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How Long Does It Take You To Write?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by schiezainc, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    Forgive me if this topic has been covered a million times.

    All things being equal, how long does it take you to write: A. a Game story, B. a Feature, C. a Column.

    Now I know there are a lot of factors that change things, but if you're deadline was "Whenever you finish" and you could move at your own pace, and it was an average length article for you, how long do you think it would take from first key stroke to sending it?

    I ask this because I, like I'm sure many noobs, want to know how long it takes you more experienced folk and want to know if I'm taking too long to file.

    For reference, I'm at a weekly and can take my ever loving time. If I'm not on a tight deadline though, and no one's up my ass to finish it, i could take anywhere between a half hour and two hours to write an average story, depending on how the flow goes and what type of mood I'm in that day.
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    First of all, your deadline never should be "whenever you finish."

    If you're writing a gamer for a daily, you know exactly when you need to have copy in (unless you're working for incompetents) and that is how long you have to write, whether you like it or not.

    If you're working on a feature, we're going to discuss when it's going to run and when I, your editor, needs your copy. And that is how long you have to get it in, whether you like it or not.

    As for a column, if you are asking this question, you are not experienced enough to be writing columns.

    Sorry, people, old editors have standards to which we adhere.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Spnited's correct on all counts.

    Also, if you wonder if you're taking too long to file ... you probably are.

    That said, I wrote a quick 8-incher to fill the hole off a damn box score last night in 4-and-a-half minutes (boo, AP hockey writer/stringer in Glendale!) So, whatever.
  4. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    Well, i bring that up to basically mean that if it was up to you and the pressure of deadline wasn't there, what's the average time it takes you to write something. This really isn't about pressure/time sensative writing because we all know the two are different.

    As I said, where I work is a weekly and there really is no pressure to have it done by X ' oclock because we don't have a SE and as long as I have it written in time for the paper's printing deadline, it's fine.

    EDIT: That printing deadline BTW, is Wednesday morning at 10:30. This includes anything I happened to have covered from the previous weekend and/or any features I've held on to.
  5. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    A) 10-20 minutes to write a base, another 5-10 to transcribe notes/recorder, 35 minutes figuring out a lede (kidding), 10-20 writing and touching up. So a total of about 25-45 minutes

    B) more time, but add the 35 minutes to think of a lede/research time

    C) 10 minutes to write out my thoughts (500-800 words), another 30-60 touching up and trying to make myself not sound stupid

    Just rough guesses
  6. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    That's a tough question to answer because I'm facing a deadline almost every step of the way. Then I've got my inch count, which varies by what the desk wants/needs. So I don't know. Anywhere between 30-45 minutes for a gamer. But it's all dependent on the previous variables.
  7. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Exactly, mikey.
    As for schiez, you're working for a weekly and it seems it doesn't matter how long you take to write.
    So why is it relevant to you?
  8. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    Well, the whole point of working at a weekly is getting better. I try to approach most things as if I were on a tight deadline so that when/if I'm lucky enough to move to a larger paper I'll be able to handle an actual hard deadline.

    That and I'm hoping to have some sort of guage as to whether or not i need to shut up and wrap my thoughts up quicker. :)
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    That's the thing. There's ALWAYS a deadline, whether it's two days, two hours or twenty minutes. There's no "average" time for anything, because it depends on the deadline.

    You take the time you need, and you use the time you have, to write the best story.
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    But, if you're trying to get better, just test yourself.

    Institute a tight "deadline" for yourself, and don't miss it. If you're covering a 7 p.m. basketball game, give yourself a 10 p.m. copy deadline and see if you can crank out 12 inches on time. If you're covering a a 7:30 football game, give yourself a 10:30 deadline and go for 15 inches.

    For a short feature, try to come up with an idea, report it and write 20 inches all in an 8-hour shift.

    Obviously, some of these are extreme but it's not that unusual compared to the situations that many writers face. You've got the luxury of rewriting your stuff for a weekly, so you're not under "real-time" pressure. But that'll help you get used to something close to a daily deadline.
  11. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    That's exactly what I did when I used to work at an afternoon paper. It became extremely boring for me to come back to the office and write at a leisurely pace. So I tested myself like Buck explained. Now the mandated deadlines aren't a problem -- for the most part. There are some days, however, that the deadlines do seem a bit unreachable. But you do what you've got to do.
  12. -Scoop-

    -Scoop- Member

    A. 15-20 minutes

    B. Around 40-50 minutes

    C. 30-40 minutes
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