How Long Does It Take To Write A Book?

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Antique Outdoor wall clock set against an image of a star-studded universe to reflect the question of how long does it take to write a book?

As an author (and also as a book coach), I get asked this question a lot. How long does it take to write a book?

It’s an interesting question. One that I think is driven by both curiosity and, when it is an aspiring author doing the asking, is really about trying to pin down a solid timeline for getting from idea to completed and published book. But the answer to this question is as diverse and as varied as the authors you ask.


The Answer Is: It Varies

There are writers who can churn out solid reads at a phenomenal rate. Multiple books in a year is the norm for these writers. But for me, it often takes years from concept to final draft, not to mention the timeline to publication. And to make things even more interesting, the answer is different for every book.


Perception Versus Reality

From the outside looking in, because I have managed to produce a published book a year (this is my actual writing and production goal), it might appear to readers that I can churn out a book from start to finish in a year’s time.

But that isn’t reality.

Most of the time, I have multiple projects in various stages that I am working on. I may be toying with the concept for a book while simultaneously working on a blueprint for anther and writing on something else. I may also be in revisions for another project, or have something out to Beta readers or my editor. Some books have taken me as long as five years from idea to published book. Some take only two or three.

My picture book, Rocket Shoes, took just over two years to write and edit. Another three months to land an agent, six months to sell and negotiate final contract terms, and then another eighteen months for the book to be published.


Process Is Personal

^^This is one of my favorite mantras about writing!^^

One of the glorious things about writing, like many art forms, is there is no single right way to do it. The creative act is just that: Creative. Yes, there are craft tools, and grammar is important. Telling a good story, writing it well, editing and proofing and all the things that go into the final product to make it readable and engaging for the reader, are absolutely necessary. But when it comes to the act of creating, you get to decide what process works best for you. Write every day? Plot first? Character first? Write your way in? Heavy outlining? Puzzle-piece it together? Linear? Work-for-hire? Dance to the muse? Whatever works! You get to do you! That’s the glory of writing.


BOTTOM LINE: How long does it take to write a book?

It takes as long as it takes. We just need to remember not to judge our progress (or process) by the parameters of others.


For more about my books, click here.

To learn more about working with me as a Book Coach, go here.

For monthly writing tips, sign up for my bulletin at Book Coaching by Sharon

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