25 or 6 to 4


I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do math. But The Hub was travelling and The Boy had math homework, including this question:

After some thought much anguish, I was able to help The Boy figure out the right answer mathematically. But I got to wondering about this author who wrote four pages in three hours. How long would it really take her to write 24 pages if we kept ridiculous things like math out of it and focused on more important factors like:

the lure of the internet 

writer’s block

the critic in her head

(Here I must stress these are entirely hypothetical factors…)

So what’s the real answer? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

A small prize will be awarded for the three best answers received by 3 p.m GMT on Friday 17 February.**

 **participant selected as a potential winner must comply with all terms and conditions set forth in the official rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all such requirements. The decision of the judge is final. Prizes have no cash value and cannot be exchanged for other prizes. (Why yes, I am a former lawyer? How did you guess?)
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21 thoughts on “25 or 6 to 4

  1. >24 pages? There are so many variables to consider I don't even know where to begin. Sticking to the items you've listed I can offer this:An eternity.What a buzzkill I am!Okay, how about this.24 pages written in a rage about someone who's left a mark on the writer's psyche will be done in 240 minutes. That's ten minutes per page, double spaced.Editing will take forever.

  2. >Does that include the three weeks 'thinking time' he took to build up to writing? I think not! Actually, I can write 24 pages in one go, but the fonts going to be big, the spacing huge, and there will little attention to grammar, syntax, spelling or punctuation. What a silly question. This is why my children don't go to school, I just give them 24 pages, a set of coloured pens and let them get on with it…

  3. >Let's see…4 pages in 3 hours. At hour 15, there are 20 pages of which you go back and subtract pages 10-15 for their awfulness and as you've been at it 15 hours you pour a glass of wine.Hours 15-17 you alternate between bouncing around on the internet and weeping on your desk, for your inability to write anything you yourself would like to read. Hours 17-20, you finish the dregs of the wine, and in a stroke of brilliance see the problem was on page 2. You rewrite 2-10 in a manic phase of joy squared. Fall asleep head on the keyboard. Hour 24 you spend deleting the chain of g's and h your forehead left trailing on pages 11-15, and see your brilliance evaporate as you sober up. Divide by coffee.I'm no mathmetician, but my guess is a week?

  4. >Twelve hours before external deadline, leaving adequate time for final edits and obsessive, nitpicking panic.If no such deadline exists, all bets are off, though one page per day-job business meeting is a good rule of thumb, plus another for every forty-five minutes our home WiFi is down, the kids are occupied/asleep, the husband isn't interested in other things, and there's nothing on the tube.

  5. >I never got math either. When I was a kid and had to take it in school, my attitude was always "meh – my answer's close enough, no?"Answer to your question? A long time.(The word "long" being a subjective term, of course.)

  6. >It still takes 18 hours but here’s the breakdown:Hour 1: think, think, think, produce 1 ½ paragraphs.Hour 2: obsessively reread paragraph(s).Hour 3: over at Betsy’s.Hour 4: yeah, right. What’s in the fridge?Hour 5: reach 1 page mark.Hour 6: nothingHour 7: rewrite page 1.Hour 8: nothingHour 9: nothing again. Rewrite page 1 again. Blue eyes. No, sapphire eyes. No wait… azure. Yeah, azure.Hour 10: Voila!Hour 11: Guess not.Hour 12 and 13: That closet really cannot wait another second to be organized.Hour 13: A page! Hour 14: Sweating. Biting nails. It’s really nice outside and everyone needs fresh air.Hour 15: Positive self talk – Quit f-ing around. I mean it!Hour 16, 17 and 18: 22 pages vomit themselves onto the screen. Done!

  7. >um, what if it's 24 pages of blog comments on my favorite blogs? (i'm pointing at you and you and you and you….) let's see, five minutes per blog, a page each worth of comments on each blog, i can name that tune in TWO HOURS!

  8. >A writer might be able to produce not 4 but *14* pages in three hours without breaking a sweat. But then she might not produce any more pages for the next 14 years thanks to some crippling insecurity or writing-related terror.

  9. >There's such a range of creative answers here!I've been working on a children's picture book idea (28 pages; four lines each page) and sometimes it just flows, and other times I can't write a decent line in an hour! I'm not very prolific, really, because if I get frustrated I decide that reading is more pleasurable anyway.Thanks for the advice about the deer. Sadly, we can't fence properly (there will still be some gaps), but I'm going to try the soap/sound combo.

  10. >OK 45 minutes a page, 24 pages- 18 hours-if writing were like long distance running, instead of like wandering distracted through the deserts and cityscapes and countries of memory and imagination, searching for the word, the idea, the phrase while the clock ticks away.If the writer gets a page in 45 minutes she's brilliant, or writing the first thing that comes into her head-which maybe is the way. Anon2

  11. >I'm kinda with Deb on this one – except for her hours 16,17 and 18, which in my case are pretty much the same as the ones that went before, though you can add eating fresh pineapple or melon chunks, dried mango and whatever else is available during the fallow period. It's a trial.

  12. Pingback: B + C = D | writeitdown-ith

  13. Pingback: When Punctuation Hurts | writeitdown-ith

  14. Pingback: A Girl After My Own Heart | writeitdown-ith

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