How Long Does It Take to Write a Book? Find Out Now!

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Dreaming about writing a book is one of the most exciting parts of writing. The writing part? Well, that’s when it gets a little harder. Once you’ve written out the few scenes you had a clear vision for, you inevitably hit writer’s block. Then you can’t help but wonder: how long does it take to write a book anyway? This question is one that haunts every aspiring author. And the truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some churn out novels in months; others take years.

The length of time depends on various factors such as genre, word count, personal writing speed, and life circumstances. You might be juggling this with a full-time job or managing family commitments. But don’t worry! Whether you’re aiming for 50k words or an epic saga over 100k words, we have insights that’ll help you map out your journey.

Factors That Affect How Long It Takes to Write a Book

If you’re wondering how long it takes to write a book, the answer is: it depends. Every author’s writing process is unique, and the time it takes to complete a book can vary greatly. However, several key factors influence the average writing time.

Book Length and Genre

The length and complexity of your book will impact how long it takes to write. Novels and non-fiction books that require extensive research generally take longer than shorter works like novellas or memoirs. For example, a fiction book with an 80,000 word count might take 6-8 months, while a 40,000-word self-help book could be completed in just a few months.

Writing Schedule and Consistency

The book-writing timeline differs from author to author. It depends on how much time you can set aside for writing and how many words you’re able to write during each session. Establishing a consistent writing routine can help you make steady progress and write faster.

Experience Level and Writing Skills

General speculation suggests that first-time authors take about 1-2 years to complete a book. Learning curves and the need for extensive rewriting often stretch out timelines for new writers compared to more experienced authors. As you hone your writing skills and develop a more efficient writing process, you’ll likely be able to write subsequent books faster.

Research and Planning

The time it takes to complete a book is influenced by various factors, including the complexity of the subject matter. Books that require extensive research or world-building, such as historical fiction or fantasy epics, may take significantly longer than projects in other genres. Investing time in thorough planning and outlining can help streamline the actual writing process.

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Average Time to Write a Book Based on Word Count

One of the most significant factors influencing how long it takes to write a book is the target word count. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, understanding the average writing time for different word counts can help you set realistic expectations for your own book writing process.

50,000 to 80,000 Words

For a typical novel ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 words, the average time to write a complete first draft is around 3-7 months when writing consistently. In other words, you’d have to write between 400-600 words a day to meet this goal. However, many authors take significantly longer to perfect their manuscripts. The ideal word count for your book depends on your genre and target audience.

80,000 to 100,000 Words

Longer novels between 80,000 to 100,000 words, which are common in genres like fantasy, historical fiction, and literary fiction, often take authors 6 months to a year to draft. The increased word count and plot complexity add to the writing time. Keep in mind that the length of your book will impact not only the writing process but also the editing and publishing stages.

Over 100,000 Words

For books exceeding 100,000 words, such as expansive non-fiction works or epic novels, authors may spend a year or longer just on the first draft. Researching, outlining, and revising these lengthy projects can extend the timeline to several years in some cases. It’s essential to break down the writing process into manageable chunks and set achievable milestones to stay motivated throughout the journey.

Writing Speed and Daily Word Count Goals

Your writing speed and daily word count goals play a significant role in determining how long it takes to write your book. By understanding your own writing habits and setting realistic targets, you can establish a sustainable writing process that helps you complete your book in a timely manner.

Slow and Steady Approach

Authors who prefer a slow and steady approach may set a modest daily word count goal of 500-1,000 words. At this pace, writing a complete draft can take several months to a year, but it allows for a more manageable and less stressful writing process. In fact, renowned author Terry Pratchett set his writing goal at 400 words a day, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t churning out as much as your writer friends. Consistency is key, so aim to write during your most productive hours each day.

Intensive Writing Sprints

Some authors engage in intensive writing sessions, aiming to write a higher volume of words in a short period. This may involve setting aside dedicated weeks or months to focus solely on the book and striving for 2,000-5,000 words per day. While this approach can lead to a faster first draft, it requires significant discipline and may not be sustainable for all writers. Be sure to balance intensive writing sprints with periods of rest and reflection.

Finding Your Ideal Writing Pace

Ultimately, the ideal writing pace varies from author to author. Some may thrive under the pressure of ambitious daily word counts, while others prefer a more relaxed approach. Experimenting with different writing routines and tracking your progress can help you find a sustainable pace that works for you. Remember, the key is to maintain consistency and make steady progress towards your goal of completing your book.

Famous Authors and Their Book Writing Timelines

Crafting a novel involves extensive research, revisions, and fine-tuning sentences, which can significantly extend the writing process. But what about some of the most famous authors in history? How long did it take them to write their masterpieces?

Stephen King

Known for his prolific output, Stephen King has published over 60 novels and more than 200 short stories. While he’s known for his speedy writing, it still takes him several months to complete a novel.

For example, King wrote the first draft of The Shining in just four months, but spent several more months revising and editing. His novel 11/22/63 took him over two years to research and write.

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell, author of the classic Gone with the Wind, spent ten years writing her epic novel. She began writing in 1926, but didn’t finish until 1936. Mitchell was a perfectionist and extensively researched the Civil War era to ensure historical accuracy.

William Faulkner

William Faulkner, known for his complex, stream-of-consciousness style, was a relatively fast writer. He wrote As I Lay Dying in just six weeks and The Sound and the Fury in six months. However, he spent years editing and revising his work to achieve his distinctive style.

These famous authors demonstrate that there’s no one “right” timeline for writing a book. Some authors can crank out a draft in a matter of weeks, while others may take years to perfect their prose. The key is finding a writing process that works for you and staying dedicated to your craft.

Tips for Writing Your Book Faster

While writing a book is a time-consuming process, there are strategies you can use to speed things up without sacrificing quality. Below are some tips to help you write your book faster.

Set a Writing Schedule

Establishing a consistent writing schedule is crucial for making steady progress on your book. Block out dedicated writing time in your daily or weekly routine, and treat it as a non-negotiable commitment. Having a set schedule helps you build momentum and keeps your project moving forward.

Break Down Your Writing Goals

Break down your overall book-writing goal into smaller, manageable milestones. Set achievable targets for each writing session, whether it’s a word count or a specific scene or chapter you want to complete. Celebrating these smaller victories can help maintain motivation and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Minimize Distractions

Eliminate distractions during your designated writing time to maximize productivity. Find a quiet workspace, turn off notifications on your devices, and resist the urge to check social media or emails. Use tools like website blockers or noise-canceling headphones to create a focused environment conducive to writing.

Embrace Imperfection in Your First Draft

Embrace the idea that your first draft will be imperfect. Avoid getting bogged down in constant self-editing or striving for perfection right away. Instead, focus on getting your ideas down on paper and maintaining forward momentum. You can always revise and refine your work during the editing phase.

Remember, the key to writing your book faster is consistency and dedication. By setting a schedule, breaking down your goals, minimizing distractions, and embracing imperfection, you’ll be well on your way to completing your book in record time.

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FAQs on How Long It Takes to Write a Book

How long does it take to write your first book?

First-timers often spend 1-2 years crafting their masterpiece. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, balancing writing with life.

How long does it take the average person to write a book?

On average, it takes about 6 months to a year. Consistency and dedication speed things up or slow them down.

How long does it take to write a 300-page book?

Around 4-8 months if you’re pushing out words daily. The pace varies based on research needs and writing habits.

How long does it take J.K. Rowling to write a book?

J.K. Rowling spent six years from start to finish on “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”


Writing a book isn’t just about hitting word counts; it’s about consistency and dedication over time. You’ve learned that—whether it’s 3 months or several years—each writer’s timeline is unique.

The key takeaway? Set realistic goals based on your pace and stick with them. Dedicate yourself to writing that book and getting those pages written day by day. Before long, you’ll be holding your book in your hands, knowing it was all worth it.


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