Have you ever wondered while reading any book, how long must it have taken for the author to construct this masterpiece? What all would have gone into this 200-page book that you read today all curled up in your bed? We certainly don’t ponder over the hard work of authors or give them their due credits. But, trust me after reading this piece, you will realize the struggle of writers.
For all the aspiring authors, wishing to write a book but one question keeps bothering them, ‘how long will it take?’ After all, you wouldn’t embark on a journey without knowing how long you’d reach your destination. It’s only normal to want to have a timeline for this trip as well. Therefore, we are here to answer all your burdening questions and solve your misconceptions.
Many authors, when questioned how long it took them to create their debut novels, gave answers varying from four years to a decade. In simple words, quite a long time. However, the truth is if you ask a hundred writers you’ll get a hundred different responses. There is no “perfect” duration of time to spend on a first draft. The only thing to keep in mind is to produce a piece that inspires your audience. So, to answer your question, the length of finishing a book cannot be told directly, it depends on various factors which shall be discussed further in this post.
Now, without further delays, let’s begin.
Factors That Affect The Duration Of Book Writing
Normally, most authors take almost six months to a year to complete a book. Having said that, your duration will precisely depend on the words and genre of your book along with your daily writing routine. Apart from that, it also depends on
- The level of research and planning you do beforehand.
- The number of words you write per session, and how “usable” they are.
- The duration of breaks you take in the middle.
- The amount of editing you intend to do in the last.
You have to keep in mind that every writer is unique in his own way so comparing won’t help. Different authors will have different timelines for different books- for instance, Charles Dickens finished David Copperfield in a year while A Christmas Carol took him only six weeks. This shows how the requirements and demands of every book are distinct so there is no ideal amount of time to write a book that’s going to guarantee the success of your book.
If you’re a fast writer or take less to no breaks at all, it might cost you less than a month. But if you’re involved in a typical novel (50,000 words or more) on a typical timetable (a few hours of writing per week), you’ll probably fall under the 6-to-12-month range.
How long does it take to write a children’s book?
As previously mentioned, every genre and book type has a distinct period of its completion. Writing children’s books relatively takes less time than an actual adult novel. Though you cannot ignore the hard work and effort of writing a children’s book, the fact is, their books are shorter and easier thus less time-consuming to write. Here’s an estimated timeline for writing a children’s book:
- Picture books (500-1,000 words) — 1-2 weeks
- Early reader books (1,000-2,500 words) — up to a month
- Chapter books (10,000-15,000 words) — 1-3 months
- Middle-grade novels (25,000+ words) — 3-6 months
An important thing to remember here is with a kid’s book you’ll more likely spend higher time planning the story than actually composing it. This is particularly true for picture books and early reader books, which demand impactful concepts behind them to attract the audience and hit the market.
While there may only exist 500 words in a picture book, every single word needs to matter- so don’t consider writing childrens’ books a cup of tea just because the duration is comparatively shorter.
How much should you write per day?
Another pressing question arising when it comes to the duration of book writing is: how much should you precisely write every day? While there’s no universal decree to it, the best practice for freshers is to aim for 3-4 writing sessions weekly, at approximately 500 words per session. Why? Based on the declaration of other professional writers, 500 words per session seems to be the perfect blend of substantial and manageable: sufficient to progress without being highly overwhelmed.
In fact, several authors recommend not just 500 words/sessions, but 500 words every single day. However, this demands practice and determination. Gradually, you might reach up to the level or if you practice consistently, you may reach there a lot quicker! Nevertheless, beginners should be light on themselves by starting with 3-4 sessions per week.
Once you’re well-adapted to this schedule, you can take a step further to a higher number of sessions as well as word count. In the meantime, these calculations can be of some assistance to you:
- 50,000-word book — 5-8 months
- 75,000-word book — 8-12 months
- 100,000-word book — 1-1.5 years
- 125,000-word book or more — 1.5+ years
How many pages are 500 words?
In a typical word processor, 500 words= 1 single-spaced page or 2 double-spaced pages. While in a book, it’s almost 1.25- 1.5 pages. In simple words, if you think in terms of the number of pages rather than the number of words then you need to write with the understanding that: 500 words normally equals about a page and a half. So, practically speaking, writing 5-10 book pages per weely shall suffice 500 words. Most writers prefer word-count-based goals since it’s more convenient- otherwise, you’ll have to convert your word processor pages into ‘book pages’ now and then.
Tips To Hasten Your Writing Process
#1 Schedule Out More Writing Time: Dear writers, wasting time is not going to get you anywhere. There is a vast difference between taking short breaks and wasting time, the latter is something you should avoid as much as possible. Ask yourself, ‘how much time do u spend on social media? On Netflix? On Youtube? On anything that isn’t supporting your objectives? Many writers can find extra time when they plan out their schedule and stick by them which shortens the writing timeline.
#2 Develop a Framework: As many professional writers will tell you, work becomes faster when you outline its process which acts as a framework so you don’t either a) write excessive irrelevant content that later has to get cut or edited, or b) find yourself dwelling on what should come next. Regardless of the genre, you’ll write more swiftly when you properly plan out or create a mindmap. It can be a typical chapter-by-chapter summary outline or a character-based plan. Whatever helps you stay focused, do it! A well-drafted outline is crucial to reducing the duration of writing a book.
#3 Set Deadlines and Track Your Progress: Sit with a skilled writer and they’ll tell you how just having an outline is not enough. You require a solid plan of action- that’s where deadlines and progress tracking play their part. You already have an idea that your minimum word count goals should be 500 words per session, but how does that transform into chapter deadlines?
Well, the majority of the chapters are around 2000 to 5000 words long so it should take almost 1-3 weeks per chapter when you begin your work. With this information in mind, determine the length of your chapters and give yourself appropriate deadlines for each one.
And how do you make sure the targets are being followed? Progress tracking! Keep a track of your work so you know what amendments need to be made and where you are lacking.
#4 Find a partner
Apart from such rigid rules, having a writing partner is the perfect thing you can do to improve your productivity. Indeed, those who struggle to stay persistent may find that another person is just the motivation they were looking for. Often when people have someone to report to, they work faster and better. The main thing with this tip is to stay in regular contact with your partner. That way, if one of you falls off the writing wagon, the other one can boost them through a pep talk or some decent guilt-tripping.
Composing a book isn’t an easy job. It requires interest, passion, determination, and persistence to remain steadfast on the writing journey. Dear passionate writers, the ride is going to be intense, handling personal and professional life may leave you wanting to bang your head on the wall. But don’t give up before you’ve even started! Trust me, the results will be worth it!