[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
How long does it take most people to write a novel? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
Shimmitar
Private E-2
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:41 pm

How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby Shimmitar » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:19 pm

Like the title says. How long does it take you to write a novel? I'm writing one now and i'm only on the tenth chapter. I think i started it somewhere around February, maybe January. I feel like i could've been done by now if it wasn't for the lack of motivation that i keep getting. Like some days i feel like writing for hours and then others not so much.

User avatar
cynicalwanderer
Sergeant Major of the Army
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 8:44 am
Location: London, UK

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby cynicalwanderer » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:14 pm

As long as a piece of string, I guess, to quote an old saying. After a while, you'll get a feeling for what your average daily word count is, and you can extrapolate from there. But that's only the first draft and doesn't account for revision.

Personally, I'm a very, very slow writer. I've got other projects on the go that aren't writing-related that keep me busy, and when I do finally find the time to pick up my novel, I tend to waste more time polishing than adding much new material. My quickest one took three years and the longest took ten. I could probably contain myself to a year if I was writing full time, but I won't know until I'm retired and can find out one day. :D

Anyway, don't worry too much about how long it takes, I say. Concentrate instead on finding the process that works best to motivate you to keep writing regularly and well.
"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

User avatar
shadowwalker
Captain
 
Posts: 1475
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:10 am

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby shadowwalker » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:42 pm

As above, it takes as long as it takes. But I get the feeling the real problem for you is motivation, and the only way to get past that is forget motivation and put butt in chair, whether you "feel" like writing or not.

I tell new writers the first habit they should develop is writing every day, whether it's for ten minutes or two hours - just write. When it actually gets to be a habit, you won't need motivation to write; you'll just know you will do it TODAY. And after a couple of years, you'll find that you can allow yourself an occasional "vacation" and still be able to get right back into the habit of writing. But that's what you have to do - make writing a habit. It's the only way you'll finish, and you can't do anything with your writing if you don't finish.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

User avatar
Brien Sz
Sergeant Major
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:10 am

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby Brien Sz » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:52 am

I have written five as of this moment. Three I like, one is eh and the other one is so bad it, I look at it as an exercise in discipline. The first book I ever wrote took years, but when I finally sat down in earnest to complete it, it took about six months. For the others, I set goals for them and each took roughly three -four months. I am currently cleaning up a couple things, two novel drafts and a collection of short stories and will begin a new novel just after the 4th of July. My goal for a first draft is Labor Day weekend. That means I will have to produce around 10,000+ words a week to meet my goal.

User avatar
u.v.ray
Private E-2
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:54 am
Location: England.

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby u.v.ray » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:16 pm

Out from Murder Slim Press:
We Are Glass - Short Stories.
Spiral Out - novella
The Migrant - novella
Black Cradle - novel

CheshireUK
Private E-1
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 1:52 am

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby CheshireUK » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:58 pm

I am new to novel writing but so far it has taken me three months to do three chapters and at this rate it will probably take me about two years! Although I do my first editing after each chapter. Saying that I have been writing quite a few short stories in between. ;)

User avatar
DrG2
Colonel
 
Posts: 2723
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:13 pm

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby DrG2 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:27 pm

For a first draft, 500-1000 words per hour. If I actively write 10 hrs a week, that's 5000-10000 per week, or 8-18 weeks for a normal-sized novel. If I actively write 40 hrs a week (something I'm not capable of sustaining), I could do a first draft in 2-4 weeks. My first novels were ~ 200K words, and I think I wrote the first draft of the first in about 3 months. I have not been able to sustain the long hours of working since those first two novels (I've completed four now).

Problem is putting in the hours religiously.

Revision to submission takes as long or longer than writing the first draft, and I'm usually doing something else at the same time (writing/submitting short stories) and waiting for comments from readers.

User avatar
cynicalwanderer
Sergeant Major of the Army
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 8:44 am
Location: London, UK

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby cynicalwanderer » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:12 am

"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

Shimmitar
Private E-2
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:41 pm

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby Shimmitar » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:52 am


James A. Ritchie
Lieutenant General
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:31 am

Re: How long does it take most people to write a novel?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:37 pm

I wrote my first novel, from first word to submission shape, in twenty-one days. That's a long, long way from a record. Many famous novels were written in two weeks or less. Thousands were written in a month, or less. The shortest time I can think of for a 100,000 word novel is four days, though Max Brand wrote at this speed on a routine basis.

Now it take me three or four months to write a novel, but I write only five hours per day, five days per week, and the great majority of my writing is something other than novels.

How long it takes to write a novel is determined by how many hours per day you write, how many days per week, months, year you write, and how many words per hour you write when you sit down and start typing.

There are exceptions to everything, but my experience is that when one writer says he wrote the first draft of his novel in two months, and another says he wrote the first draft of his novel in two years, both writers probably spend pretty close to the same number of hours actually sitting and writing.

Ten words per minute is very slow writing. Even so, at ten words per minute, two hours per day, five days per week, which is half the time anyone who really want to be a success should be writing, it still takes only seventeen weeks to write a novel. Cut this down to five words per minute, and you have thirty-four weeks.

Very few new writers spend much time actually writing. This is what separates most of them from the successful writers. You have to have talent, but talent is worthless unless you sit down and use it.

"Planning to write is not writing. Outlining…researching…talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing." E.L. Doctorow.

"You must write every single day of your life…You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads….may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." Ray Bradbury. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W-r7ABrMYU

Next

Return to Conversation question

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests