Tuesday, January 22, 2013
How Writers Write
Oh, I know... y'all aren't representative annallat... but between responses HERE and responses over at ABNA where I posed the same questions (two blogs ago, if you want to look), I got more than 60 results, so not bad at all, as blog polling goes (at least in my experience).
Who ARE you?
Well, all of you are writers... a couple here hadn't finished a book yet (that's okay, we all start somewhere) but we'd written an average (mean) of 5.9 books in 12.1 years. Keep in mind there were some big numbers that skewed these—the MODE (most commonly mentioned response) was 3 books (8 people of 50 who answered that question)—2 and 2.5 also being fairly common.
I ALSO should let you know a number of you started writing ages ago, but if you gave a 'got serious' answer, that was what I used. Not tons of us have been serious for several decades (though there were a few)
About half of you answered here and half over at ABNA. The blog had more missing data, I think just because the format sort of lends to that.
HOW do you Write?
Almost half said fast (23/53), though slow was the #2 response (medium and in bursts also got a decent number). People who write fast or medium had written more books (shocking, I know; though the fact that I got a p value of .06 for a sample of only 60 is quite impressive *shifty*)--about 7 versus in the 3s. What CAN'T be told from this is whether people get faster as they write more books or whether people write more books because they can do it faster. The things sort of go hand in hand.
More than half claimed you write CLEAN (and so I'm just a bit envious). This was NOT different by number of books or years writing.
About half of you only work on one thing at a time. (followed by rotators). The people who worked on multiple books at once several times, mentioned of their own accord, that they have to be different genres.
About half set the book aside before editing, though about a third edit right away and another portion edits as you go (with the leftovers doing some mix)
About half either move on to the next, or at least wait on the current before submitting or publishing. Those who keep going until it is OUT THERE were split between self publishing and submitting.
We are almost evenly split between pantsers, outliners and people who do some level of planning that isn't quite outlining (notes, timelines)
And we are ALL over the board with genre, though YA was most common, followed by varied, though if I'd marked varied for anybody who had more than one, that would have risen to top—oodles put 2 genres.
Mixing it up
Pantsers write faster than outliners. I wonder if outliners count their time outlining as writing time and that explains some portion of this? Just as likely, it takes some effort to follow a plan. (people who judge their speed as medium are evenly split between pantsers and outliners). How we write seems to have NO effect on how clean we judge our books to be. Interesting. Totally would have thought outliners ended up with cleaner books, but about half of both pantsers and outliners are clean. Clean though, DOES absorb a greater portion of the other planning methods.
People who work on multiple works at once are 70% pantsers... One at a timers are planners (either outline or other systems); rotators are more of a mix.
Outliners edit right away, pantsers set it aside (broadly—there are exceptions—more exceptions in the outliners setting it aside category)
How a person writes doesn't seem to have much impact on what a person does once done in terms of publishing, waiting, etc.
I totally thought some pattern would emerge related to experience or genre, but that really doesn't seem to be the case. It was fun, though, to look at us collectively.