How Long To Write A Book

Okay, apart from NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) which takes place through November each year, timed, I conjecture, to fill the time between Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving, how long would we take to write a novel?


I like to be clear about this so that I can minimise self-imposed stress.  Having a clear strategy keeps my sense of fun alive and well.  If I’m not having any fun, why am I writing?  Good strategies have to include fun time.  So long as we have a strategy, we can work with it, improve it and vary it with the seasons. Having no strategy simply adds to hassle, and no-one wants more of that, do they?

As a bench mark, I like to say that it takes me a year to write a book.  By which I mean, a good, solid, complete outline which probably needs a bit of editing and fine tuning, but with all the ideas and plot lines in place.  That also gives me (and other people) an easy ready reckoner, and time to deal with and enjoy the rest of my life without undue stress, and with most weekends off.  Yes, I do try to take weekends off because that keeps the rest of my life in perspective and I like to see my daughter sometimes, not just bark at her from my office chair.

So, a year, then.  That is a time-frame that works for me, at the moment.  It might change, but with so much other stuff butting in all the time, I find it is very, very important to give myself plenty of time, or, at the very least, the illusion of it.  (I can write under time pressure, but not for ever.)  Time pressure does tend to banish colour, whimsy and the humour that I do love to insinuate into my characters’ lives.

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