How much time to write and code is just enough?

Not sure if there’s another topic out there that is very similar, but as I strive for my own write-code-work-family-life balance I was wondering how others manage this.

What time of day do you find is best to work on making your game book?
How often and for how long do you work on your game book?
What will you sacrifice to work on your game book and what will make you sacrifice time to work on your game book?

In general, I am looking for good tips on the balance of it all.

As I kind of like polls, here is that in poll format. Going to make them anonymous as this is just an effort to get a feel for the process and I have no real desire for pen wagging one way or another.

How often do you work on your Game Book

  • Every day, multiple times a day
  • Every day
  • A few times a week
  • Once a week
  • Few times a month
0 voters

How much time do you spend on working on your game book:

  • 8+ hours a day
  • 4 - 8 hours a day
  • 2 - 4 hours a day
  • a couple hours a day
  • less than an hour a day
0 voters

For myself, it varies, but I think I probably average about 2 hours a day on working on my game books. Somedays its a lot more, somedays a lot less. Sadly, I find the early morning is the best time to work on either my writing and coding as the world is the quietest and there are far less disruptions, though I definitely feel the pain later on in the day as a result. As my posting the topic probably indicates, my balance on these things is a bit off, thus my curiosity on what works for you guys and what doesn’t. As I really want to see progress on my game books, I probably put off some things for a while (i.e. does the laundry really need to be done right now? Ah, that stack of dishes isn’t that bad, etc.) but hopefully more major things like family stuff and work have to come first before writing, whether I like it or not.

One problem I have is returning to reality from writing my game books. Maybe its just me, but the process tends to make me feel a bit spacey for a bit. While I sadly haven’t had much time to do so, I find going for walks and such helps reorientate myself when that happens.


How does “a couple hours a day” differ from the other options exactly?


Ha, fair - can’t say I’m great at building polls. I was aiming for 1-2 hours I think. I’ll see if I can change it to that.

Update: Sadly it seems after the first 5 minutes I can not update the poll. Sorry about that. But yes, 1-2 hours for couple was my intent there.

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My preference is 10-5, Monday to Friday. In practice it’s mostly more like 10-3 because of being a parent. When I’m working weekdays, I prefer not to work at the weekends.

When I was working full-time as well as making CoG games, I tended to do about an hour in the evening every other day when I could, sometimes half an hour at lunch, and occasional two-hour sessions in a coffee shop at the weekend. I do similar patterns during school holidays.


I think we should take into consideration that most people consider this a hobby so I doubt that how much time you put into your code really matters. Especially if you’re giving it so much time that you neglect everything else… just take your time, there’s no “enough” in my opinion, even 10 minutes a day works.


Definitely, I should add that I’m working on CoG almost-full-time, and doing an hour every other night was very hard and I got burned out. Best to work within capacity in a steady way.


Depends on momentum for me. Sometimes I write the entire day, fully immersed in the story.

Other times I dont write anything.

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My insomnia usually has me working on my project from 2am - 5am.

What else I do during the day is dependent on that day’s activities and demands.

I prefer to work in five hour blocks when I have the flexibility to do so.

Like Harris, I try to work Mon-Fri and take breaks as needed.

I’ve found that if you listen to yourself, you can find the cycle that works best for you and you’ll be able to tailor your writing to take advantage of breaks and such to help you avoid burn-out.

Editing is harder on me for example, so while a “creative writing day” can include 10 or so hours of writing (broken up by breaks), an editing day requires me to adhere to a more frequent break schedule and usually, 6 hours will be exhausting to me.


For myself if it’s a coding heavy section it takes me a while to orientate myself, so I don’t think I’d get much done in half an hour - the writing heavy sections, on the other hand, that would work for me I think.

Very true . . . myself included. I definetly consider most of my works hobby projects at present. Until I actually get one of these things published, I can’t really say I’m a professional at it, though I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between right now with at least one of my game books slowly approaching being completed enough to submit.

But yes, very good point. I hadn’t done a distinction on this with my polls. I would imagine that professional, published authors that are doing this for a living would log more hours on their game books.

Yes, there are days where I am convinced, I could write and code from all day and deep into the next - though usually these are the days where I don’t have the time and get pulled away. During the pandemic I definitely was able to log more hours on my creative projects, where now it is far more challenging. Anyway, I like that though, working with the writing/coding energy, rather than against it.

Ha, so true on that - as editing is my weakest skill as a writer, I usually feel like I am a cat getting all its hair plucked out during the process while being forced to take a bath - the horror is real!

Thanks for the good advice.

And thanks to those that have replied and voted. I feel like the results are interesting and enlightening thus far.


Decided to close the polls as they seemed conclusive enough.

For those interested, on the question of how often to work on a game book the winner was a few times a week, followed by every day as a relatively close second.

How much time do you spend working on your game book poll had a couple hours a day (1-2 hours) as the clear winner with 2-4 hours a day as the runner up.

Obviously, everyone’s process is different, as is everyone’s circumstances, so once more, none of this is meant as a this is the way to do it but was just to get a sort of general feel . . . for those that like my topic, I’d still be very interested on tips to help create better life balance between writing/coding and all the other things one must do. What helps you find the energy to write? What helps you stay organized? What is okay to cut back on to make progress on a game? What is not?

In any event, thank you very much to all that took time to vote in my polls or reply here. Good writing!