As a writer who can genuinely say I’ve written and finished a novel (finally!!), one of the most popular questions I am asked (as I am sure most authors are) is how long it took me to write it. The shocking (or maybe not so shocking) answer? About two years. Holy hell! you might be thinking. Two freaking years?! Why that’s preposterous! Yes, yes it is. But there’s a perfectly logical explanation.
There are so many different contributing factors to that ridiculously long timeframe. Some of which include the fact that I have a full time job that has nothing to do with writing, along with horrible time management skills which leave me almost entirely incapable of maintaining focus on any one particular project at a time. But aside from all that, another huge reason that writing a book takes so, so long is research! I’m pretty sure any author can attest to this fact. One of the fundamentals of writing a compelling, believable, relatable story is by conducting a significant amount of thorough research. And when I say research, I mean
Soooo much research! As I was working on my first novel, Personified, I wish I had actually kept track of all the hours I spent fact checking, analyzing maps, researching legends, looking up meanings of words and names, translations, timelines etc. etc. If I had kept track, I’m pretty sure I’d find that nearly half of the time I spent working on Personified wasn’t spent writing it, it was that blasted research. Why so much research? Well depending on the subject, as well as the location of your story, it’s imperative that everything makes sense. Even if you’re writing a work of fiction, there has to be a certain level of logic applied or you run the risk of telling an implausible story. Unrealistic storyline = disengaged reader = bad news for reader and author.
But sadly enough, the research doesn’t end at the writing phase. Oooh no! It goes far beyond that! As I ventured into editing, proofreading, publishing, I found there was a lot I didn’t know. So many steps in the process I hadn’t realized were necessary or even how to carry out each step. That’s where more of that lovely research came into play. But you know what? I can’t gripe on research too much, these days it’s relatively painless to obtain an abundance of knowledge on practically anything fathomable. I’m so thankful for the internet and the vast amount of information that’s out there, so easily available. I don’t even want to think about how tedious of a process it was and how long writers spent on research prior to Google and smartphones.
Now that I’ve actually gone through and experienced the entire daunting process of writing and publishing a book for myself, I’ll never again complain about having to wait a whole year for the next installment of a beloved series. (I might whimper just a little, but it’s completely out of love!).
So please, folks, if you retain nothing else from this rambling tirade, remember this – as a reader, stop being such a crybaby (I can’t make any promises myself, haha). And as a writer, do your freaking research!
Peace and love