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How long do you typically spend on writing a book?

  1. Less than a year

    9 vote(s)
    34.6%
  2. 1-3 years

    13 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. 3-5 years

    2 vote(s)
    7.7%
  4. 5-7 years

    1 vote(s)
    3.8%
  5. 7 years +

    1 vote(s)
    3.8%
  1. Penny1234

    Penny1234 Member

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    Novel How long do you spend on your books?

    Discussion in 'Genre Discussions' started by Penny1234, Jan 6, 2019.

    I guess this is just out of interest, but I once got talking to someone at an interview of all places and we talked about writing. I told her I'd been working on my book for about two years and had almost finished. She told me she thought that was 'super' fast.
    I know alot of this will be down to the individual and how often people write but,
    how long do you typically spend on a book?
     
  2. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

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    I've been working on this one since 2013.
     
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  3. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    100,000 words 3-4 months. Another one to polish and proofread (endlessly.) Audio book version another 2. So, 7 or eight depending. Right now I'm stalled in the middle of two because I spend so much time on this board.
     
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  4. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I dunno, about a year, but I'm usually working on a few different projects at a time. So I could have a stretch where I don't finish anything for a year or two, then finish off four or five things within a month of each other.
     
  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    It generally takes about 1 hr per thousand words for me to write a first draft, and then maybe another 10-20 hours tidying it up. So, about 100 hours for an 80K word book?

    I've never been able to be productive for more than 4 or 5 hours a day, maximum, and I'm more comfortable, even when I'm on vacation from the day job, with only 2-3 hours a day of writing. So, if I have free time and can be just a writer, that's about a book every 50 days? But when I'm working full time at my day job, that goes WAY down.
     
  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I wish I could keep that pace. You're a machine (and I mean that as a compliment). 1000 words per hour is pretty much my peak, usually I average out to 300-500 an hour if I'm working business hours.
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If you're writing 7 or 8 hour days, you mean? (Is that what you mean by working business hours?). Because I think there's definitely a law of diminishing returns at work for my writing - if I write too many hours in a day, my hourly productivity goes way down.

    (And I've been on a "no writing" bender for the last few months, barely writing at all, so my hourly rate is still about the same, but I really, really haven't been putting the hours in!)
     
  8. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Sorry, I just meant actually regularly setting aside a few uninterrupted hours our of my day to devote to writing instead of my usual system where I spend 20 minutes doing some writing, then go make some tea, check the news, play on my phone, go back to my desk, riffle through my pre-writing, put another couple of words down, get distracted by my dog, take him for a walk, put some wood in the fire, have a bath, make an effort to do some writing, then end up faffing about on some forum or other for a while.
     
  9. Hammer

    Hammer Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Blimey. I may have banged out a thousand in an hour in the past, but would no way aspire that as any kind of average
     
  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Tippity tappity tap tap tap!
     
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  11. Hammer

    Hammer Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Many moons ago I managed a Pitman training centre and had to take all the courses including touch-typing.

    My fingers work that fast. My brain is the weak link (c:
     
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  12. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Contributor

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    I want to establish the cadence of one book per twelve months, as recommended by Brandon Sanderson for anyone who wants to be a novelist. My book is 40,000 words in and two months old in terms of actual writing. Concepts go back a couple years but I’d like to do that work upfront in future and just be developing future ideas as I write current ones.
     
  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I started my WIP in mid 2017. I think. The first draft (polished at the scene level, but needing work at the structure and plot level) is getting closer to done, but I’ll be very surprised if it’s done before, oh, May 1.

    And then we’ll see how much work it takes to get to the second draft.

    And the third.

    And so on.
     
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  14. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    When I first started writing, it took me longer, but I am now below a year. I think it also depends on the length of the work, and the type of work. My LitRPG novels take less time than my SF novels, both due to length and research required.
     
  15. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    Anywhere from two weeks to two decades.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I think my rate is quite similar to BayView's in terms of hours - about 100 for an 80k novel - but I don't have her consistency. Mine is more like 6-10 hours, concentrated over weekends, for about 12 weeks. But those 12 weeks of actual writing can be split over six months instead of three. I'm not sure I'm making sense.
     
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  17. Just a cookiemunster

    Just a cookiemunster Active Member

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    OMG I'm so jealous. How is this possible? It took me a year to get to that many words (Although my lifestyle is pretty busy) And I was so proud!!
    :cry:
     
  18. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    How many HOURS, though? Like, it could conceivably take me a year, too, if I spaced out the 100 hours over a long time!
     
  19. Just a cookiemunster

    Just a cookiemunster Active Member

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    I never thought about it in terms of hours. I know for sure I do not put many hours in at a time because I just don't have the time. But now that you mentioned it I am going to start timing myself and pay attention to the hours. I am curious.
    ;)
     
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  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    my first book took the best part of two years to first draft. My eighth took 9 days that was fast (and shortish at 50 odd k) on average its about a month to first draft these days. it really varies although you do tend to speed up with experience particularly if you are writing in a series.

    From first draft to finished product takes me about 3-6 months depending on how busy my editor and proof reader are, although I tend to work on other things while i'm waiting so its not 3-6 months of constant effort
     
  21. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    I aim for 500 words per day, so 6 months for the first draft is my average. Add in time for editing and getting feedback, and it's probably more like 9 months for a 100K book.
     
  22. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Sounds accurate.
     
  23. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

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    I can't say I've written a book yet, but I've spent over two years just planning my current project. I've started the first draft in late November of 2018, and I'm around halfway done.
     
  24. tapioka

    tapioka Member

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    It's not so easy to define what constitutes 'work', is it? On some days I think about a novel I'm writing all day. That's not 'work' per definition, I guess, but it's still active work on the book. If I sit in front of an empty page and think about a certain problem for an hour and just can't get a single word on the paper, it sure still feels like work during that time...
     
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  25. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I think it counts. One of the reasons I write fairly quickly (when I write) is I've often 'written' a scene in my head before I'm at the keyboard. I often 'write' in the bath, in the car, while eating lunch.
     
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