It takes as long as it takes…

I once participated in an awkward conversation that went like this:

“I want to write a novel and need to know how long it’ll take.”

Errr, yeah, it’d be nice to know going in, wouldn’t it?”

He stared at me. “Sooo… how long does it take?”

I laughed. “How long does it take you to write a novel? I’m sure I don’t know.”

I mean, really, let’s consider the variables: How many hours a day do you write? How many words do you average an hour? How long is your story? Are you a fast typer or might people mistake your effort for Morse code? Do you already have an idea? Are you easily distracted? Do you write with an outline or freestyle? Does your book require research? Are you working towards publication or just scratching something off your bucket list?images

The truth is I don’t even know how long it takes me to write a novel.

In 2007, I took a three-month work hiatus to write and edit a 75,000 word chick-litty book. It was light, fast content that didn’t so much as nick my soul, so three months was all I needed. I started I LIKED MY LIFE while working 60+ hour weeks, paused several years to procreate, spent another year working fulltime and writing, then quit to focus solely on the book. I had a draft in hand, but it was a hot mess. It took 4-5 months of revisions to be query-ready, and then I put in another year (3 separate rounds of edits) with agent guidance. The night I wrote the first sentence to the day the book sold spanned nine years.

slowlyI wrote a second book recently that took 3 months, but it’s a draft—a spine without feet or a head. It needs at least 2 months of fulltime love before I show my editor and agent, and then another 2 to incorporate their feedback. Or 3. Or 4.

The only thing I know for certain is this: much like delivering a baby, once I LIKED MY LIFE is out in the world I won’t be thinking about how long it took. It will be worth it.

The following two tabs change content below.
Abby Fabiaschi is the author of I LIKED MY LIFE (St. Martin's Press, February 2017). She and her family divide their time between Tampa, Florida and Park City, Utah. When not writing or watching the comedy show that is her children, she enjoys reading across genres, skiing, hiking, and yoga. Oh, and travel. Who doesn’t love vacation? Learn more at abbyfabiaschi.com.

Latest posts by Abby Fabiaschi (see all)

Author: Abby Fabiaschi

Abby Fabiaschi is the author of I LIKED MY LIFE (St. Martin's Press, February 2017). She and her family divide their time between Tampa, Florida and Park City, Utah. When not writing or watching the comedy show that is her children, she enjoys reading across genres, skiing, hiking, and yoga. Oh, and travel. Who doesn’t love vacation? Learn more at abbyfabiaschi.com.

4 Replies to “It takes as long as it takes…”

  1. “I won’t be thinking about how long it took.”

    And (this is the important part) neither will anybody else. I took quite a few literature courses on the road to a degree, and I have a lot of friends who recommend books to me, and nobody has ever mentioned how much (or little) time it took to write a given book. Not once.

  2. Except you’ll be amazed at how often the question comes up, in blog interviews, book club discussions, media questionnaires…so trust me, you will be thinking about it 😉 However, there’s no judgement with it! My first, never to be seen, book took about 6 years to write. My most recent book took 3.5 months to write and 2 months to revise. I’ve gotten speedier AND better, no question, but mostly b/c I’ve LEARNED some of the rules of the game, and that has made life infinitely easier. But process fascinates people (can’t tell you how often I talk about my 5am writing sessions, which most find barbaric), so yeah, you’ll be thinking about it LOL

  3. Great post. I pray one day I can be in the position where I can reflect back, and not care how long it took to deliver my “baby”, but appreciate the process put in to getting it out there.

Comments are closed.