How long does it take to write a book?

People often ask: how long did it take you to write your book? The answer is eight years. This doesn’t shock people – they imagine it would take a long time to do, and many of them say “I could never write a book.” Here’s the thing: it really doesn’t and shouldn’t take that long, and if I can do it then anyone can! 

Let’s say you wrote 1,000 words a day. This might take you about an hour, so it’s not taking over your life. Well, in one month you’d have 30,000 words. According to Google (which we know is accurate 100% of the time), the average novel has 80,000 words. So in three months, you’d have the book done. Now, you might be saying “there’s no way I could do 1,000 words a day.” Okay, let’s say you do 500 a day. Well, then it would take you six months to finish your book.  

You might think, “well yes, I wrote 500-1,000 words a day. But that doesn’t mean all of them are good.” This is probably true. You’ll find out when you go back and edit it, and then you take out what you want to remove and replace it with something you think is better. Let’s say maybe that takes another few months. Still, the process really doesn’t take that long.  

Anyone who takes much longer than that is just making excuses. I would know, because I used every excuse I possibly could. I think the two most common ones are: I don’t have time, and I’m not inspired at the moment. Let’s talk about those a bit more. So you don’t have one hour or even one half hour to write, but you definitely have enough time to get deep into your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s dog’s Instagram feed? Yeah, that’s what I thought. And you’re not inspired today? Well, then you better be prepared to be inspired NEVER because “inspiration” only comes when you work for it. Yeah, 90% of what you produced might be terrible. But if you can get 10% or even 1% every day, eventually that adds up. You’re assured to get nothing though if you don’t try.  

So why was I making excuses, while still telling everyone that writing was my #1 priority (yes, I was a hypocrite too)? It was fear. My whole identity was wrapped up in being a writer, because it was my greatest strength and I was very hard on myself about the things that didn’t come so easily to me. I was afraid that if I wrote a book and put it out into the world, and nobody liked it, that would mean that I was a failure as a person. So I subconsciously held myself back. Once I got over that, I wrote 1,000 words a day and finished the book within months.  

Find out what you’re afraid of, face it, and stop letting it hold you back from sharing your writing with the world.  

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