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How Long Does It Take to Write a Book? Budgeting Your Time

There are many benefits to writing a book, like increased credibility and visibility. But despite all these benefits, many people are reluctant to take the leap. One of the main concerns is that writing takes too much time. Of course, if you’re going to undertake such a project, it’s worth asking, “how long does it take to write a book?” The answer varies, but, with the right approach and mindset, writing a great book can take as little as two months.

"Rome wasn't built in a day," as the old saying goes. Cliché though it may be, the saying is true. If you want to create an empire, of which your book is a part, it won't happen in a day. Strategies must be deployed. Patience is necessary, too. It took 1,229 years to build the Roman Empire, from the beginning up until its collapse. Thankfully, though, writing isn't nearly as long. 

This blog article will cover four of the most important variables that influence how long it takes to write a book: your word count, your writing routine, your urgency, and your skills.

Word Count Economics: How Long It Takes to Write a Book Depends on the Word Count

Writing a book is like running a business. If you run a business, you must know the economics of your product or service. For example, if you sell a $10,000 package, then you know you must sell ten of those to make $100,000 per month. By looking at your marketing metrics, you should know which steps will allow you to sell ten packages.

The same is true of writing. You must know your word count economics. The trickiest part of figuring out how long writing a book takes is being able to predict how many words you can write in each period.

The first thing you need is to figure out how long your book should be. If you’re writing a lead magnet, you’ll write from 5,000 to 10,000 words. If you write a client primer, you’ll write from 10,000 to 30,000 words. And if you write a leadership and philosophy book, you’ll write from 30,000 to 60,000 words.

Our clients at Trivium Writing use our unique method—a hybrid between writing coaching and ghostwriting—which allows them to write around 900 words an hour. Let’s break down the word count economics based on our method and recommendations:

  • 900 words/day
  • 7,500 words/week
  • 30,000 words/month

Keep an eye on your word count in your document:

check your word count in MS wordNow that you have an idea of word count economics, you need to find out how often you can write and how long.

Writing Routine: How Long it Takes to Write a Book Depends on How Long and How Often You Write

It goes without saying that how long it takes to write a book depends on your writing routine. At Trivium Writing, we recommend writing in one-hour sessions because it takes some time to get in the zone. We also recommend writing every day.

That said, life gets in the way and it’s not always possible to write every single day. What we recommend at Trivium Writing is to calculate weekly averages instead of daily averages. This way, it’s easier to track progress without beating ourselves up.

To find out exactly how long it would take for you to write a book, you need to understand your writing process. The better prepared you are for writing, the easier it is to write a lot. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself about this process:

  • How much time does it take you to get in “the zone”?
  • How much time can you stay in “the zone”?
  • When is it easiest for you to write?
  • Where is it easiest for you to write?
  • When can you make the time for writing?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a good idea of what your ideal process looks like. If you’d like to make sure your process is as fast and efficient as possible—while also making your book the best—book a call with us to see how we can help.

When working out your writing routine, make sure you look at your schedule holistically. This means you need to look at all your other activities and you decide when you write based on when you are the most optimal.

For example, I schedule my high-output activities (green) in the afternoon because that is when I have the most energy. Moreover, I choose to do my personal writing in the evening, during the "personal work" blocks (green). That's because I feel more at peace after having completed my business-related work.

schedule your writing time

Writing Urgency: How Long it Takes to Write a Book Depends on How Fast You Want the Book Done

If you’re asking yourself how long it takes to write a book, you probably want to do it as fast and efficiently as possible. The first step to writing a book is to ask yourself why you want to write a book.

Asking why you want to write a book may sound obvious, but the reason is likely more profound than you think. Ask “why” at least five times to figure out your deep-seated motivations.

Do you want to write a book to grow your business? Do you want to write a book to strengthen your personal brand? Or do you want to write a book to leave a legacy? When do you want to hold the book in your hands?

Remember that you’ll always take as much time as you give yourself. This is backed by Parkinson's law, which states that "work expands to fill the time allocated."

Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion

Writing Process: How Long it Takes to Write a Book Depends on Your Writing Skills

While we won’t talk about the publishing process in this blog post, it’s necessary to talk about revising editing. Once you’re done writing your book, you need to revise and edit your book to make sure it’s professional.

When it comes to revising and editing, you should always get professional help from experts in the field. That said, you want to make sure your writing is as good as possible in your first draft to avoid editors changing too much of your writing.

If you’d like to improve your writing skills and make sure to avoid and revising/editing horror stories, check out Trivium Writing’s proprietary method. With this method, you’ll have the best odds on your side to write a solid first draft.

How long it takes to write a book depends entirely on you and your process. Your word count, your writing routine, your urgency, and your writing skills are the most important variables in this equation. You can write your book as quickly or as slowly as you want.

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Leandre Larouche

Article by Leandre Larouche

Leandre Larouche is a writer, coach, and the founder of Trivium Writing.