Sunday, June 7, 2009

How long did it take to write your book?

Honestly. As if Facebook and Twitter aren't bad enough, I found another silly way to spend my time.

When I finished writing tonight I backed up some files. A lot of files, because I was overdue. When old files were to be replaced, I was prompted to confirm the overwrite. This got me thinking.

How long have I been working on these books, anyway? Tonight's time waster then became generating a chronology for each project based on the time stamps I found on all my old computer files. People sometimes ask me how long it took to write the book and I make vague estimates. Here are the actual facts in their painfully slow glory.

Final Approach
Started first draft: January 2004
Time to complete first draft: 3 years*
Time to complete second draft: 7 months (incorporating comments from critique partners)
Time to complete third draft: 1 month (incorporating comments from freelance editor)
Begin querying agents: October, 2007 (stream of rejections starts immediately)
First contact with eventual publisher: February 2008
Signed with agent: June 2008
Signed with publisher: November 2008
Release date: October 2009
Total journey: Approximately five years

*The second year into my first draft, I didn't write an everlovin' word. Not one. All year. I gave up, sure I had no business trying. Now I wish I had that missed year of writing back. If you're thinking about writing and doubt is holding you back, please write it anyway.

Knock on wood, things look better for Book 2.

Book 2
Started first draft: February 2008
Abandoned first draft: June 2008
Started second draft: July 2008 (same premise, new characters)
Progress today: About halfway through a rough draft

If I finish a first draft in 2009 (my goal) it will have taken half the time as before. Stumbling upon this tonight was a huge motivator. The lesson: If I have to waste a little time here and there to motivate myself, so be it. See ya on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on being published.

    Just read an interview with Elmore Leonard in which he's asked whether, after 58 (!) novels, it gets any easier. He says, "No. You get harder to please."

    I love that line.