Most people who don't write themselves or who don't know any full-time writers imagine that when writers spend five or six (or eight or ten) hours in their attics or garages or studies every day they spend that time writing.  Here's news.  They don't.  They spend most of that time thinking.  Writing is day-dreaming more than it is tapping the keys.

On this subject, the subject of a writer's actual day-to-day progress, Bartlett's offers an anecdote about Gustave Flaubert dating to the time he was writing MADAME BOVARY:

"Some friends came to visit him on a Friday and invited him to a weekend outing. Flaubert
declined, saying he had far too much work to do. When his friends
returned on Sunday night, they asked how his work had gone. Exceedingly well, they were told.  But they noticed that he was at exactly the same place he had been
before they left--in the middle of a sentence marked by a comma. How was
that possible? Flaubert noted complacently that, on Saturday, he had
changed the comma to a semicolon, and on Sunday he had changed it back,
thus making wonderful progress."

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As a writer I can attest to what you say. Though some web content publishers think you ought to be able to write a 1000 word article in one hour, they don't want to pay for the time involved in research and thinking about what you're going to write can take lots more time.
Yes, Web content is too often seen in the business as ephemeral--moreso even than newspaper writing--and is composed with a certain breathless and superficial attention and affect that subvert its value as information, much less as writing.
There are, of course, several prominent exceptions, the prolific genius, Isaac Asimov, perhaps foremost among them.

He said: “I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.”
The reason a book takes a year or more to write is because authors typically dedicate to only write a page every day (or two pages a day, or a page every other day--- in other words, not a whole lot and not very fast!)

I spend most of my time thinking, not writing, or writing a lot of bullcrap and extracting art from it over time.
Ava, I don't think it's typically a matter of a writer's "dedicating" herself to a certain daily output and then being satisfied with that. In the time they have to give to the job, most writers would love to be able to write four or five or more pages each day--and some certainly do. Instead, during the drafting stages in particular, it's usually a matter of the inherent complexity of the invention. Not only are novels often long (80,000 words and up), but they are intricate and open to all kinds of narrative possibilities, and the language and imagination a writer employs in fashioning the fiction are refined tools. Compared to other forms of writing, novels are simply difficult things to draw out of the mind and to put effectively into words.

And once a novel is fully drafted, of course, the real work begins! Rewriting!
I may be mistaken, but i think it was Philip Roth (or possibly Saul Bellow) who said, when asked how long it took him to write a book replied along the lines of "about six months to write it, having thought about it for twenty years"
I agree - I spend far more time thinking about what to write, in what point of view, and how much to reveal, than I spend in actually writing. Once I decide on a course of action, the writing just flows.

I compare writing to a good soup.

It sort of takes a bit here and there, I may find the meat of the story and sit on it for a month, and the veggies and spices somewhere else. I may not even cook it until a week before I begin writing it. Other times, I can find the ingredients and heat to make one in less than an hour. I have churned out some before that were conceived barely a few minutes before I started writing them, but those sorts of stories are rare, few, and far between.


but the days in which I handwrite more than 5 pages or so are few and far between. I ran the gauntlet of Black Friday shopping at Wal*mart and spent the entire time writing--I got about 10 pages in between the hours of 11pm and 5am, but only because there was nothing else to do and I was in a creative mood. On a normal day I may get no writing done. Other days I may do 3-5 pages of a half-baked story. Sometimes I may skip handwriting and simply type it up because I have a full story and it'll be faster than handwriting it all out. It just depends--but creativity definitely waxes and wanes. I am, however, almost always writing some sort of section of a story or idea or figment of a thought into a small notebook I keep in the outermost pocket of my purse.

My muse, he is a fickle hobo addicted to caffeine and dried meat.


I will say that often times those stories I pound out in a matter of hours, I save in my google docs folder for a month or two until I'm no longer super-attached to how it looks so I can edit it without being sentimental. Well I do that with most stories I've "finished" so I can dig them up later, edit them somewhat, and post them online. I'm still not published anywhere : P


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