady income writing fiction. Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Tracy Hickman, Gerald Lund, Chris Heimerdinger. Those are seven people off the top of my head who live within an hour's drive from me who are doing it. With some research I'm sure I'd get plenty more. I don't doubt that it is the same dynamic wherever you live. (adjusting for population of course.) It's not as secure as a normal job, you never know if your next novel is going to sell as well as your last. You also never know if you are going to produce a classic like Ender's Game and be able to live off it for the rest of your life.

I don't write everyday, I want to get in the habit but I'm scared. Usually when I do write it is in long binges. I sit down and then suddenly I start wondering why I'm so hungry and why it's so light outside. I have a goal of becoming a full time writer though.

Sorry, I couldn't tell you how long it takes me to finish a story, it varies so much.

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Robert Nowall
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I wish, but I've never earned a penny from writing. I wouldn't mind seeing some answers from some who've sold stuff, too...
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rabirch
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I don't spend anywhere near as much time writing per day as I should. I range from a minimum of fifteen minutes to two or three hours (rarely). Usually closer to one hour a day. I'm not even close to a full-time writer.

It is certainly possible to make a steady income. Not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but possible. In the past twelve years, I have earned just under $200 total. Not at all lucrative, but at this point, the reward for me is in the process.

A story can take me an hour to a couple of days of work to come up with a first draft. Edits are usually spread out over a week to a month. I have finished a novel draft exactly once. Did it during NaNoWriMo, and the first draft was complete at 85k in 30 days. I've worked on editing it off and on for four years. I finally have come to realize that it's just broken, and no amount of polishing will save it.

It's fascinating to see how other people experience things, but always remember that we all work in different ways, so these are just interesting data points. What is true for one person won't necessarily be true for you or the person down the hall.

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