A question commonly asked is how long it takes to write a book and the short answer is – however long it needs! But it also depends on who has the stop-watch, and if brewing and editing time is calculated. There is drafting time and there is editing time. If you ask ten different writers how long it takes to write a book, you’ll likely receive ten different answers. Every writer works at a different pace, but there are some easy ways to estimate how much time it will take you to finish your book. The short answer to the question is (cue drum roll): It takes at least three to six months to complete a first draft.
Can you tell a good story in 40,000 words? Of course you can. But when I think of some of the best books I’ve ever read, they are all somewhere around 100,000 words and up. Clearly, there are no hard and fast rules here, but the point I wish to make is that character development is at least equal in importance to the story itself. If you write 2,500 words a day, it is reasonable to expect your first draft, a rough copy, would be complete in about 28 days.
It can take me anywhere from six months to two years to write a book. When I am writing that first draft I think of nothing else. I live in the book, eat and dream the book. Then once that is complete I let it rest, stew a little, simmer. For me it is not the first draft that takes the time – it is the second, third, fourth… and twentieth draft. Adding the texture, colouring the flowers and killing my characters. Revising and revising and revising and revising and revising takes time, lots of time.
Time – start to finish depends on various factors.
- the amount of research needed,
- time devoted daily,
- speed at which you write,
- taking time off from writing and
- careful planning.
Take your time, enjoy the journey and don’t set your sights too high.
Toss out the stop-watch – time does not matter – writing a good book does.
Unleash the novel inside you
with compelling characters,
and fine-tuned prose.
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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.”
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