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How Long Does It Realistically Take To Write A Book?

Updated on April 28, 2014

The Question New Writers Love to Ask

It’s really a trick question, isn’t it?

Like which came first, the chicken or the egg, there really is no suitable answer.

Harper Lee, the brilliant author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” took, from start to finish, four years to write one of the greatest works in literature.

On the other hand, John Dunning wrote “Deadline” in just six weeks.

And I happen to know an author who wrote an ebook in one month.

In other words, there is no suitable answer for the question. Still, we really should attempt to give you an idea of the time involved, so let’s get crackin’.

The path takes as long as it takes
The path takes as long as it takes | Source

A Purely Mathematical Approach

Those of you who enjoy numbers, and who tend to see things in black and white rather than a rainbow of colors, will appreciate this way of estimating the time necessary to write a book.

If you plan on writing a book of 100,000 words, and you write 500 words per day, then do the math….you can finish your book in 200 days, or about seven months, if you work on it diligently seven days a week.

How many of you can do that?

Maybe you are a wordsmith of the highest caliber and you can write 1,000 quality words per day. Well, then, rejoice, because that book of yours should be finished in 100 days, or roughly the amount of time a President is judged by his efficiency in office.

How many of you can do that?

Of course, maybe you are writing a book for five-year olds, in which case you should be able to knock one out every week, right?

Wrong!

"Resurrecting Tobias" is in its final stages.
"Resurrecting Tobias" is in its final stages. | Source

So Many Factors to Consider

I have a friend who is writing a historical novel based on World War Two. Practically every page that she writes requires research to verify historical facts, and she estimates it will take her two years to write the first draft.

James Michener, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Tales of the South Pacific” and “Hawaii,” often wrote detailed historical novels of 1,000 pages or more, and would write twelve to fifteen hours per day.

The point is this: the time it takes to write a book depends on a myriad of factors.

Using my own works as examples, the book I am currently working on, “Resurrecting Tobias,” took four months for the first draft. Rewrites have now taken two months and they are still going on. My first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle from Yesterday to Today,” took two years to complete. I was much more motivated in writing the second novel than I was for the first, plus I understood the process much better the second time around.

So what factors determine the time required? A partial list would show:

  • The amount of research needed
  • The amount of available time devoted purely to writing daily
  • The motivation of the author
  • The ability to focus on a lengthy piece for a long period of time
  • The level of understanding a writer has regarding the book process
  • And yes, the writing ability of an individual

Worth watching

Mama Said There’d Be Days like This

I was recently watching a video by Elizabeth Gilbert, the very popular and highly-successful author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” In the video she talks about the elusive creative genius. She explains that she views creativity as a living entity, one separate from the writer.

The writer can show up at his/her workstation, prepared to write with a huge block of time available. The computer is working properly, and all research material is within an arm’s reach. The opening lines are written and then……nothing. The dreaded writer’s block descends upon the writer, and no matter what that writer tries, it just isn’t working. Words make no sense, and the intelligent and yes, creative person, is left blubbering incoherently.

What is missing, of course, is the creative genius. She said in her video that at times she will shout at the creative genius and chastise if for not showing up.

I understand, and I’m most certain that many of you do as well.

If it ain’t there then it ain’t going to happen.

Again, referring back to the novel I am currently working on, the first draft was completed in four months. Two rewrites followed and still I felt something was wrong. Finally, I realized that one of my main characters just wasn’t real to me. I loved my other two main characters, but the third, Maria Turner, was a mystery to me, and for the love of all that was holy, I could not fix her.

And so I stewed, and I swore, and I tore hair out and looked to the heavens for an answer….and then I did the one thing I should have done at the very beginning….I talked to my wife, Bev, and within twenty-four hours the problem was solved.

We never know when the creative genius will smile upon us, and when it will treat us like ten-day old garbage.

The final product should look like this.
The final product should look like this. | Source

And One Final Factor to Consider

That factor could only be….should only be….quality.

In all honesty, I could write a 100,000 word book in one month if I had to do it. So could you if you had the time available….but…..

Would it be any good?

The answer is most likely NO!

If we are truly going to write a quality book, then we need to devote the time necessary to allow the quality to shine through. I read once where John Steinbeck, he of “Grapes of Wrath” fame, spent four days writing one sentence for one of his books. No matter what he did, from cursing to taking a walk to drinking heavily, he could not find the words that would make that one sentence perfect.

I do not advocate drinking heavily to attain your goals, but I do advocate the search for quality in writing.

Are you writing a book now?

See results

So the Final Answer Is…..

How long does it take to write a book?

As long as it takes and not a minute more!

Let me leave you with one final thought.

Writing should be a passion. Writing should be enjoyable time spent with a lover. If you are enjoying the process, then who the hell cares how long it takes? If you are feeling the glow of a well-crafted sentence then seriously, bask in that glow, and allow yourself to feel the same joy that Steinbeck felt when that one sentence finally came to him, and wrapped her arms around him in a loving embrace.

When I was a younger man (many years ago), I took a road trip with a friend of mine. We planned on two weeks, and we set off down Highway 101 to see the splendor of the Oregon and California coasts. Every single day, and I am not exaggerating when I say this, my friend would lament that we only had twelve days left on the journey….then eleven…then ten. Finally, with only three days left and us racing northward for home, he was approaching depression because his vacation was almost over. He was so focused on the end that he forgot to enjoy the journey.

Enjoy the journey! Very few people on this planet are talented enough to write a quality book. Pat yourselves on the back and shout a thanks to the gods that you are one of them.

Enjoy the journey!

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great line, Deb. I love that description of quality. Thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Quality shows when others smile and say, "I felt like I was there." Then you have DONE it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Glimmer! I'm not that type of writer. I schedule time each day for a book, and I pull the plug on it when that time is up. Obsesses I'm not; dedicated I am. :) I am well, thank you, and I hope you are too.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I always have this idea in my mind that people who write books start one and basically can't stop until it's done. Up all night...that sort of thing. It's comforting to know that it's not always like that. Maybe that stereotype I have has always held me back. That and the fact that I have no idea what I would write about. Hope you are well and love the photo of the mountains. It looks beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, about the same for me. Four months to write, but I'm on month number two of editing and re-writing. Sigh! Nice to know I'm in good company.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I believe writing a book can take a few months, but then...it is the aftermath that takes some time. I believe it took me four months to write my most current book from start to finish, but now that I'm re-reading it, here is where more time is spent and let's not forget the final edits! I can write fast and think just as fast...but, when I realize the book is going to hit the stands one day, I tend to slow down and pay a little more attention to detail! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, thanks for your reflections on it all. I don't think you'll be disappointed in Maria. I made her softer when she was younger due to a tragedy, but she bounces back....thank you for always being so supportive. It means a great deal to me.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billybuc; This is a terrific question and even a better answer. I think, at times, writers can become so impatient to finish a book that they burden themselves with unnecessary time frames ...and they find them saying, "I JUST WANT THIS TO BE FINISHED!" This is dangerous territory to tread upon. The book I am working on, I have decided to stop placing deadlines...I am acting as if I may die tomorrow, and I have to "hurry." I forget that God is in control, and I truly feel I will be around for quite some time.

      You hit the nail on the head with your final end statement to enjoy the journey. I am so curious to see what you did with Maria! But I will be patient until you are done. God bless, Sparklea :) PS: I have a few other hubs of yours I can't wait to read, in between some obligations I have been taking care of. :) I'll be back.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, I love the way you put that. You are definitely a writer my friend.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Our words are as individual as our personalities, and the journey to share them is the same.

      As always you speak wise words Mr Holland. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, that's the perfect answer...it takes a while. :) Thanks my friend.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      It certainly does take a while to get from beginning to end. Thanks for sharing, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, thank you for visiting the website. It's not done yet, but I needed to get it up and running in advance of the book. I appreciate your loyalty and friendship.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, that's a classic! I wonder if I could get away with that and publish it under my name? LOL Thanks for the laugh.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      “We never know when the creative genius will smile upon us, and when it will treat us like ten-day old garbage.” Omg…that is so true. Lol.

      I like your new website, Bill and the excerpt from “Raising Tobias.” “Misery pools on the streets below.” Excellent writing and the reader is intrigued right out of the gate.

      Once again, your hub leaves us with just the right words: “ Enjoy the journey!” Thank you!

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      When you mentioned writing a 100,000 words and all those pages, I couldn't help but think of a scene from Miami Vice years ago. Crockett and Tubbs go to the Bahamas looking for Corleone and meet up with a guy higher than a kite who got caught up in the trade winds during summer break and wound up staying on the islands. He was writing a book and was up to page 2, 000 and something. Then, he quotes something really beautiful and Tubbs says to him that it is and the guy says, it should be, it's Hemingway. Now what made me think of that, I'll never know! lol

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I'm with you...I understand it completely. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I can certainly appreciate Steinbeck's wrestling with getting a sentence right. I don't spend four days but I do deliberate on some things.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, the hub would be interesting....a book would be fascinating. :) Just sayin'

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Bill, how odd that you mentioned that tornado. We had another series of storms come through this past Sunday. The towns of Quapaw, Oklahoma and Baxter Springs, Kansas were hit with damage to close to 200 houses and at least two deaths.

      I was speaking with a First Responder and was shocked to here some of the things which went on in these cities. I was thinking of writing a hub about this and tying it to the Joplin tornado. Perhaps I should follow through.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, that's the problem, isn't it? Those reasonable excuses all sound....reasonable. :) Best wishes to you my friend and blessings always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I appreciate your kind words. I understand your thoughts...if I did not have a block of uninterrupted time, I could not write. I hope you are able to one day find that time. There is a book to be written about the Joplin tornado...interview survivors, get their impressions and capture their feelings...and you are the man to write it.

      blessings my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wiccan, I have mixed feelings about NaNoWriMo, and for the reasons you mentioned. Great writing exercise but it is no way to write a book. You have a book in you....so get started on it. The Wiccans of the world will enjoy what you have to share.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, that is just excellent and I couldn't be happier for you. Best wishes my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Vellur! I hope this was helpful for you in some way.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, if all those things are true, and I'm sure they are, then you have it all as a writer. Carry on and enjoy the hell out of the process. Thank you as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, there is no time like the present. Get it going my friend. The world needs to hear from you.

      Thank you and love always

      bill

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Quality writing is the ideal object; won't have it any other way. My problem is that I still have not won the battle over procrastination which hides behind so many reasonable excuses. Thank you for holding up the finishing line; it helps.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Well do I understand the process (I think) but there are times I cannot put that knowledge to good use. I think one of the major needs of a writer (after that genie Creative Genius) is time. Time where one can focus, dwell, delve, create. Time unobstructed, unavailable to the world, unmolested. That is the single hardest obstacle I have.

      Perhaps, one day, I will have that time to follow through on my writing dreams. Then again, perhaps not. After all, Life has a way of making you do what it wants you to do.

      Very instructive as per your norm, Bill. I would have loved to had you as a professor in a class. Your words make sense, and have a practical application to them as well. Few there are who can achieve both while holding my attention as you do. Blessings to you and Bev. Take care, my dear friend.

      Mike

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      The quality vs. quantity part is significant. I've done NaNoWriMo a few times with friends for fun -- 50,000 + word books completed. Were any of them good? No, lol. They were just great writing exercises. Thanks for sharing Billy, excellent advice as always! You are definitely motivating me to re-think the way my career has scattered into so many different projects; I need to get more focused if I am going to ever write a book of my own. Thanks!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great words about the true meaning of quality it took me two years to write a book now soon to be published and I am so excited about my work. Early Parenting book.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Quality is more important than quantity as you have mentioned and I love the way you have answered the question in different angles taking into account various factors, great write.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Another great write Bill. Your hubs do a great job taking us through a process of starting out as writers, then providing helpful tips to improve our writing, to overcome writers block, and intimately churn out and market our book. I'm enjoying the ride, whether or not I ever actually publish a book, I'm having one hell of a good time in the process. Every hub I write is a learning experience whether it be poetry, a short story, or article. Thank you for your helpful advice along the way.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      "I will work on my book just as soon as I find time." Bill, am I the only writer who procrastinates like this? I amaze myself with all the excuses I come up with. I will run out of time if I continue along this path.

      I needed this lesson from you. A gentle and beautiful reminder to "get my butt in gear." :)

      I love you dear Bill.

      Audrey

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I suspect you are correct, Audrey. We all have to dance to our own beat. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Wayne! I hope you are feeling better soon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, my own personal opinion is if you are rushing to meet some self-imposed deadline, then your best work will be left in the computer. But then what do I know? :)

      Thank you my friend and blessings to you this week and beyond.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      You know, it is an interesting question--the process of creation and how we go about it--and I suspect that the answers might be as numerous as the number of writers who respond---

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Regardless of how long it takes, we all need inspiration, and that's something you give. Good work Bill. Reading your work is always uplifting.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, I quite like the idea that a book should take as long as it takes, I hate the pressure of trying to meet deadlines. I guess once you've written and published your first baby, the next should come easier, the learning curve not as steep and it's reassuring to know that the public like your work enough to spend their hard earn cash purchasing your book. I seem to get my best ideas when I'm not trying too hard, usually when I'm out walking the dog. You're a fountain of wisdom as always, take care and my very best to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you usually manage to have me laughing before your comment has finished, and you did it again.

      I admit, I have some serious issues with ebooks, for exactly the reason you stated. At this rate, every other person we pass on the street will be able to say that they are a published author...and our response will be "SO WHAT?"

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughts.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      How long does it take to write a book? How long is a rope? Answer: take half its length and multiply by 2. Ha, ha, old joke, but you reminded me. Didja ever have your creative cap on and play out a scene in your head, only to write it up and then find that the words on the computer were nothing like you had planned? Your fingers on the keys had actually taken off in a different direction? That has happened to me more than once, and it lengthens my time at writing a finished product of any kind. I can certainly see why a good writer can’t give a reasonable time estimate of how long it will take him or her to complete a novel. How long did it take Margaret Mitchell to write Gone with the Wind? Eight years to write a classic novel, and there were a couple of years in which she admitted dry periods.

      Today, writers are ginning out ebooks in a couple of months, and it shows. I have an Amazon Prime membership in which I can read an ebook from their selected library free once a month. I have just about stopped exercising this privilege because, quite frankly, most are amateurish. I think the reason for this is because they are not taking the time to turn out a quality product. They had rather sell junk for .99 to 2.99, or allow it to be offered free, just to get their names out there. So I think you have done a service with this hub in saying that writing a book should take as long as it takes to turn out a quality product. My advice: just don’t turn out one so superb that you are afraid to write another like Margaret Mitchell.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Sheila, and that was my main point. We don't judge our progress based on the experiences of others. We have to be true to our own process. Thanks for sharing yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Ruby, and I appreciate how you read these articles even though you aren't terribly interested in them. :) That's loyalty my friend. Thank you!

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      How long does it take to write a book? Most of mine have taken me about 15 weeks, but that's not all writing time. I average about two to three hours a night actually writing - which I do in a notebook. One day a week I spend typing it into Word. Believe me, I'm a slow typist and it takes me about 8 hours to type one chapter. The longest time I spend on my books is proofreading and editing and I can't begin to think how long I spend doing that, but I won't upload my final draft until I feel it's almost perfect. Almost? I'm sure people will still find some little mistakes. That all said, time is relative. What is a long time for me, isn't for other people and vice versa.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dr Bill, you weren't rambling my friend. You were relating valuable information that writers need to understand. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, Happy Monday to you, and your greatest words of wisdom came right at the end...don't wait for someday! Love it...and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Alan, I always look forward to your next comment. There is much truth in your words here. You are speaking of the complete process. This is more than just writing a book...formatting as well, and the flow of one book to the next in a series. Well done my friend, and thank you!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Whether writing a book or a piece for fun, it takes time. Perfection is difficult to achieve, but it's something to strive for. I appreciate how you always stand ready to help with your advice and good will...

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      This may be your best hub yet, Bill. Remember, folks, Bill is writing all these hubs, and responding to every comment... while writing a book???

      Truly amazing. Outstanding advice and references on writing a book. My first, and highest quality, took 27 years... well, a lot of life was lived along the way... but, if you don't take the proper time to reflect and reconsider... you will not be happy with outcome, later on. I wrote the second in the series in less than a year... and "finished" it - Too Soon... didn't take the time to reflect, because an artificial timeline, as you mentioned in your travel anecdote. I've regretted that, ever since. Books three and four benefited from that negative experience, but, were still not as good as the first, trying to make up for the mistakes on the second... Sorry to ramble.

      Your hub is right on target. Thanks, again, for the very well stated reminders!!! ;-)

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Love the advice that a great or successful book is not measured by the time it takes to write it! I also agree that setting up an "I'll write 500 words today" schedule may not work. Never has for me. There are some days and times when I'm writing a blue streak, others not so much.

      The other time factor deals with topic and content. There are some topics that can take years to complete research or other background work. Others can be cobbled together from existing materials in a few weeks. And fiction? I don't think there can ever be a time based model for that.

      I think the only time issue with writing a book is that you need to get started on it as soon as the spirit moves you. Don't wait for someday!

      Happy Monday!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      The research is complete-ish (aside from characters who crop up later on, like Alexios Komnenos and his diary-writing daughter Anna, Robert Guiscard, Bohemond and one or two others).

      Each book is mapped out, beginning here, ending there. That just leaves the first draft to get down. If I manage five pages a night I'm happy, more is a bonus. The last book was more or less complete but I had to re-publish book 1 because the first publisher made a hash of pricing.

      Now I've got each book to a format, bigger page size, less pages, lower price (it all has to tie in). I've worked it out that this book should take seven months, up to September 2014 and then whacko! Back to the stocks and on with book 6, around the time of William's 'harrying of the north'.

      Whereas this current one - book 5 - spends whole chapters at sea, the next one is almost all on land, some going back and forth across the Humber to get away from the king's brother Robert of Mortain, who has no ships at his disposal...

      Aye lad! It's all up there (sez I, tappin' me 'ead). It all happens north of the Humber as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is, Thelma, and I thank you for stopping by and for the nice words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, I'm so glad that you stopped by and caught my reference to you. Bravo for the effort you are making, and bravo to you for enjoying the journey so much.

      You have my admiration.

      bill

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      I enjoy reading your posts very much and always learn something from you. I am going to remember that line, "Enjoy the journey" as it is true for so many things in life. Thanks for a great post!

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Oh, I did laugh out loud when I read about the crazy lady writing a

      historically based novel. Someone should have shaken her until her teeth rattled. LOL

      I may be closer to Harper Lee's time reference, than a two year dead line.

      But, I am very glad that you brought this idea to the forefront. The satisfaction garnered has only been surpassed by my enthusiasm for this

      project. I am left breathless by some of the fact that I find which correlate to this time period. My final job will be to make this story

      as breath taking as the journey that I have experienced.

      Bill, you are so correct. It is not about the destination; it is all about the

      incredible journey!

      Many thanks, Bill!!

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rafiq, I agree with you for the most part. The type of book is also a determining factor, but for sure your level of expertise will make the time factor shrink considerably. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Availiasvision, I love your passion, and I know exactly what you are talking about. You go, friend, and enjoy the journey. You are right, of course. It is not how many books we sell that is important...it is the experience of writing that makes it all worth while. Best wishes to you and thank you.

    • Rafiq23 profile image

      Muhammad Rafiq 3 years ago from Pakistan

      Useful hub Bill! In my opinion, it mostly depends upon the skills, knowledge and dedication of an author to write a book in a very short time. Prolific writers will write more books within a very short period as they have mastered the art of writing, while students like me will take years to compose a booklet.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      It sounds like your wife makes a lovely muse for your writing. What a beautiful thing! I've been writing a thriller, the one I feel I was born to write. It's like all of the places I've been, the things I've experienced, and all of the writing I've done, have all led to this.

      I'm having a blast doing it. You know when you stay up all night reading a page turner because you can't put it down? That's how it's been writing it. I can't walk away. I think I need to go back and read your Hub "Finding Balance as a Writer." It's way too easy to get obsessed.

      Even if only my mother buys the book, just the act of writing 80,000-100,000 is worth the experience. Every novel we pump out, we become better at our craft.

      My target is a first draft due by the end of June. 9,000 words in and only 71,000 to go, yay!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      grand old lady, I do know the answer to that question....ten years.

      There is hope for all of us. :)

      Thank you my friend and have a wonderful week.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      It is very refreshing to know that there is no fixed time when a book should be written. If Harper Lee took four years for her book, maybe I'm not that bad. Would you know how long it took to write Gone With the Wind?

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Eric, thank God I'm not one of the greats....I don't need to be torturing myself. :) Thanks buddy!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Carol! I have never written a "how to" book, but I suspect you are correct. Novels have so much detail to them, and so much to build from nothing. I do know it is easier the second time than the first, so maybe I am learning.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, thank you for sharing all of that. Your worst critic? I know all about that from personal experience. I promised myself that this is the last edit and rewrite. Enough is enough! This book needs to be published and I need to stop babysitting it. LOL

      Have a great week and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning, Faith, and thanks for sharing breakfast with me.

      I love Elizabeth Gilbert. She just seems like someone I would love to sit down with and talk to about life in general and writing in particular. What an engaging personality she has.

      Best wishes on that novel of yours, and thanks for spending part of your day off with me.

      blessings always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cardisa, you are a writing machine. I know what you are talking about. Three days a week I, too, write for customers, and on those days I write about 4,000 words per day and then tackle my own writing. Then, as you said, there are days when nothing is there. Those are the days I go take a walk and let my mind rest.

      Thank you for your reflections.

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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      So it is the journey and not the destination that matters the most. Yet some greats like Mailer were tortured by the process.

      thanks

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      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      When I wrote my gift basket book it took a very short time. However, the editing and re editing went on what seemed forever. As you say so well there is no time frame for writing. I think how to books would be the easies as you know what needs to be known..Novels and other books..not so easy. As always Bill--you express yourself perfectly.

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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Again a great hub Billy. My first novel took me five years. The following novels took me between two to three years. I’m now busy with the fifth novel in the series: Awakening to our ascension, and I’m in my second year with it! I keep rewriting and rewriting. In between all my writing I started on a new novel that I see as an ebook first, ( the Self Employed Housewife) but that is also going slow. I can go for days that I do not write at all. I’m the same with hub page articles.

      With me it’s “time” as well. I love my garden and when the weather is great it’s hard for me to be inside in front of the computer. Not to mention that I still have a job working for Kima Global, but that seems to slow down.

      I can have days that the chapters are flowing. Then I spent at least a few weeks on rewriting and editing them and then I print everything out and read all the chapters from the start to feel if my story has a flow, or like you if the characters come over well. The hardest part of writing a novel is writing the end. Writing the last chapter. It’s almost like saying goodbye to a friend.

      What also happened with me with Vanishing Worlds was moving the last chapters at the beginning. Then the novel suddenly worked!

      I love writing an ongoing saga, but I'm also my own worst critic. It's never good enough. Thanks for your hub it made me aware of my own procrastination.

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Happy Monday, Bill,

      It is a happy one for me as I have the day off due to a state holiday. Hey, I am happy to take whatever holiday it is! Great article as always. Yes, we need to be realistic with ourselves to produce a quality product. I am writing a novel, but in no hurry, as I do have to be realistic about my reality at the present time ... only writing in the evenings on some nights, some weekends and off days (all depending on what other priorities are coming at me at the time), and that is okay for now being that is the reality for me. It is good to step back from it sometimes and go back to it after a short time period. Sometimes in doing so a lot is revealed to one's own self when going back to read what has be written. That is always a great idea to have someone you can trust to read what you have written and give great feedback in general, especially during those terrible times of writer's block. You are blessed to have your Bev.

      Elizabeth Gilbert is brilliant. Love her book and the movie, but as always, the book is better. Maybe today my creative genius will show up so I can at least finish a hub that has been sitting for weeks LOL ... I have had Spring fever and enjoying being out and about when not at my day job, which in doing so does seem to help with the writer's block for me at least.

      Enjoy your Monday.

      Blessings always

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      Carolee Samuda 3 years ago from Jamaica

      I am working on the 1,000 words per day angle for my personal novel, but I am also writing for clients, so I sometimes write up to 5,000 words per day on a good day. Some days I sit in front of the PC and write zilch! I am hoping to stop freelancing later this year so I can focus on my own novels. I am close to completing a 50,000 word novel for a client and will move on to part tow of that book, and later on part three.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Randi! You got it perfectly. That's exactly what I was trying to convey in this. Thank you for seeing it.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, i do remember that and I was wondering what happened to your book....well, maybe some day you'll put it out of the archives and give it another try. Until then, I'm just enjoying what you do. Thank you dear friend.

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      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great hub, Bill! Thank you for sharing the video. I enjoyed hearing what Elizabeth Gilbert had to say, as well.

      You're messages are always important whether in writing or just life in general. Enjoy the journey! Whatever that journey may be! Thank you, Bill!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you, Sha! Enjoy the journey and the destination will reveal itself. Thank you dear friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      breakfastpop, I love to hear that you are happy writing. Writing should be fun and exciting and passion-filled. Carry on my friend. You don't need my help at all.

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      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, the math girl in me loves how you broke this down by numbers. Quite frankly I did write a book in a month's time by doing the math with NaNoWriMo almost 2 years ago. I have yet to edit it as you know and to be honest kind of afraid how bad it must be that I did crank that out in a month's time. So, you are right I have learned in my time of writing, blogging and more that it is definitely quality not quantity that matters most in this for sure. Great advice and wishing you a very happy Monday now!

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I think the key here is to enjoy the journey, as you so eloquently stated Bill. Stressing over the book will come through in what's put on paper. Everything happens in its own time. After all, did we all reach puberty as the same age? Marry? Have children? No. So why should writing a book be any different? We need to be gentle with ourselves and realize that no two paths are the same. The important thing is to not get discouraged. Believe and it shall be done.

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      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I am so happy when I am writing. I hope I come to the conclusion that I have a book in me. If I do, I wouldn't care how long it took. Voted up, useful, interesting and always awesome.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cheryl, you are fast today. Great perspective on this. Thanks for sharing your experience and I agree, mood plays a big part in it.

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      Cheryl A Whitsett 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

      For me it depends on my mood. When I get in the swing of writing I can complete a 350 page novel in 3 months. If I don't feel like writing I have been known to procrastinate a full two years. It's my hobby so I do it at my leisure I don't want to be pressured with any deadlines. Voted up.