Writing Every Day vs. Binge Writing

There is so much advice for writers out there, it can be hard to decide what an individual should listen to.

I’m a knowledge sponge and soak it up whenever I can. To that end, I’ve read countless books on writing as well as listening to all kinds of audio series, videos and live lectures on how I should write. I also now have four books so I have a little experience in writing and have settled into my own routine.

One of the big recommendations from many pros is to write something every day on your novel/work in progress. Even if it is just a few hundred words. Or if you can write 1000 words a day, you’ll have a novel finished in a few months. I’ve struggled with this before. I tried it and just failed and ended up feeling guilty because I hadn’t written anything on the latest book.

I find I’m more like a binge writer. I like to let the urge build up and then I schedule time to let it all out onto the page. I also have a day job and cannot be creative after a full days work so my best writing day is at the weekend when I can immerse myself into the writing process. I know Stephen King wrote every day when he had a day job but most pros don’t have that to worry about anymore – but they all started like us so there’s no excuse. It’s just how we can shape our lives to fit in the writing. I want to write fast, I want to be prolific but right now, binge writing suits my lifestyle.

The first mind map for Prophecy, my next thriller novel

I’m currently planning my next novel, Prophecy. I’m in composting phase which means I’m gathering ideas, writing mind maps with initial thoughts, reading books around the topic and then letting my brain create new ideas from this raw material. I’m not writing anything on it at all. But I am writing blog posts, doing interviews and writing other things – just not my next book.

I need at least a month of composting before I want to write. Some of the scenes are starting to emerge already but this time around I will be outlining more thoroughly anyway. I’ll start writing when the urge gets overwhelming. Then I will have the first draft binge writing phase. I’ll get up at 5am and write before work and will write every weekend. I’ll be aiming for 5000-8000 words per week. The blog, podcast and other things will go on the backburner. So I can happily oscillate from one extreme to another.

On this topic and writing fast, have a listen to this round-table with Dan Sawyer, Mur Lafferty, Gail Carriger and Nathan Lowell. Gail writes 2000 words per day, no excuses. Nathan is a binge writer who doesn’t write for months and then can write 10,000 – 20,000 words a day.

How about you? Do you write every day or are you a binge writer?

Image: Flickr CC Parker from DigitalNative

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  1. says

    I’m naturally a binge writer, but lately I had to settle to writing everyday even when I was exhausted in order to finish my book without further delay. I must say it worked mighty fine. For the future I think that besides the period I have to do some research and when I have to edit the book once it’s finished, I’ll have an every-day-writing discipline, with the exception of maybe one day a week to fully rest if I need, and the occasional unforeseen consequences when you can’t write at that moment.


  1. […] Writing Every Day vs Binge Writing  This is an older post that I found this week over at Joanna Penn’s ‘The Creative Penn’ website.  I’m a firm believer that one of our jobs as a writer is to try and find the optimum system that suits US!  For some of us that might be ‘binge writing.’  (Great term btw!). […]

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