I’m often asked e question; how long does it take to write a book? As a part time author, I’m not allowed the luxury of writing every day, and I have a busy life away from my keyboard so it’s a fair question.
For most authors, writing a book can take years or just a few hours, depending on the size of it, the complexity of the subject, and the intentions of the author. But here’s a bit of an insight into how I write with some tips that might help other authors.
1) I just DUMP the story out of my head as quickly and smoothly as possible, knowing that I’ll have to do a lot of refining and rewriting after that first draft.
2) Once I’ve got that first draft more or less completed, then I put it away for a few weeks, before bringing it out and reviewing the story with fresh eyes. Then I’m ready to do any re-writing required.
3) Rewrites are harder because I’ve already got my own headspace around the story and know what’s going to happen, so my curiousity about the story is appeased. The rewrite can feel like a big job, so I set time aside to seriously focus on the job – it may take a month, but I try to limit myself to that kind of time frame.
4) When it’s ready to share I’ll send it to an editor, and also ask a few friends to take a look so that I get some friendly feedback on the story.
5) The Editors recommendations (and then a formal paid for review) are considered and updates done again, then a proofing to ensure everything is as it should be in terms of errors identified and fixed up.
6) Then a final going over by me so that I can be sure I’ve written everything the way I want it, and all errors are indeed caught and remedied. By this time, providing I’ve not just procrastinated over any of these steps, the project will take an average of six months, but then the publishing process has to be worked through.
If I write an average of 5,000 words a week (that is less than 1000 a day, but I usually do that in one or two sittings at a time rather than being one of those wonderful disciplined authors who gets up at 4am for two hours writing a day) then I can do the bulk of the writing for the first draft in about 3 months.
The acutal publishing process can take anything from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on a variety of things. I think that one book a year completed is pretty good to aim for – but mine are usually only about 250-300 pages long. And I usually have a good start on the next one by the time I’m working on the first one’s completion. My aim is to write and publish two books every 18 months.