Writing a Book – How Long Does it Take

How many times have you been told, “If you want to be treated as an un cours en miracles.” It’s probably the most common piece of advice beyond, “Sell stuff over the internet and make tons of money quickly and easily.” While the second is dubious at best, the truth is that being perceived as an expert and writing books are closely related.

But one of the concerns that prevents most people from writing a book is the length of time it takes.

There’s a popular myth of the starving writer locked away in a Paris garret, pounding away on his ancient typewriter for years on end. Writing and rewriting the words until finally the book is sent out to popular frenzy and critical acclaim. Of course, that’s not how things work.

There are a number of different book sizes. For example, many traditional eBooks are actually white papers or reports in disguise. Fifty pages is long for these. However, for expert marketing purposes you really need to have either an executive length book as a minimum. These books run from roughly 50 to 200 pages in length.

There is a big difference between fiction writing and non-fiction writing. Many of the myths grew up around fiction writing. They simply aren’t true when it comes to non-fiction. Writing fiction is much harder than writing non-fiction. And it takes much longer. Fortunately, if you are using a book to enhance your market perception as an expert, you don’t have to worry about fiction. You need to write non-fiction. More specifically, you need to present your professional message in book form.

Part of the reason that fiction writing is much more difficult than non-fiction writing is the complexity of the systems for each. Much of the speed of writing a non-fiction book has to do with how your system helps you to identify exactly what you will be writing for each paragraph in the book. A good system will help you to identify each paragraph in the book without having to spend an inordinate amount of time. Effectively you write the book during a design task. Typically, designing and structurally editing a book will take between one hour and eight hours spread over a week or more.

Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of designing your book in detail, you need to sit down and write it. Of course, different people write at different speeds. Moreover, writing a book involves a different type of writing. For example, article writers often claim to be able to produce an article in fifteen minutes. This means they would be able to write at least 16,000 words (or 64 pages) per day. If they could maintain that speed! Of course, sprinting is different from running a marathon. Most people consider maintaining roughly 1250 words (or 5 pages) per hour to be a good rate. That means you should be able to write a 100-page book in roughly 20 hours plus design and editing time.

The next question is, “How long can you write?” Many full-time writers spend half their day writing and half the day on other tasks. This allows them to write continuously without wasting time switching tasks. Others write in a burst over three or four days and then take time off to recover. However, you need to decide for yourself how much time you can spend.

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