♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
How many hours a day do you write?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. We appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
The best answer is: it depends. Writing on a schedule can sometimes happen. Writing when the whim takes me happens. So to speak of my process as one particular way is not being honest or doing those seeking answers any favors.
I’ve written about the process before. The most important thing I talk about, which I’ve shared on YouTube, in this hop, and in other posts is: write according to your own schedule, not what others expect of you or what they expect of themselves. Don’t force it unless a deadline is breathing down your neck. The amount of work to refine such writing will inevitably be too much to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, deadlines can make that a necessity.
If you set your own deadlines, be sure to give yourself more time than you think you need to complete your work (at each step, too). You can use the left over time to rest and/or plan the next steps. Because resting is just as important as actually writing. I’d dare say that it is more important.
When you don’t take care of yourself and set too rigorous a schedule, you and your work will suffer. That is why I don’t have a set schedule for daily writing. I don’t believe in it. I think that forcing yourself to abide schedules is just another way to feel like a failure, because you will inevitably not meet the goal, many times over.
Some writers thrive with strict schedules. That doesn’t mean that is THE recipe for success, and it certainly doesn’t prove a writer more passionate than another about the art form. There’s an awful lot of bad advice on the internet, and a good portion of it exists to make the giver feel superior while the receiver feels inadequate. Be sure you know that before you go looking. If you think something might work for you, then—great. However, don’t for one minute feel you must take advice because it is presented by a supposed expert. Writing advice isn’t one size fits all. None of it is YOUR formula for success. You’ll have to experiment to find those answers.
As for me, I write when I either need to or want to, and I set no deadlines. A work is going to take the time it needs to be finished. Forcing it into existence, and then rushing it to publication creates poorly realized works. When I see an author publishing yearly, I cringe. Of course it is possible to produce a pristine and excellent work in that time frame for the rare and prolific artist. One would have to be exceptionally skilled and have unbridled resources in order to follow all the steps required for publication. That, more often than not, is not what happens. It is more likely people do a couple drafts, proof and edit their own work, and design a cover that is either moderately acceptable or not at all. More often than not, the writer could have produced quality work having taken more time. (Never, ever, ever edit your own work, unless you are absolutely given no other choice. Don’t even rely on yourself to proofread it alone.)
In general, I write a draft in one to two months. Then, I let it sit, while I rest, and let it bubble up from my brain that I do or don’t have everything that should be in it written down. Key is that I take a respite—oh, say a couple weeks to a month. Then, I prepare another draft. Often this is where new things hit me. I cull some of the wordiness and finalize characters. A couple more drafts later, a proof, and having my computer read it to me, I then reach out to an editor, who takes several weeks if not months to pore over the pages. I may go back and forth with them for a couple rounds. Then it’s time to proof, and, ideally, this should be done by yet another set of eyes beside the author’s. At that time, I set the book aside, and have the cover designed. That designer takes quite some time to get the work completed, and every single cover I’ve had produced by him has been stunning. I get a lot of compliments about my covers, and they’re super important for garnering the right attention to the book. At that point, I hopefully have a book blurb hammered out to give him and the interior design completed, too (yet another person). So, in reality, my books can take a few years to come up on their legs. Each step relies on an outside effort, which only improves the quality of the work. I give those people the time they need to do the best job they can. Sure I could just slap it together in months then publish it. It would basically be the same book, sort of—a low quality photograph of it.
When it comes to writing, I view the creation of a book like a master project. Mastery is the point; mastery of one’s art. First of all, the final book is a reflection on me and my ability from the moment it hits the shelf. That reflection better be runway ready! If not, readers won’t trust me, moving forward. Colleagues likely won’t want to work with me, and I will have failed myself. Digging back up from that is hard. Very.
The crux of my advice: take your time and give the work every chance to be something truly special. After all, you are special. Your work should be too.
Hop around the blogs of the other authors to find their answers. Click one of the links below: