This one is inspired by writersink in the Forums, who asks: How long does it take for you to finish a draft/WIP?
And if you haven’t yet finished: How long have you been working on your work in progress?
For me personally, it usually takes me between 6-8 months to write a novel. I’ve written four now (the first is unpublished and the fourth comes out next year), which kind of blows my mind when I stop and think about how much time that represents.
What about you?
Art: Woman Writing a Letter – Gerard ter Borch the Younger
Terin Tashi Miller says
Oh. And as for NaNoWriMo: if you can write 5 pages a day, 5 days a week, you can write 25 pages a week. At 25 pages a week, you can have a 200-300 page (50,000-70,000 words) first draft in about two months. If you can write more, great. If you can't, those are the stats.
Best of luck, as always, Nathan! And to all your fans, like me.
Naja Tau says
I've been writing my first novel like a freak (that is, daily) with no outline & no plan for two years now. I'm still editing it. Hopefully the 7th time will be the charm. (But I can tell already that there will be an 8th time… 🙂
India Drummond says
First draft takes about 6-8 weeks.
When I'm in "composition mode," I try to write 1800 words a day, 6 days a week.
It works much better for me to spend 2 weeks before that nailing down my detailed outline (1-3 paragraphs describing the action in each scene), so I never sit and stare at the screen, wondering what happens next. Then two months actually making it happen. My first novel took years, but I had zero momentum. This new system works MUCH better for me.
I should note that writing is what I do full time. I don't think I keep that schedule up if I had to work a second job.
Marilyn Peake says
It depends. I've written novels in six months, but have also taken five years to write a more complicated science fiction novel. Six to eight months is a very short time to write a good novel.
Depends what I'm writing. I once ghosted 4 teen thrillers in one year, though they were for a series and I'd planned the first one the previous year.
My own work – literary fiction – takes a lot longer. 2 years for the last one, and it's probably going to need another tweak.
My first couple were between 8 months and a year. For my latest, I'm on track to be between 6-8 months.
Andrea Franco-Cook says
Hmmm, good question. I'm on the third draft of my work-in-progress. Each draft took about a year. I will probably have one more to go after I finish this one. My plot is quite complex and it had take a lot of working and re-working to get it right. I'm almost there. Thank goodness,it's time to move on.
It very much depends on the length of the work. I write between 2-3000 words per day so a 30,000 word novella I can complete in around 10-20 days. A 60,000 word book takes me around 6-8 weeks with editing. Obviously anything longer than that takes longer to complete. When I began writing I spent a few months on my first book. But with time and experience I've become faster. I know a lot of authors that are even faster than me, writing between 5-10,000 words per day. I think the more you do, the faster you become.
About 3 months (10-15 weeks). I'm a pantster, so I just sit and write. First draft is really a "zero" draft for me. Revisions, though… whoa. Been at it for six months now, almost there.
D.G. Hudson says
I think the time it takes to complete a draft depends on what type/genre of book you're writing.
The more complex the storyline, the more threads to be pulled together. I'd expect a literary book to take longer that a genre book. (that's not always the case) Length of book is also a factor.
1st novel, 2 years to draft, with months of revisions/revamp (during a major move)
2nd – 4th, WIP varying times on the drafts, but I don't rush it.
Word verif – 3 times or more gets aggravating.
It always takes much longer than I'd like because writing is my second job. I applaud anyone who has achieved that point where they are making a living at it.
I'm actually relieved to see a novel doesn't take years and years to write. I am currently through first revisions and am awaiting feedback before I delve in again. So far, I'm almost seven months in and hope to query by the summer.
Matt Heppe says
My first one took 23 years. My second one is on pace to be done in 100 days.
It took me July to January to finish my rough draft, however, I didn't write a word from mid-October through November, thanks to marital crisis. Good times.
Additionally, my current WIP is 100K+. So, you know, pretty good word-per-hour rate.
I've been revising like a beast ever since, but I'll continue to be revising for God only knows how long. I'd reaaalllly like to get down to 90k or so.
Susan Lower says
It takes me about a year to write an adult fiction novel, and about 6-8 months when working on a middle grade novel. Of course I have a fantastic critique group and family that also is very supportive of me having "writing time"
Hi, it takes me like about 10 – 12 months. I has my grandchildren to help me out with asking questions, like, what is you're writing about? My book is available at http://www.outskirtspress.com/lisaandhermanymen. It about a young women who life is everything she wants until she gets the news of her life that she got HIV. Read it, it is page turning.
Cortez Law III says
About 6-8 months with about three of them for the first draft with few days missed. I tend to take Sunday off on purpose to re-charge for the week ahead.
But sometimes I still find myself reading it and editing it as I'm working on other projects, though.
And four novels is pretty impressive, Nathan, since it's pretty much been a finshed, published novel a year!
For me, fiction can take me a very long time, because it's not my genre. It once took me 10 years to write a short story, but I did really like the story once it was done.
For non-fiction, I write quickly, but I'll take awhile before I tackle a project. I have to feel I'm ready with non-fiction, and that can take awhile. So, my timing with non-fiction is that I write quickly, but wait until the timing feels just right before I start.
Bonnee Crawford says
My first draft of my first manuscript took me somewhere between 7 and 9 months, but I'm still redrafting (I was 14-15 then, 17 now, and my English skills are much better now).
Amy Parker says
I am right with you at about seven months. I handwrite then type it in, so that's part of it.
K. C. Blake says
It depends on if things are flowing well or not. My quickest novel was written in two weeks. My longest took me four years. As for how many I've written, I lost track years ago. Harlequin published a few. I published five of them. Most went into the trash.
J. R. McLemore says
My first, unpublished novel took 3 months. The editing is taking years.
Typically, it takes me between 4-6 months to complete a first draft. It really depends on the story I'm writing and how much I need to research. Editing is always longer, however, and I don't much care for it.
Anne R. Allen says
I've just finished a nonfic book that took about 3 months to come together, but I had a co-author. And the outline and intro already done. Fiction takes a lot longer for me. About 8 or 9 months, I'd say. I'm getting faster, though. My first opus took me almost a decade. That's because I couldn't figure out how to end it. Like the protagonist of the great book/film Wonder Boys.
You people are machines! Wow.
First Draft is now at 83,000 words and 1 year. Hope to be typing "The End" within the next month and then more revising time.
Stephen Dedman says
Writing full time, if I have a plan, it takes three months. Part time, no plan, it can take years.
Jason Runnels says
I think this can vary widely between a Zero Draft (NaNoWriMo) in 30 days vs. a First Draft. Something you feel comfortable having somebody else read.
My main WIP: 4 years, off & on. This whole life thing gets in the way, along with my other projects. I'm currently working on some type of time management schedule so I can keep it up and finish the ms. I have to admit, it's tough.
For my current WIP? God — about three years so far. In the beginning I wasn't consistent about writing and editing every day. And I took off a month in between major revisions, as well the past two Novembers to do Nanowrimo. My goal is to query in the late summer/fall.
My novel: Three years, six chapters and still not done 🙁
Lots of other smaller writings in between though 😉
E.B. Black says
My first draft takes a week to write, but editing it into a final draft can take up to two years. I'm trying to get faster though. My current WIP, I expect to be finished with by the end of this year.
First draft percolates in my mind for months or years, then when I feel ready, it takes about a month to put it all down on paper. Then almost a year to edit.
Ann Elise says
Mine varies widely. My longest is three years and my shortest is one month (that one was NaNoWriMo's doing). And the second appears to be in better shape than the first was, but that could just due to gaining experience.
Cathi Stoler says
Right now, it feel like forever. Am trying to finish the last 30,000 words by end of June. Only 6 weeks away!
S P Singh says
Firstly, there's no yardstick how much time one would need to pen down a 70k plus novel. It depends on several factors; motivation, flow of storyline, etc. Sometimes one can write several pages in a day, and sometimes nothing for several days. So, I think one shouldn't write forcibly. Let the mind and heart dictate. In my case, often an invisible force guides me through my writing. But one thing is sure, you can't write a novel in a month.