One of the blogs I follow is the Mad Reviewer, and I remember some time ago she discussed her reading speed. Being a reviewer, she has to get through a lot of books – and she has the advantage of being trained to speed read – not to skip, but to read fast. I can’t remember now what rates she quoted, but I have a feeling that 10,000 words in half an hour was something like it. Maybe double… maybe I should check.
If you read a book at 5000 words in an hour, it’ll take you 15 hours to read the average novel. Of course the novel word count varies wildly, but that still makes two days reading at eight hours a day.
I don’t know how many words I read in an hour. Perhaps it depends a lot on the writing. I know I read one recently in well under 90 minutes, which I thought was a bit extreme, even for a Middle Grade book. I tend to read most books in three blocks – to 25%, then 60% then to the end. I don’t know whether the reading gets ‘faster’ as the plot ramps up or I stay with it longer. I supsect the former, since if I’m reading on my laptop in the garden the time is limited to about 110 minutes by the battery! That would suggest I read at about 10,000 words an hour then.
I write at 1000 words an hour.
I started to recognise this with my flash fiction. Provided I already had an idea of what to write (which usually comes to me overnight, or a couple of days after getting the prompt) I sit down and write the story, check the word count, and by the time I’ve done at least 1000 words I’ve taken an hour. Then it takes another hour or two to tidy it up, get the word count correct, edit it, improve it, and post it. Writing a 2000 word flash fiction takes 2 hours, plus an hour or two tidy up. The tidy up doesn’t seem to take any longer for 1000 or for 2000 which is interesting.
So when I started Camp Nano and set myself the task of writing for 2 hours in the morning before doing anything else, I became less surprised that I kept writing around 2000 words in that time. Some days I write to a natural break point, find I’ve done 1500 words in an hour and a half, nip down and make another coffee, and come back for another half hour to write my daily quota.
The main thing is to keep writing. At first draft stage it doesn’t really matter if it’s rubbish (or full of typos). You sort that out later. An ex-boss advised me to ‘write loose and edit tight’. She had taken that advice from her tutor during her doctorate. It’s good advice. I pass it on.
Have you recognised you have a reliable reading or writing speed?
PS Writing blog posts is exactly the same. 🙂