How long does it take to produce a novel?
As I prepare to write the last chapter of my fourth novel it dawned on me I don’t really know how long it takes me to write a novel. Since starting this new enterprise which has transformed my life, given me a passion and direction as strong as my family and faith, but that I can directly focus and work on daily, I have not been able to work on a book from start to finish.
When I finished my first book I sent it off to be edited, and started my second book. Before finishing my second book I got the corrections back on the first one and jumped into correcting them. Then I published my first book and moved back to finishing the second. I sent it off to be edited and started my writing my third book. I got the corrections back to the second book and was halfway through fixing it when I found a new editor and began re-editing the second book again.
It has been writing, stop go back and edit – make changes, rewrite, and correct a past work, publish it on-line, then back to writing. I know holding down a full time job, trying to spend enough time with your family so they don’t exile you, especially your spouse and writing books, and editing them is similar to two full time jobs. The weeks fly by and your life becomes a blur.
I have begun remembering occasions and events which have happened by when they were in relation to writing a particular book, or the editing and publishing of a book. Then there is the days where you get nothing done because between work and trying to write a blog post, tweet about your FREE days on Amazon for your book, Google Plus, Face Book, and trying to be as social as hell when inside you just want to sit in a closet with your computer and get another chapter or two knocked out for your next book.
I thought about trying to keep a writing log to record the hours I am actually writing on a particular book but alas that would be one more thing to do and that would keep me from actually writing. So no, I have no idea how long it takes to write a book.
I know the writing is just the fun and exciting part for me. Later you have to pick the perfect title, cover art and then write those horrible little pieces where you have to describe your book in 200 characters in a way that makes people want to read it without revealing or giving everything away about the story. Just shoot me. That is so hard, especially for the person who just dreamed up, twisted and intertwined 100,000 + words of their heartfelt work into a hopefully entertaining and exciting new novel. Now just belch it out, super mini synopsis!
Then there is the editing and rewriting, the changing the little phrases and details that sometimes demand the need to further make changes to the entire novel. The painstakingly slow march through your work multiple times until you can’t stand to read it one more time. But you know it is good and all this work is to make it as good as it can possibly be for your readers, so it must be done. Each time you realize you must make another romp through the same pages you can almost see in your head by now makes your heart sink in agony.
Then when you get back to chapter nineteen of the book you were working one you have to re-read the entire thing so you don’t make any silly mistakes because you forgot you already made a point, dropped a hint, mentioned that persons eye color in chapter two. It can be maddening!
It is maddening! It drives me crazy to a degree beyond the manic obsessive compulsive person I already am! Why do I love it so?! Why do I feel like I am not living if I am not writing? Where does this compulsion to make these stories up about imaginary characters and the over whelming need to write it all down for others to correct, judge, and criticize later?
When you have published your first book and get that that first great review from someone you have no idea who they are or where they come from but they got it! They totally understood your purpose, the story, the underlying elements within the story, then you will understand why writers are so driven to give that reader the next chapters to the saga. To paraphrase Paul Harvey the great radio announcer I grew up listening to, “So now you know the rest of the story.”