One Weekend at a Cabin

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One Weekend at a Cabin

I was typing up part of Absolution: Behind the Scenes and ranted a little bit, and thought I'd place it here in a blog, as it was a bit of a tangent away from the main topic. So, here's some context for you:

You know those TV shows, films, and even books that tell you a writer banged out a new great novel over a weekend of booze and sex with strangers? And then remembering their agent demanded a book from them? So, they go on a coke bender Sunday night and henpeck at the typewriter, but when the sunrises on Monday morning, you get the dramatic sequence of them typing 'THE END' and then falling to the floor in exhaustion. Ever seen those? I have. A lot of them.

Let's take an 80,000-word novel as an example (roughly 320 pages, depending on many factors.) The next great author starts with nothing, drives off to a cabin for the weekend with a typewriter, and hammers out 80,000 words. We all know there are 24 hours in a day and two days for a weekend. That makes 48 hours to write 80,000 words.

80,000 words / 48 hours = 1,667 words per hour

That's about 28 words per minute. Totally henpeck-able on a typewriter.

But, what if the writer needs to...I dunno...sleep? Eat? Stand up and stretch? Let's cut 8 hours per day off of that 48-hours for all that non-henpecking time.

80,000 words / 32 hours = 2,500 words per hour

That's about 42 words per minute. We've just exceeded the average number of words typed per minute (40 wpm.) But they're a professional author and can type faster!

I just took a 1-minute test at, and here are my results:

Test results showing my 91 WPM net speed
See my little crown there? I am a PRO.

I'm a professionally trained typist, a la typing class in high school, and I've been through the most brutal, rigorous real-world typing anyone could: exchanging insults in PVP MMORPGs and online shooters while still racking up kills. I type fast—even faster if I practice on sheer typing speed before taking a test. I've tested as high as 200 words per minute. But...that's typing something I'm copying. When I write, I think first, and then I type. Sometimes I type as I think, resulting in a hot mess that needs a ton of clean-up later. No one can sustain 42 words per minute, every minute of every hour, for a whole weekend.

The next time someone tells you they wrote a full-length novel over the weekend, you may not want to volunteer to be an alpha reader. Unless you enjoy peeling apart wine-soaked cocaine-stained pages and trying to decipher what the phrase "xIPRU# iuoiopue4dFP*(P&#f" means when really it was just a few seconds of skull slapping the keyboard due to sleep deprivation.

What's New?

  • The next section for Absolution Behind the Scenes is now up: My Spouse & Partner in Crime.
  • In case you missed it, I had fun making another fake commercial: Sorry! Not Sorry!
  • I've finished a few more chapters of the second draft of the novel I'm working on. Progress is steady and, as I've said before, I'm so happy with the results.