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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?

April 17, 2019

 

I see this question fairly often on the forums. It’s especially relevant to new writers.

How long does it take one to write a book?

How long does it take you?

My answer is not all that different from a lot of other people.

“As long as it takes.”

SELF-IMPOSED DEADLINES

Everyone at least has a passing thought about self-imposed if not actual deadlines. Well, everyone except me. Never in my life have I had any kind of deadline. Period. I haven’t imposed it on myself, or even thought about it because of my personal process.

It’s not that I don’t procrastinate once in a while. It’s that I just don’t work that way when it comes to writing. I write when I feel like it, and when I feel like it, it flows.

For some of you, especially if writing is a hobby, a job, or a torture, you need deadlines to keep you motivated. If not for a deadline, whether self-imposed or given to you by outside forces, you might never get anything done.

What might’ve started as a brilliant idea may wallow in the muck and end up forgotten or half evolved, never to see the light of day.

Some people just have inherent laziness and always need the extra push. Their end result may be brilliant, but one has to question why they’re doing it in the first place. Part of that questioning is that I have such a different outlook on the whole thing.

I love the whole creating process, so I do it for pleasure and creativity. Therefore, I don’t need any deadlines. I look forward to it. It’s an escape, an outlet, an artistic way to delve into another world.

Some people watch TV. While I do have a few favorite TV shows, there’s another one playing in my mind that I translate to paper.

No self-imposed deadlines for me!

If it works for you, use it.

EXTERNALLY IMPOSED DEADLINES

If you work for someone, it’s only natural that you’re given deadlines. When creativity’s involved, that can put a real damper on the way things come out. For some, having that imposed deadline from an external source works just the opposite. It fires up the writer and gets them going. As a former technical writer, I worked to a deadline. In that case, it was a pure pleasure for me, and the deadlines were never a factor.

ACTUAL NUMBERS

For the curious, what are some actual numbers?

When I first started out, and up to a few years ago, I could whip out a first draft of a novel in six months. However, given a job change and a lot less spare time, it now takes about two years. A big difference. Outside of that, nothing, creativity-wise, has changed.

Some people, as in that writing contest they have every year, can whip out a novel in a month. While I probably could if I set my mind to it, why would I? There’s no point. I don’t work that way. It’s fun for some people, but not for me. NOBODY is going to dictate how I get my process done. Period.

If I decide to write something quick, it’ll be because I want to do it.

How about you?

Looking at the answers to a recent poll, I saw everything from whatever it takes to years.

As expected, the answers are not exactly what a newbie either wanted or expected to hear. However, there’s a lot more reality to this passion that a newbie is either going to be surprised, disappointed, or elated to find out as they learn the ropes.

What about you?

Happy writing!

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