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How Long Did it Take You?

One of the most common questions I get about writing novels is: How long does it take you to write a whole novel? If you don’t count all the subsequent drafts and edits and only count the months it took to finish a first draft, then the answer appears to be nine months. At least for my latest novel, Starforgers.

The only thing on my plate in the past nine months was the final edits for Tyrmia, which were being wrapped up when I started writing. So the nine months guess is pretty close. That does not include the time it took to hash out the initial outline. It looks like that took about a month to write up for Starforgers.

There were periods of time, a month I believe, where I didn’t write anything. I should take a look at my Dropbox folder and see where the gaps were. I renamed the document every day that I wrote it. Mmmm, let me check that. Hold the blog. Okay, looks like the only month I wrote nothing was in January of this year. So revise that to eight months to write Starforgers. I actually wrote only eighty-four different days out of that eight month period. Pretty lame. What the heck was I doing? Let’s see, that’s about eleven days per month that I actually wrote anything on the novel. Again, weak.

Let’s break it down some more.

June 2011 – 11 Days

May 2011 – 13 Days

Apr 2011 –  18 Days

Mar 2011 – 19 Days

Feb 2011 – 5 days

Jan 2011 –  None

Dec 2010 – 6 Days

Nov 2010 – 5 Days

Oct 2010 – 7 Days

I’m amazed that I was able to write in December, but not in January. Looks like the bulk of the novel was written in four months. So I wrote the whole book in just 84 days, or a bit under 3 month’s time. Those of you who follow this blog, know that I’m heavily involved in my two son’s baseball season. April, May and part of June are the busiest months of the year for me and low and behold, that’s when I wrote the bulk of the novel.

I wish I could diff the files in Dropbox. Then I could figure out how much I actually wrote each day. As it is, I’m just not that curious. So I guess that’s as far as my breaking down the numbers will go. Kind of interesting I’d say. June was my deadline for finishing the first draft. Maybe I should have made it sooner.


5 thoughts on “How Long Did it Take You?”

  1. Thanks Pandora! I’m convinced that if I could write full time, my output would suffer. Something about sneaking in writing time here and there, makes me more productive. I think in the end though, it all comes down to how much you want to do it. If you really dedicate yourself to writing, you will be amazed at how much you can get done.

  2. Congratulations (again)! Oh how I envy you. I know you really had to squeeze out every moment of writing time you had. I started FATE on July 19 of last year, and finished the first draft on October 8 (82 days later). I wrote every day, and averages a minimum of 1000 words (roughly 4 pages) per day. Very similar number of days writing, although I am able to write full time.
    Nice post!

  3. I may get around to doing a graph like that in the next weeks. I agree, it would be interesting to see how productive I was each day. I rarely wrote less than a few hundred words per day and hardly ever went over old stuff. So most of that is a slow progression.

  4. Interesting, indeed, but I think I disagree with you on the value of performing that diff. It should be easy enough to just pull the files into Ubuntu or some such and run a simple script to compare them.

    Even though April and March show the highest number of days when you worked on it, you could have just spent much of that time tweaking previous work rather than creating new words in the work. Also, what about those days where you opened it, wrote a paragraph, then had to stop? It could well be that the most real work was done in November and February.

    I guess the file sizes should show this progress, too. Maybe a simple graph of file name vs file size? That would be really interesting to see, I think.

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