How long does it take on average for an author to finish writing a novel?

This is a question that could not be less important and yet appears to be the most important question of all.The answer is as simple as the question is difficult, on average a novel is written until it is finished. But what can anyone do with such an answer? So I think I have to go a little further 😀

In his essay Why I Write, George Orwell described very impressively what it means to write and, above all, what it takes to complete a work that has been started: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness.One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

What can I say, George Orwell is right and, at the same time, incredibly wrong.But even this was clear to him, which I know, without him ever saying it. Because no one writes without loving it, it’s just an unusual love. It is the love of a long-term partnership, not a hedonistic one-night stand. It’s work, it’s damn work. You sweat, you cry, you bleed, you give up, just a few seconds later you’re going to go on. That’s why we should write how we love and love how we write.

But this passage answers the question even less or does it?Personally, I think the question is only answered in an elegant way. It is incredibly difficult to write and to finish a work should not depend on the time itself, but on the creative power of the author.

So I personally always get to a point where my work starts to explode, everything I have planned, what I planned, runs through my fingers and grows into something new.There are two types of authors, the architects and the gardeners. Architects plan everything, they design their book like a house and writing is more of a mathematical process. The gardener, on the other hand, takes care of an organism that grows and thrives. Although the gardener knows which plant it is and how to care for it, he can never know how many branches the crown of the tree will bear.

If they are an architect, they should plan what they want to write and then extend this planning by the factor of time, but few authors are architects.Due to the nature of their craft, gardeners cannot plan this taking into account the time factor, but what can they do anyway?

Now, like Stephen King or Steven Pressfield, they can see their “art” as a craft, which it is.Only through this change in their perspective, their own thinking, do they become a real gardener. Because writing itself consists only to a small extent of art and a much larger one of sheer craftsmanship. What do I mean by that? To put it in the words of Steven Pressfield: “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” The hardest part of writing is to sit down and write, everything else comes after that.

So let’s get a little more practical: Sit at your desk every day and write it, they write between 2000-3000 words every day, which corresponds to a number of 7-10 normal book pages.They will see that their work will grow and grow. In a month they will put 210-300 pages on paper, which is already the number of pages of a small novel. In 60-70 days she can banish the raw version of a rather passable novel in her computer, but they are not happy too soon, then the second part of the work begins.

So it was Hemingway who kept stressing that the first draft was always shit, and he was right about it.They will feel like a failure, as even the greatest writers of our time are doing, so they do not despair. Put a first draft on your feet next month and let it rest.

When they feel ready again, they take it again and improve what they still notice.If they have gained enough distance from their work, they will notice many plotholes and mistakes in character development. After fixing all this, they can give the manuscript to people whose opinions are important to them, and perhaps to someone who is really well versed in spelling and grammar.

They re-use these people’s comments and write a third draft.Now it’s up to them to decide whether to turn the loop over other friends or send the draft to a publisher. If they publish their book in self-publishing, I recommend giving it again to friends, relatives and other helpful people. The fourth draft should then be ready to be published.

So, in the end, to provide an answer: it is not a question of time, but primarily one of their attitudes.Understand how they feel about writing, what time is available to them every day. For 3,000 words, they will need four hours with a lot of talent 鈥?provided they are not exposed to any distractions. If they do, it will take them two months to complete their rough design, another month before a first draft is ready. Let it rest and then write a second draft. From that point on, it depends on their relatives and friends, who don’t care as much about the subject as they do, so they don’t have too much hope. So they will need another two months and they will have another one to write the second version. So, under all these conditions, which could not be more numerous, they plan a duration of at least 6-8 months (without a doubt they can make it sooner, but I do not recommend to rush).

In other words, they should plan less the time factor and pay more attention to their attitude.In the end, it is only this that decides whether to win the fight against “disease”, as George Orwell used to say.

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