They say the creation of a fine wine takes time. Is the same true for a great book? Not necessarily.
I’m not the one to tell you that you can write a great book in a weekend. I won’t even suggest that you can do it in a week. (The operative word here is “great,” by the way.)
Oh sure, you could pump out a mediocre booklet in a few days. But if quality is what you’re shooting for, you’ll want to give it more time than that. By “quality,” I mean a book with content that makes sense to readers, that teaches or inspires them in some way, that has a clear flow, and few to no errors. (Errors can be fixed by hiring a copy editor; you just need to get through the first draft.)
How long does it take to write a great book?
There’s no magic time frame. There’s no exact number of weeks or months. And, for goodness sake, please don’t think it takes years. The amount of time it takes to write a great book varies by the author, for a number of reasons:
- The author’s level of commitment to the project and the process
- The author’s urgency to finish by a specified date
- Life circumstances: things come up, work gets busy, distractions arise, and other such stuff.
These, among other things, impact the amount of time it takes to write a great book. Notice that ability isn’t on the list. That’s by design because I don’t allow my clients off the hook when they try to use lack of ability as an excuse not to write. We’re all capable of penning our stories with a little help.
So back to the time issue. Ever hear of Parkinson’s Law? It states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Simply put, the more time you give yourself to complete a task the longer it takes. That’s a fact, whether you believe it or not.
So, the answer to the question “How long should it take to write my book?” is “However long you say it’s going to take.”
Probably not what you want to hear, but it’s true nonetheless.
So if you’d prefer to use the “Iʼm so busy” excuse, or “I’m not a good writer” or “There’s too much going on in my life right now” to not sit down and write the book you’ve been wanting to write, you might reconsider writing and publishing your book right now.
If, however, you’re ready to overcome these excuses and write the book, I encourage you to decide how much time you’re willing to commit to writing your first draft, then get it done. After all, whatever time you give it is how long it will take. So be strict with yourself and get the book done.
Anita R. Henderson is president of The Write Image, LLC and creator of Write Your Life. Her work with professionals and entrepreneurs has resulted in multiple award-winning books and has helped authors grow their media and online visibility, speaker platforms, industry credibility, and overall confidence in their ability to write a compelling, high-quality book and leverage it in their business or career.