1. 33percent
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    33percent Member

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    How long did it take you to write your book?

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by 33percent, Jul 6, 2015.

    I've been writing mine for going on almost four years, never imagined it would be this difficult. From time to time it does get discouraging. Just wondering people on here in are almost at the final stretch or finish line. How long did it take you to write your book? and what did you do to keep yourself going, and not quitting. With my first draft counting over 100k+words, and my second draft is 66,454 words. I'm just half way through it. The more I throw myself into the story, the deeper the rabbit hole goes. I don't know what is more difficult my plot, character development, setting or myself. I'm just curious on your journey of writing your book.
     
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  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Four years is a long time for any project, but you may also want to consider how many total hours you've spent on it. Four years working full time would be a hell of a lot more intense than four years of pecking away at it now and then when the urge hits you.

    It's also possible/likely that a lot of what you've been doing over those four years isn't working on your book, exactly, but rather learning how to write, using your book as an exercise. It sounds like this is your first project, so if that's the case, you probably only had a shaky idea what you were doing when you got started. So, cheer up, future projects will probably go faster!
     
  3. 33percent
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    33percent Member

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    I haven't been working full time on it, mainly because of my job sucks up majority of my time. When I get free time usually on the weekends, and having the urge to write I do so. At first the idea was shaky when I first started it, then bloomed into something almost entirely different but on the same concept. The 1st & 2nd draft are almost completely different. Lately just been working on setting, and theme of the story.
     
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  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am now about a book a year writer.

    It took a little over two years to write my first one (which ended up being my 4th book published) learning how to do it. The second book about 16 months (first one published). It took a while to figure out how to write a sequel in a series that stood alone. After that it took about a year and has been that roughly, ever since.

    Writing a novel, of courses includes from plotting/outlining, to writing the first draft and multiple passes/revisions, beta readers and revisions and then working with my publisher's edits and revisions.

    However, my jobs and obligations often interfere with progress, but I make writing a priority. Not the top one but up there, or the novels would never get finished.

    Four years isn't so bad, if you're dedicated to finishing it and learning in the process, 33percent. Hang in there and persevere. The second novel will take less time.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    As soon as you have to juggle writing with other life concerns - job, family, etc - any timetable becomes highly problematic. I attempted three other novels before my current project, which is the first one about which I've felt confident enough to pursue being published, and I'm in the process of querying/pitching now. So, in that sense, it's finished. I researched in my spare time for ten years before I felt I was on solid enough ground to begin planning and writing. But that process of reading and note taking helped my planning process along. Once I started writing, it was about 20 months to finish the first draft. I was fortunate to have a job in which I could work from home - no commuting time - and on which any additional hours I worked I was able to take as "credit hours". This left me lots more time for writing. YMMV.

    Editing, getting feedback from beta readers and having it reviewed by a professional editor took another year and a half.

    Each writer has his own internal clock. Keep at it, and learn as you go.
     
  6. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    My first novel took me about 4-5 months to finish. I used NaNoWriMo (I "won" that month) and that really got a big chunk of my novel out of the way. The rest of the time was spent finishing it, and figuring out how to finish it. It was never edited thoroughly though.

    That's because by the time I finished it I knew the writing was so crap that I'd have to rewrite most of it so now it just kind of stands alone. Plus even I was unsure of the plot...

    I kind of want to reread the entire thing just to see how bad it is, and figure out what the hell I was thinking at the time. Might be a good learning moment for me.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It took me 5 years of nearly constant writing to finish my first draft. (Okay, it's a big book and required a lot of research.) I never lost interest in the project, and highly resented anything (holidays, work, visits from friends, etc) that prevented me from writing every day. I wrote every day (usually early in the morning) except when I was away from my computer on holiday, and loved every minute of it. I produced a first draft that now makes me laugh out loud when I run across parts of it. But damn. It was the most fun I've ever had sitting down.

    I didn't read any how-to books at all, till after I was done and started editing. So I made just about every writerly mistake it's possible to make in that first draft.

    Editing ...well, while I love doing that as well, it's taken a LONG time. Many many interruptions of long duration, and lots of major rethinks. That's actually taken nearly 3 times as long as writing the original draft—but I'm now at the formatting stage prior to publishing on Kindle and print-on-demand, designing cover art, etc. Basically, it's done now.

    I've learned tons, and hope the next project won't take nearly so long. (It helps that the research is more or less in place already.) I wrote several chapters of it last year, but abandoned it temporarily, in order to get the final edit of my first MS finished and formatted. Can't wait to get back to it!
     
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  8. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps ten years from now. I just can't get myself to finish anything.
     
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  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first novel took a total of one year to finish (2,5months for the first draft and the rest was divided between revision, editing, sending it to beta-reader and editor and some more editing after that). I was working at the time so I didn't write full time. The second took about six months to finish the first draft, because I put it away for a while about half way. The third I'm working on right now and it's been a year but again I took a break after writing half of it, and only recently finished it. I guess what you can draw from this is my first drafts usually take about 2-3 months, (the time I spend to actually write it) and then I spend more than twice the time revising and editing.
     
  10. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    From coming up with the initial ideas to getting it out on Amazon, it took me 8 years, though much of the work was done in the last 8 months of that time.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm still working on my first novel - worked on it almost solidly for a good 3.5 to 4 years until I finally got so fed up I took long, long breaks - I went from writing nearly everyday to taking breaks that lasted for several months at a time. I've got 3-4 finished drafts, each at about 80k words, all but the last one has been edited at least once, some definitely more than once, including deleting and adding whole chapters and rewriting etc. My latest draft - and last, whether the book works or not, because if it doesn't work I'm gonna finally call this project quits - sits at around 26k words at the moment and the last time I wrote it was... several months ago.

    My second novel started by accident as a collaboration (see my avatar/sig :p ) and that one we finished in 5 weeks, including edits. Truth be told I can see the flaws and it would've been a much more solid story if we'd spent more time editing, but I must say editing in a collab is ridiculously difficult. My co-author freaked out and wanted to pull the entire book and literally rewrite the core plot simply because she got feedback that 2 readers didn't like her character (we each had one main character - mine was fine, had almost only positive reception. Hers got a mixed response). That only served to confirm that editing with her would be a really bad idea. I've seen her work on her own solo projects - her books inevitably end up taking several years and growing from one book into multiple books, and I wanted to avoid that. I did not want a second "never-ending" project. Considering we'd sent it out to 5-8 beta readers (some of them from this forum) and almost everyone enjoyed the story even when it's not their usual genre, I decided the book can't be that bad, and insisted on keeping it published. But yeah, I suspect my solo projects might be of higher quality, if I ever get round to finishing that first novel I mentioned earlier!
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    8 years and counting for ~60k words. Sigh. But with a lot of down-time, full time work, other artistic pursuits, and various personal 'distractions'.
     
  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first full-length novel, Aliens Don't Bend at the Knees, is the one I'm working on now. It started as a drawing exercise during my first year at art college in 1989, so it was a few frames in a sort-of graphic novel type thing. In 2010, I wrote the first three pages of the first draft and didn't pick it up again until Jan 8th this year (going by the creation date on the file).

    Since then:
    - 16 days to finish the first draft
    - 91 days of trying to figure out if I needed to rewrite the whole thing or just polish what I had (and banging out three drafts of a synopsis)
    - 25 days to write the third draft (I threw the second out during that 91 days)
    - 4 days to make everything in the third draft make sense

    Total: 138 days

    And I've still got to polish it which, at this point, feels like it'll take forever. :(
     
  14. Ryan M Pelton
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    Ryan M Pelton Member

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    Four years is too much time taken to write a book. It usually does not take so much for general writers. Anyways, I had written in less than year.
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think you can say that any time is too much, because we all have different schedules and writing pace. I know writers who has spent a lot more than 4 years to write their novels, three authors I know about needed 10 years to complete theirs. In one case it resulted in a literary award, so how can anyone say it was too much? We all have our standards too, above the time needed, that decide when we're happy enough about what we've written to share our work with the world.
     
  16. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    First draft-3 months. 2nd draft 4 months. 3 draft 6 months. fourth draft 5 months. 5th (current draft) 2 months so far. Considering necessary breaks and also the fact that this is not my career, the total time I have spent thus far on this novel is almost exactly 2 years. I'm hoping to have it "finished" by winter.

    I totally agree with you that the final stretch is difficult.
     
  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    First drafts take about three months working on it nearly every night for two-three hours. But polishing drafts take much longer as by that time I'm sort of sick of the thing.
    I'm hoping my new book will take less time but I don't know, I'm working on three things at the same time. Should be interesting.
     
  18. Michael Thompson
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    Michael Thompson Member

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    I spent about 3 months on my first draft, another 3 on the 2nd. I'm about another 2 months into the 3rd draft.
     
  19. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I replied to this thread before, but...

    1st draft: 3.5 weeks
    2nd: ~5 weeks
    3rd: 2
    4th: ??
    5th: ??
    6th: a month in and only on page 98

    I started the first draft in February 2015 based on a one-chapter start I wrote about ten years ago and that was based on a drawing assignment I did in art college in 1985.
     
  20. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    The first draft took about 5 weeks and was about 105K words.
    Second draft took about 2 weeks.
    Now that school is back in session and I'm back to working three jobs subsequent iterations have taken longer. I just finished my third draft and hope to have the 4th draft ready to be sent to the proof reader by January.
     
  21. Jones
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    Jones My body is ready

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    My first was about 4 years. Riddled with inefficiency. Skyrim stole about 6 months. Birth of my twins took its chunk out. PLus I didn't know what I was doing.

    Second book took 6 months front to back. Landed an agent. People who have read both tell me it's better than the first.

    It gets easier.
     
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  22. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    A polished first draft of the first (and only) novel-length work I've written took me ~20 months or so. Like many here, I was writing way less than full time.

    I have to strenuously object to the idea that there is a certain amount of time it "should" take, though, especially if there's a lot of research involved. Anthony Doerr spent ten years on All the Light We Cannot See, and now it's a Pulitzer prize-winner. If you're having trouble coming to a place where you can call it finished, that's a problem, but as long as you still have forward progress I wouldn't worry about how long it takes.
     
  23. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    I only wrote short stories at first, and then only rarely.
    But then I decided to write my first novel for my College Thesis, so that took me 6 months to finish the first draft (80,000 words). I did the stupid novice writer thing and attempted to get it published without editing, and when that failed (as it was destined to) I didn't write again for five years.
    Then I decided to finally get back on the horse and this novel (98,000 words) took me three months to complete the first draft. I have been editing like a fiend for a month now, and am on my fifth draft. I have gotten feedback from several beta readers and think I might try for an agent soon.
     
  24. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Too long?
    Think I officially started 2 summers ago?
    Jesus... I am lazy.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Four years and I'm not quite done, but it's getting there. I agree, if you write full time that's different than if you write in between earning a living.

    I think what matters to me is that I'm just as interested in my book as I was at the beginning. So I'm not worried how long it's taking. If I had lost interest that would be a different story.

    A pun, I made a pun! :supercheeky:
     
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