Maybe you're planning to write a novel or maybe you're a novelist who has never done the math, and you're wondering how long it actually takes. I wondered the same thing and decided to find out (with the help of the WordTracker app). Here's the breakdown:
Plotting: 1.6 hours
- I use a collection of plotting worksheets I've borrowed from others and some I've created myself. I don't do extensive outlines, so your time may vary here depending on how much detail you devote to it.
Writing 1st Draft: 41 hours
- This time reflects a 63,000 words manuscript.
Editing: 39.6 hours
- This included three rounds of edits.
Total: 82.2 hours
Of course, this isn't the final number. Your number may be completely different depending on a variety of factors. And this doesn't include professional edits, which will likely take an additional 40 +/- hours, bringing you to a grand total of approximately 122.2 hours. I haven't received professional edits yet, but this number should give you an idea about how long you should expect to write a novel and edit it.
It doesn't sound so bad, right? Wrong. Theoretically you could write a book in a little over two weeks if you wrote eight hours a day, but rarely is that possible. Most of us don't have that luxury with family, work, and other obligations. And writing is hard. It's difficult for me to write more than three or four hours at a time. It's exhausting. It feels like I've run a marathon after a good session. It's a good kind of exhaustion, like I've really done something, but it's tiring nonetheless.
It's like Hemingway always said: "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a [computer] and bleed."