A bog standard novel is about 80 thousand words long, and if you write at a good clip each day, it will take about sixty to nine days to write the first draft.
When you have finished the first draft, you print it out, read it carefully, and then you write it all again; correcting errors and flaws and inconsistencies.
Even if you only ever write two drafts, a novel easily clocks six months during which you’re working on nothing else. Most writers, I think, write more than two drafts. One writer I know of wrote between ten and fifteen. She was still working on book number two after ten years as a writer.
This is the bit that culls the herd of wannabe writers from the real ones. The chasm of words that lie before you is the size of Grand Canyon, and you have to traverse every inch of it to the other side without giving up.
And the writers who make it, are the ones that have the stamina and the discipline to go on to The End. As a challenge, writing a novel is like climbing unaided to the peak of Mount Everest. Those who prefer to ‘have written’, instead of ‘to write’, generally do not make it this far. They will become critics instead.
If you pardon my language, writing a novel is a Big Fucking Job. This is why I refrain from actually trying to write novels these days. I just don’t have the time to spend to do it properly. I have written first drafts during vacations and such, but I never get past the first draft stage. When I’ve written a first draft, blammo, now school starts up again and I have to abandon it with just that first draft.
But, I’ve talked about finding a project. Since my novella keeps mushrooming into a novel – I write, then find I’ve added new sub-plots, and then I prune them away – maybe I should just accept fate and write it as a novel.