NaNoWriMo sets would-be authors on a quest to write a 50,000-word book in 30 days. That’s an average of 1,667 words a day. Not a bad clip, right? Of course, that’s the first draft. The ensuing rewriting and editing phase can amount to considerably longer (this coming from someone who is just readying a final draft from 2015’s NaNoWriMo challenge). This infographic might help put things in some perspective, considering that famous works of literature, of varying lengths and esteem, took anywhere from three days to 16 years to complete. And book length does not always correlate to time spent writing.

“How Long Did it Take to Write the World’s Most Famous Books?,” published by Printerinks.com, shows that, at over 58,000 words in length, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde took a mere six days to write – Robert Louis Stevenson had to write 4,482 words per day on average to finish the book within this timeframe – while J. D. Salinger averaged 20 words a day to finish his 73,000-word classic The Catcher in the Rye over a 10-year span.

As you whiz through your novel in a matter of days, wondering if it could possibly this easy, or struggle, week by agonizing week, wondering if it’s worth the fight, this infographic may help you recognize that every book has its journey, and every journey has its path. Yours may take a month, a year, who knows? Don’t give up, your Song of Ice and Fire will emerge as long as you keep writing.

This infographic originally appeared on printerinks.com.

how long did it take to write your favorite book?

Free guides to writing, publishing, blogging, and more!

Related Posts
A historical tour of pen names [Infographic]
The opposite writing habits of famous authors [Infographic]
Reading Benefits Your Mind And Body [Infographic]
Famous writers’ insults [Infographic]
What tools did famous authors use to write their popular books? [Infographic]

Andre Calilhanna

About Andre Calilhanna

Andre Calilhanna has written 17 posts in this blog.

Andre Calilhanna is the editor and manager of the BookBaby blog. He's a musician, songwriter, writer, marketer, massage therapist, husband, dad, and soon to be author.

9 thoughts on “How Long Did It Take To Write Your Favorite Book?

  1. w.k. dwyer says:

    not sure whether to feel embarrassed or vindicated for taking 9 years for my first novel. i’ll get back to ya in a few years 🙂

    1. John Allan says:

      I’m on 8 and counting. So …

  2. Very interesting! Thanks for the infographic.

    I believe there’s an accidental error with the word count mentioned for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You’ve stated it’s over 58,000 words, but a few sources I checked show the word count to be just under 27,000 words, which matches the math you’ve listed at 4,482 words per day. Regardless, 27k in 6 days is still impressive!

    1. John Allan says:

      Or a little under 10,000 words a day. Except the novel is not 58,000 words, but less than half that, precise count undetermined. But, yes, still impressive.

  3. Anonymole says:

    X weeks to write, Y months to edit, Z years to publish. I wonder if any of that is in this data.

  4. Now I’ve written only four books in my life, all non-fiction, but it’s my strong sense that if you deconstruct the writing effort, eliminating all the procrastination and BS, there’s rarely more than six months of ACTUAL WRITING ever involved. Sometimes it takes less time: my first book took 93 days to write, for example, because I stupidly agreed to deliver the 96,000 word manuscript in 90 days.

  5. Carol says:

    OMG this makes me feel so much better! Sometimes I feel so hopeless that I will never finish this thing. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *