How long does it take to write the first draft of a novel?

. . . when you’re working full time and commuting two hours a day?

Forensic evidence suggests that I started my novel in April 2016 and finished its 123,000 glorious words in September 2017. So, 17 months. Seven thousand words a month. Less than 2,000 words a week. Maybe a page a day. Is that impressive, or awful?

After discussing the final chapters with my cold-eyed writing group, I now need to begin the second draft by recalibrating the climax. Also, I need another title. How many months is that gonna take?

6 thoughts on “How long does it take to write the first draft of a novel?

  1. Stephen King claims he writes no less than 2000 words a day. But Graham Greene and Hemingway have been pegged at 500. Tom Wolfe took 11 years to finish A Man In Full. And today we are advised that Nicole Krause’s new 290-page novel (about a blocked writer) is her first in seven years. To me, time is basically irrelevant. The miracle is that the novel was written at all.


    • Dear Rich: Yeah. What Jeff said.Remember: we know where you live! (And if we forget, other M will give us instructions!)
      “Cold eyed”. Hmph!
      And by the way, Jeff, shouldn’t “cold-eyed” have a hyphen…?


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