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How Long Does It Take to Write a Book? Tips for Authors

Julia McCoy
Wednesday, 10th Jan 2024
Julia McCoy
5 min read · Jan 11 2022
how long does it take to write a book

One of the most frequently asked questions by aspiring authors is, “How long does it take to write a book?”

You might think there’s a magic number for how many hours or months it takes to pen your masterpiece.

Spoiler alert: there isn’t one.

But don’t let that discourage you! This guide is here to give you the lowdown on what shapes your writing timeline.

We’ll explore factors like genre complexity and personal experience because they play huge roles in your progress.

Plus, we’ll share some smart strategies to help speed up the process without skimping on quality.

But first, let’s talk about why you should track your writing time

Table Of Contents:

Why Track Your Writing Time?

In my writing journey, I’ve found that tracking the time I spend on writing my books can be incredibly beneficial. As an author who has written close to a dozen books with hundreds of thousands of words, I’ve come to understand that productivity can vary greatly.

Chris Fox, a renowned writer and advocate for measuring productivity, claims he writes up to 5,000 words per hour — which is also the title of his book. Comparatively speaking, my pace of approximately 400 words per hour during the first draft phase might seem slower but what’s important to remember is that everyone has their own unique rhythm.

Aiming high is great but setting achievable targets like increasing from an average speed of about 500 words per hour (during intense “I have got this done” sessions) towards something more ambitious like Chris Fox’s impressive record could be worth considering too.

So How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some sprint through in months while others may take years.

This variability isn’t just normal; it’s expected because every writer and story differs dramatically.

Many factors affect the length of your writing process, including the genre you’re writing for, your writing speed, your writing experience, the number of revisions you make, and the time you set aside for your writing routine.

Genre

How many words are in a book? Different genres demand different levels of research and detail, which is why their lengths vary. Historical fiction might need more fact-checking than fantasy worlds do.

A crime thriller requires tight plotting which can add hours to the drafting phase compared with romance novels where character development might lead the charge instead.

Writing Speed

Your thinking speed affects your writing speed. How quickly do ideas flow for you?

Fast thinkers tend to jot down scenes quicker than those who deliberate over every word choice or plot twist.

Writing Experience

How long have you been writing books? Your average writing time will increase with more writing sessions.

Newbies often face steep learning curves that seasoned authors have already climbed. This experience factor can significantly affect how fast you can complete your manuscript.

Time Available

Life happens. If you’re juggling other commitments like jobs or families, you probably only have time for quick writing sprints as opposed to continuous writing sessions.

Number of Revisions

If there’s truth behind Hemingway’s famous line “The only kind of writing is rewriting,” then revisions are key chapters in your writing story.

The revisions after the initial draft can take up a lot of time. Expect multiple drafts as you tweak dialogue, polish prose, and patch plot holes — it’s all part of the process.

Each round of feedback and revision inches you closer to that final, dazzling draft.

Many authors painstakingly refine their work for days instead of hiring a professional editor. Once you settle on the number of edits you have, you have a better idea of how long writing a book will take.

Using writing software like Content at Scale makes it easier than ever to get your manuscript ready for publishing. Its AIMEE chatbot is your perfect writing partner for brainstorming story ideas and outlining sections so you have more time for what really matters: sharing your story.

Trivia: How long did it take these famous authors to write their novels?

how long does it take to write a book

How to Write a Book Faster

If you’ve ever said, “I’m going to write a book,” but never got around to doing it, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Writing an entire book can be overwhelming. But with the right approach and strategy, it’s achievable without taking so long.

Here are 7 writing tips for how to write a book faster.

1. Set a Deadline

Deadlines provide structure and motivation, two key elements in any successful writing endeavor. A set timeline encourages consistency and discipline which are essential traits for any writer aiming to complete their work efficiently.

Establishing a deadline is the first step in fostering accountability. Once you have a date circled on your calendar, your commitment becomes more concrete.

2. Create an Effective Writing Schedule

To establish an effective deadline for yourself, start by creating a realistic daily or weekly writing schedule that fits into your lifestyle. This could mean dedicating several hours each day or just 30 minutes during lunch breaks.

Many writers set word count targets, but a time goal could be more beneficial if you like editing as you write or if your progress takes a few detours.

3. Focus on One Task at a Time

Writing a book involves various tasks, and your writing process may encompass a mix of the following activities:

  • Brainstorming
  • Research
  • Outlining
  • Writing
  • Editing

You can write faster if you address these tasks individually instead of jumping from one phase to another.

Verifying facts while drafting a chapter can also be counterproductive. Instead of interrupting your flow, make a note of the information you need to research and schedule it for later, allowing you to concentrate on the current task.

4. Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination often prevents many aspiring writers from meeting their deadlines. To avoid falling into this trap use proven time management techniques.

These include breaking down tasks into manageable chunks (like chapters), prioritizing tasks based on importance (outline before diving deep into details), eliminating distractions while working, etc., all designed to keep productivity high and procrastination at bay.

5. Incorporate Regular Breaks

Remember, writing is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s important to incorporate regular breaks into your schedule to prevent burnout. This will keep you fresh and motivated, ultimately helping you stick to your deadline.

6. Keep Your Story Organized

Working with an outline is one of the most effective approaches to crafting a book.

For fiction writers, outlining provides a roadmap, ensuring you already have a grasp of the forthcoming events in your story. This enables you to direct your focus toward putting words on the page.

Meanwhile, nonfiction writers benefit from outlining as it aids in the logical planning and structuring of research.

Not all writers prefer outlining, and if you like writing by the seat of your pants, you may skip the pre-writing outline. Instead, you could outline as you draft. After writing a new chapter, create a quick summary so you can easily pick up where you left off.

Read this guide on how to start writing a book … fast!

7. Use Placeholders

Placeholders are great for fast drafting. When faced with unanswered questions that impede the progress of your book, insert a temporary placeholder and revisit it later.

For example, you’re writing a scenario in an epic fantasy novel and the details of a particular battle scene elude you. Rather than putting the book on hold, employ a placeholder such as “[insert battle scene here]” so you can move on to the next chapter.

Speed up your book writing without losing quality. Set clear goals, outline for direction, and schedule writing like a boss. #WritingTips #AuthorLife Click to Tweet

Cut Your Writing Time By Nearly 90%

As an author, you may be familiar with the concept of ghostwriting, which means outsourcing your writing work. However, it’s not uncommon for this process to leave authors feeling dissatisfied and misrepresented.

In my experience, I’ve encountered numerous “trustworthy” ghostwriting services that promised great results but failed to deliver. This led me to research other ways to take my books from idea to publication without risking my unique voice or style.

I’m talking about an AI writing service — specifically the content powerhouse called Content at Scale. The platform has both a long-form writer and an AI chatbot that can help you write your book faster.

If you’re writing a textbook, ebook, or any other educational material, just enter your topic into the long-form AI writer, customize your chapters, and it will write your entire book for you.

If you’re writing fiction, then the supersmart AIMEE chatbot is your perfect sidekick. You can ask it to write anything for you — book titles, character names, story outlines, and even entire chapters!

Typically, writing a book can take anywhere between 6-12 months (sometimes even longer). This involves thousands of hours spent researching, drafting manuscripts, and finally penning down your thoughts.

With Content at Scale, you can significantly reduce this timeline. It only takes an hour of effort from you each day to complete one chapter of your book — customizing its content just for your audience.

All this time and effort saved leads to one thing: more profit. Find out how much money you can make from writing a book — with or without AI.

FAQs – How Long Does It Take to Write a Book

How long does it take the average person to write a book?

The average author takes about 6 months to a year, depending on their schedule and writing habits.

How long does it take to write your first book?

First-time authors might need anywhere from 1 to 4 years. Learning curves and rewriting often stretch out timelines.

How long should it take to write a 300-page book?

Aiming for one page per day, you could draft a 300-page book in under a year — editing not included.

Conclusion

So, you’ve dived deep into the heart of book writing. You now know that tracking your time can light up the path to a finished book.

How long does it take to write a book? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

The time it takes to complete a book is influenced by various factors, including the genre, complexity of the subject matter, the writer’s experience, and personal writing habits.

While some authors may produce a book relatively quickly, others may take months or even years to refine their work.

Recognize and embrace the uniqueness of your creative journey, allowing your writing process to unfold at its own pace.

Tech tools like Content at Scale make book writing easier for human writers. They help you meet word count goals without sacrificing quality. AI will not replace you but support you, so don’t be afraid to get help.

Written by Julia McCoy

See more from Julia McCoy
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