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Thread: How long does it take you?

  1. #21
    This is a good question that I was going to ask, myself. But doing an advanced search brought me here to your thread. Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it seems to be taking forever and then time seems to be just flying past us. At least for me, writing puts me into a sort of space where time doesn't exist. But later, looking back, there can be a record. My first book started back around 1988. All I had was a story and some paper to write on. I was living in a monastery-like setting. I had no money. No home. Not even a typewriter. So this is how I began. Eventually I was hired to run a kitchen for homeless veterans in Philadelphia and had a little money to by a Panasonic word processor. I knew nothing about types of files and just trusted the machine and the little square disc to keep everything stored. I don't remember the exact details but eventually that broke; the disc apparently had some files that only Panasonic could read; and by the time I moved to Texas, got married, obtained my first computer, bought a scanner that could read the only typed copy of my book and finally save it all in a proper format - well, 7 or more years went by. But my Philadelphia experience ended up to be a blessing because I found myself with enough free time after work and on my days off to finish the last 3 chapters (six in all) that were most difficult. Remember, I was feeding the homeless and actually I was living around the corner to this shelter right in the ghetto. The apartment I was renting didn't have one stick of furniture in it. No refrigerator. Only a third-story view and pretty decent hardwood floors. I did have plenty of cardboard boxes from the kitchen, which I eventually lined up in two neat rows to put all my notes on; by bed rolled up for my chair; another box in front of me for my desk and Panasonic. As far as the ghetto; not exactly a place to be walking around and after work I'd zip right on home and lock the door, sit down and suddenly like magic it would be nearly midnight. I'm sure any writer will tell you the same thing about this special "time zone" that writing can put you in. To sum it all up quickly, then I had to learn how to work a computer, learn how to become a Front Page webmaster to control and publish my book myself, and of course, all the time re-reading it for errors. I even paid two proof readers to go over it. Then my father read it. He found a misspelled word. After obtaining my own URL and turning to my wife one day, I said it was time to publish it on the World Wide Web. She then mentioned that Jan 1, 2000 was just a few days off and why not publish it at the crack of midnight and at least I could lay claim to have published the first book of the 21st Century. And this is exactly what I did with great care to hit the enter key at precisely the right second on the right time zone. By the way, the book mentioned in my signature is what I wrote next. I wanted that to be much less tedious and take way less time. Well, you can imagine how that worked out. But because I'm not a very good writer, I always figured that most people don't even take a year to write their entire book.
    "Actually, not to keep the secret of a King is perilous and a terrible risk, but to be silent about the works of God is a great loss for the soul." (Saint Sophronius)

    My books are free. Please read the first chapter (who knows, maybe more). Abandoned is a religious-historical thriller, recently published over on Hidden Content

  2. #22
    How long does it take to write a book? I'll give what I feel is the universal answer: It depends.

    It depends on what you measure. Do you only look at the time spent deliberately writing, either on a keyboard or in a notebook, or do you include the time spent away from it doing unnecessary trivial stuff such as working at your job, sleeping, eating, and socializing?
    What sort of writer are you? (Plotter or pantster - one may take longer than the other.)
    Which processes to you measure? Do you include working on the plot, and character development, or do you only count the time writing out the story?
    Do you include time in edits? Beta reads? The time your work spends with a professional editor?
    What about cover design, do you include that?

    My name is Indianroads, and I'm a plotter. My process (in broad strokes) is:
    * Write out the idea, and form it into a rough plot.
    * Develop the world of the story. (History, science/technology, social structures, current affairs)
    * Character profiles.
    * Refine and enlarge the rough plot into a map of what will happen, when, and to who.
    * Take a deep breath and write the first draft.
    * Usually about 8 editing passes.
    * Send it to my editor - this is usually concurrent with sending sketches/ideas to my cover designer.
    * Weigh the feedback from my editor, decide how much of it to use - and make the changes.
    * Final editing pass.

    I self publish, so from there it's a fairly straightforward process of formatting the book, and uploading everything.

    Overall, the entire process takes me between six and nine months. I'm retired though - if I were still working it would take MUCH longer.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueblade View Post
    I'm new to all this writing goodness, and at my current pace, the novel I want to produce will take years. I know I've got to step it up, but that's not the reason for this post.

    How long does it take you to complete a novel, from idea in your head to final draft? I'm sure the answers will vary. It would be helpful to tell whether you're writing professionally or for your personal enjoyment. If you could break the time down into the various phases of writing, that would be even more helpful.

    While you're plugging away at a novel, do you do any writing besides? Short stories, other novels, etc.?

    I want to get an idea of how others write, and what to expect out of myself. Thanks for your answers!
    I write a lot of non-fiction, and I find I can write that much faster. I wrote my first book in about three months. I wrote one chapter per week (10 chapters total) + editing and revising, so it was published after three months.

    I make sure that I do other more fun writing in between, I like to keep my self entertained and rewarded by letting myself write fun blogs and other articles while cranking out a nonfiction book.

  4. #24
    I complete a book about every two months, more or less. Last year, I completed 6 books and could have done more, but several of them were quite long. It isn't about how long it takes, it's about finishing. If you have no deadlines, then you just have to worry about getting it done. Once you have a deadline, that's when the fun begins and you have to get it done on time.

  5. #25
    It can take me at least a couple years, although I want to change that. For my current, WIP, I started it 4 years ago and it's still not done. While there have been authors who have worked on their projects for 10+ years, my goal is to try working on two novels at once, but focusing on one story draft at a time.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    I complete a book about every two months, more or less. Last year, I completed 6 books and could have done more, but several of them were quite long. It isn't about how long it takes, it's about finishing. If you have no deadlines, then you just have to worry about getting it done. Once you have a deadline, that's when the fun begins and you have to get it done on time.
    Dang!! I'm impressed. Are these full novels, or novelettes? Either way... wow!

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueblade View Post
    How long does it take you to complete a novel, from idea in your head to final draft?
    The only novel I ever started to write was begun in 1998 near the end of my tenure in high school. I plugged away at it for a few years,
    pushing past an idea sheet to rough draft, and had written fifty pages (on lined paper in a binder) until the idea disappeared from my
    mind.

    Just last year (21 years later), the idea reappeared, and I took said incomplete novel and reworked it into a novella in one of my
    short story series, using most of the original ideas, while swapping out some of the characters.

    I had no way of knowing it would take that long when I started it, and perhaps that is why I always went back and looked at that
    binder every couple of years or so. It was quite a ride, for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueblade View Post
    While you're plugging away at a novel, do you do any writing besides? Short stories, other novels, etc.?
    Mainly short stories and novellas, either one-offs, or entries in several different series/universes that I have created.

    A short story usually takes me a week or two, and a novella anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, depending
    on how much of it has already been created and mapped out in my mind.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

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  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    Dang!! I'm impressed. Are these full novels, or novelettes? Either way... wow!
    Full novels, averaging 100k. Just did 8600 words today. Should be finished with my latest in the next day or two.

    I'm not really that fast either. There are plenty of people who put out a 100k novel a month.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Full novels, averaging 100k. Just did 8600 words today. Should be finished with my latest in the next day or two.

    I'm not really that fast either. There are plenty of people who put out a 100k novel a month.
    Again, I’m impressed. I’m happy with 1500 words a day.

  10. #30
    I just wrapped on a novel that I began in 2017.

    In fairness, I wasn't writing on it non-stop since then. I wrote a (bad) first draft that year and idiotically decided to send it out. In the meantime I completed a draft of another novel in 2018 which I ended up not liking much. Frustrated, I decided to go back to basics. I spent all of 2019 writing short stories, published eight in anthologies and magazines, upped my reading and generally decided to stop fucking around.

    In late 2019 I discovered the 2017 novel had received some surprisingly good feedback from online betas, and also my wife, who read it out of obligation. At her behest, I decided to reengage with it. I rewrote the thing between September and November 2019, stripping away a ton of baggage and generally honing a very long novel into a very short one of 70,000 some words. I then took a week off and wrote flash fiction, then began the third and final draft in mid-December 2019, where I effectively combined the heavy-cream immersion of the first draft and the almond-milk storyboard that was the second draft into a third draft that I just completed the other day at 92,000 words (having taken a hiatus from short stories other than as a stress-reliever). Am now in editing hell.

    I'm not advocating my process here, it's been a friggin' nightmare at times, but I can finally say I have a novel I am cautiously optimistic about. Which is nice, being that this is my sixth 'completed book'. I've come to realize we writers are our worst critics. So 'how long does it take you' is probably more about how much you're prone to hobble yourself with self-doubt than about how much you *can* write in a given period of time. When I'm comfortable, I can easily get down 20,000 words a week, but I have to like and believe in what I'm writing, which is...sometimes difficult.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

    “Remember this: Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him. ”

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