How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?
“How long does it take to write a book?” the girl asked, hopefully.
The older man smiled, winking kindly at the naivety of the question before answering slowly, “It depends”. Like a challenge to debate, he offered her his usual response, one she expected, though she wished that, just this once, instead of his usual hedged-about-caution, he had given a straight answer.….
But it does depend….
….On our motivation, on our personal circumstances, our need to earn a living, keep a household going, be neighbourly… The time taken to complete the writing of a book is directly connected to the time we are prepared to invest in the task. On having the time to begin, continue, and finish; then edit, re-write and polish.
Here are some things to avoid if you want to have a clean, finished draft – which you can then enjoy editing – in under a year.
- Delete the games installed on your PC’s hard-drive
- Prioritise either mornings or afternoons
- Write at least something every day. One or two words, a difficult sentence, a very apposite phrase
- Believe you can do it, and the actions will follow to make it happen
- Once in a while, don’t answer the door / the phone / your daughter
- Once in a while, let someone else make supper
It can take between one year and ten years to write a novel which is good enough that you
- wouldn’t mind a total stranger reading it and
- commenting honestly on it.
and that is a good test as to whether the work is finished and ready to put out there.