How long does it take to write a book? Short answer: it depends. In this blog post, I'll break down the process of writing a book into its component parts, so you can have a better idea of how long each step might take.
In general, writing the first draft will take the longest amount of time. Some books may take a lot of research. Editing and proofreading will take considerably less, although they can be difficult. But remember: there's more to writing a book than just putting words on paper. Writing the words is only one step in a much longer journey!
Okay, but how long does it actually take?
It usually takes between 1,500 and 2,000 hours to write a book. If you work on your book for 40 hours a week, it would take anywhere from five to seven weeks to complete a book. If you only have 10 hours a week to spare, it would take you anywhere from 5 to 8 months to write a book.
However, some books take longer than others, especially if you're new to writing. If you're writing historical fiction, for example, it might take you a year or two to do all the research. If your personal life is busy, it might take more hours to write just because you have to constantly get back in the zone. However, some people have managed to write full-length books in a few weeks or even a few days. It all depends on the situation; there is no right or wrong answer.
Step 1: Research
Research and planning are two different steps, but they go together like Butterfinger crumbles and frozen yogurt. Let's talk about research first.
Some people like to research before they write anything. They may do a lot of reading, talking to friends, or looking for information online. Others research as they go, looking up things as they need them. And some writers only do serious research after writing the outline or first draft, when they have a better idea of the shape of the story.
You might think that research is only for nonfiction, historical fiction, fantasy, or literary fiction. And you'd be wrong. If you're writing a book set in a bakery, you will need to research types of commercial baking ovens, baking recipes, and the logistics of running a small business. If one of your characters has a limp, you'll need to research types of limps, or how having a limp can affect your life. You'd be surprised how much research you have to do, even for a short contemporary romance.
It's easy to get stuck in a research rut. If you find yourself spending too much time researching, it might be a good time to take a break and come back to the research later. The information will still be there when you need it.
Step 2: Outlining the Structure/Plot of Your Book
The next step is outlining. I know some people write by the seat of their pants–I did too, once upon a time–but I strongly suggest you write some kind of outline, even if you throw it away five minute after writing it.
Outlining might feel daunting, but you don't have to plan everything. Some people like to start by planning their characters, doing a simple three-act outline, or writing a beat sheet with all the big story points in it. If you're totally new, know that there are many different kinds of outlines you can write:
- A beat sheet
- A scene list
- A flow chart
- A “but/therefore” outline
There is no right answer. Start with what works best for you. If you don't know which one to start with, just pick one and go. Don't worry about getting it right.
Some people like to plan everything before they write a word. They may outline the entire story, or they may write out a rough plot summary. Others like to start writing, then add in the details as they go. If you're planning everything, you might find yourself getting bogged down in details. If you find yourself getting stuck, it might be a good time to take a break and come back to the story later.
Once you have a rough idea of what your book is about, it's time to create some kind of outline or
The good news is that books have a mind of their own. I have never, ever had a book completely conform to a plot outline
Estimated Time: 2 hours to 2 weeks
Step 3: Writing the First Draft
The first draft is always the hardest. It's where you get to put all your energy and passion into the story. You may be horrified by the quality of your work. But don't be discouraged! A first draft is the foundation of a great book.
Some people like to write a first draft as quickly as possible. Others can only write for an hour or two here and there. The important thing is to keep focused and not get too bogged down in the details, or too distracted.
Step 4: Revising and Editing the First Draft
Once you have a first draft, it's time to go through and revise it. This is where you fix any errors and make sure the plot flows smoothly.
Step 5: Writing the Second Draft
The second draft is where you polish the story and make sure everything is perfect. You may need to revise the scenes again, add new scenes, or delete scenes. Estimated Time: Step 6: Publishing the Book
Step 6: Editing and Proofreading
Once you have a workable draft, it's time to edit it and proofread it. This is where you make sure there are no errors and that the text is correct. You may also want to add images, maps, or other extras. Step 7: Publishing the Book Publishing your book can be a daunting task, but it's important to remember that it's not about you. It's about letting your story reach as many people as possible. If you do everything correctly, your book should be published and available for purchase within a few weeks.
Writing a book can be a long and arduous process, but it's worth it in the end. Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to becoming a published author!