Today's blog and podcast helps answer a question I often get asked: how long does it really take to write a book, or to self-publish a book. I'm going to share real data from 3 books I published last year under my pen name, plus I'll share just how many days I wrote in 2019 overall - the stats might shock you, so be prepared to start shifting your mindset over just how much you 'need' to write in order to be an author.
You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and more. Find links to all the apps here. If you like listening to the audio on video, you can also watch via my YouTube channel, or just read the transcript for the episode, too (you'll find it at the bottom of the page). You can also support the podcast (and me!) on Patreon!
Before we get into it, here are some caveats to keep in mind:
- This data is based on MY process. Different authors have different aspects in their writing/publishing timeline which could make things longer. For example, another author might have beta readers (which I don't), which would also add to the overall publishing and editing timeline. So take that into consideration when thinking about these totals in relation to your own process.
- I've published over 20 novels, so I have my process and timing pretty much down. If you're writing your first novel, things will be different (more on that further down the article).
- I am not a data scientist, but I do love data. If you see any glaring errors in my adding, let me know. Otherwise, just recognize this is not an official scientific study.
- I'd love for you to share this article and link back to this page, but please don't use any images, data, etc. without my permission (all information is copyrighted). If you'd like to request permission to share anything, please contact me.
- HOWEVER YOU WRITE AND PUBLISH IS GREAT! Don't look at my numbers and think you need to achieve the same. Don't force your process to match anyone else's (not even mine). Find what works for you.
let's compare data across 3 books
Below are tables showing 3 different books. Two of the books are in the same series, and another is in a different series. Book C is the most recent book published.
Here's some info on my general writing process:
- I write/edit an initial draft.
- Then I send the book to a developmental editor.
- I make more edits once I get the book back.
- Then I send the book to a copyeditor.
- Then I make final edits.
After the manuscript is finalized, I'll work on the other aspects of self-publishing (the covers, getting the ebook file finalized, marketing, etc.). Sometimes I'll do the covers while the book is with an editor, but it usually doesn't take me long to do the actual cover (and, yes, I do my own book covers). The longest piece of that is just finding the right images I want to use and blend together.
In regards to my editors, they've given me a basic estimate of how many hours they spend on my books. Sometimes it might be shorter, sometimes longer, but I'll use the same numbers below as the average. I love time tracking, but it's not fair for me to ask my editors to do that on every book I write, so I'm using the general timings they've shared with me for all my books.
Of course, none of the times below take into consider all those moments (for me or my editors) when I'm/they're thinking about the book at random moments. I'm often considering plot points on my commute to/from the day job, while I wait in lines, or other times, so the writing/editing numbers are likely an UNDERESTIMATE. I've listed the times as hours and minutes and rounded the seconds (yes, I've tracked things down to the second!) just to keep things looking a little cleaner.
Okay, let's dive in!
Let's take a look at BOOK A. Spending 3 months working on the 1st draft is fairly typical for me. If you've followed me for a while, you know that I typically only write on weekends (and the odd weekday or day off from work). My dev editor also takes about the same.
Depending on the feedback I get from my dev editor, I might need to spend more (or less) time on edits afterwards. For BOOK A, this internal editing time was pretty minimal, though the writing time was pretty standard for me (more on that a little later).
All of the shaded tasks are the non-writing related tasks - creating the book cover, setting up pre-orders at the various vendors (Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, & Google Books), etc. Other pre-pub tasks includes linking the book to my author page on Amazon (this why that number is high at 265 - it took several days to update for this book). Other marketing includes crafting/prepping newsletters for release days or pre-order promotions, making images for various social media sites, etc. I also included publishing day tasks as a separate line item because I like to track how long those take (updating my website, posting on social, etc.).
Overall BOOK A took me about 539 hours to complete over about 9 months.
BOOK B was similar to BOOK A in several respects - the writing time was similar and most of the non-writing tasks were similar in the amount of time needed to complete. Two main differences: this book took longer to edit after my dev editor returned it to me, and the time needed to link the book to my Amazon author page took less time.
Overall BOOK B took me less overall time to complete than BOOK A - about 382 hours over about 9 months.
BOOK C took me a little longer to write, though the editing time was similar to BOOK B. The cover took me longer to complete, but linking the book to my Amazon author page took even less time than the previous books.
Overall BOOK C took me less overall time to complete than BOOK A and BOOK B - about 354 hours over about 11 months. The 11 months was mostly due to the longer pre-order window (3 months compared to only 3 weeks for the previous 2 books).
Let's compare just the writing
Now that we've looked at the individual books, let's compare just the writing time. I've also included approximate word counts just so you get a sense of the differences from my first draft to my last draft.
Here's where the power of knowing your data comes in. Looking across all three books, I can see that the average time needed for me to write a book is 65-70 hours. Think about that. 70 hours spread across 3 months.
If you knew you needed to schedule 70 hours of writing over 3 months to finish your book, would you do it? Think about that. Even if you only wrote 1,000 words an hour, you could finish a 70,000 word novel in probably less than 3 months without needing to write every day. Also take a look at the word counts. I add another 5K-10K after I get the book back from my dev editor.
YOUR FIRST DRAFT DOESN'T NEED TO BE PERFECT. IT JUST NEEDS TO BE DONE.
Now that I'm working on the fantasy series I'll publish under my own name, I know that first draft will be longer. And I have written books longer than 70K. And shorter than 60K. Don't hold yourself to a certain word count because you think you 'have' to write that much. If you do, you'll just end up frustrated. WRITE THE STORY, NOT THE WORD COUNT. Write the words and the story coming to you, and don't worry that much about the final count. Use words counts as a guide to help you plan.
Now it is true that if you're traditionally-publishing your books, your publisher/editor may want a certain word count, and you may need to force yourself to meet that, but you can still use words counts as a guide to help you plan just how much time you need to budget to write your book.
Another thing to note about writing is that these three books obviously overlapped. While I usually don't write more than 1 book at the same time, I will write one book and edit another at the same time. So those 3 months Book A was with my dev editor, I was working on a different book during that time. And even during my various editing blocks, I'll still write a little in the morning in one book, before I dive into edits on another.
Overlapping books like this is another way to finish more than one book in a year, but don't feel you need to do this too! If you can only work on one book at a time, that is okay. Remember - work with your creative flow, not against it.
tips for first-time authors & procrastinators
Now, if you're still working on your first book, as I mentioned before, your numbers may be vastly different and that's okay! If you're looking for a baseline to start with, I would recommend you budget double or triple the amount of time I've mentioned above.
Of course, you can budget all the time in the world but if you're not driven to complete your book, you're not likely to finish it.
Here's the thing - writing a book is overwhelming. It's time-consuming. It demands your focus and attention, and wants all your creative energy. We procrastinate for various reasons, but feeling overwhelmed is one of the biggest.
So how do we fight the overwhelm? We break large projects down into manageable pieces.
If you estimate that a first draft might take, say 210 hours (triple what BOOK C took me), then you have a place to start. Pull out a calendar (either physical or digital) and put appointments for writing time down, taking into consideration any family/health/vacation/day job/other commitments you've already made.
Give yourself a deadline. If you can't fit 210 hours into 3 months, see if it fits into 6 months instead. Move around other commitments to make that writing time fit. It's easy to keep rescheduling when you're not turning that book in to an editor, for example, but commit to finishing. You'd rarely delay a project at a 'proper' job, right? Well, writing is a proper, job, too! Commit to your writing deadlines, just like you do with deadlines for everything else.
Bonus: A look at how much I write in a full year
I also thought it would be helpful to share just how much I wrote total in 2019. Last year, I wrote or edited 5 books, and published 3 of those in the same year (the 4th book I published was one I finished up in late 2018 and just released in early 2019).
Does the above surprise you? I spent only 80 DAYS writing books, and another 27 editing. I worked on 5 books in that time. There were 285 DAYS where I did no writing (258 if you also remove the editing days).
In my least 'productive' month, I wrote only 3,000 words, yet I wrote only 30,000 in my most productive month. Is that shocking considering how many books I worked on?
For 2 whole months I did nothing writing/editing-related at all - NOTHING. Now, I did work on other things - marketing, social media, etc. - but no real substantive writing. If you listened to the last episode of the podcast, I spoke about the value of your time and of the tasks you do - for authors, writing is one of the most high-value tasks you can do. Yet, I didn't do it at all for 2 entire months (and several weeks the rest of the year) and I still published several books.
So how did I do it? I write with my creative flow. I learned to write smarter, not harder. You can learn how to do this too through my free email challenge How to Write Faster in 14 Days - you can sign up for that below.
In episode 2 of the podcast, I spoke about why you don't need to write everyday to be an author (p.s. - this is one of my most listened to episodes). I hope the data I've shared here helps you realize the truth in that. You don't need to write everyday to finish a book and publish it in the same year.
RETHINK YOUR IDEA OF PROGRESS because you're achieving and writing more than you think you are.
JOIN THE WRITE FASTER IN 14 DAYS CHALLENGE
You'll learn tips and techniques that help me write 3-4 books per year while writing mostly on weekends.
If you've skipped to the end, here's what you really need to know:
- Time tracking your books can give you great data to help you plan when to write and how much you need to write in order to finish a book.
- You can fight the overwhelm of 'finishing a book' by breaking it down into manageable pieces. Use my timings for a baseline for you: If you're writing your first book, double or triple that time (e.g., 210 hours needed to write a first draft) or if you're on your next book, use 70 or 140 hours (whatever suits your own writing process best).
- Your first draft doesn't need to be perfect - it just needs to be done.
- Use word counts as general guidelines to help you plan.
The biggest takeaway is this: RETHINK YOUR PROGRESS because you're achieving and writing more than you think. I only wrote on 80 days last year and still wrote and published more than one book last year. YOU CAN DO THIS, TOO!
You don't need to write every day. You can skip writing on days you're sick or a family member is sick. You can skip writing on days you're just not feeling creative. It is completely okay! You can still 100%, absolutely achieve your goal of finishing and publishing a book.
Please note: Mehvish Khan owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of the Inside the Writer's Soul podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as her right of publicity. This transcript may also contain errors.
YOU MAY: You may share the below transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles, on your personal website, in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., Medium), and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include attribution to “M. Khan” and link back to this page.
YOU MAY NOT: No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Mehvish Khan's name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services.
[00:00:00] In this episode, I'll share exactly how long it took me to write and publish three books from start to finish, plus I share how many days I spent writing last year, so please keep listening.
[00:00:34] You may write alone, but you are not alone. Inside the Writer's Soul focuses on how personal experiences can inform your writing and help you speak from the soul to really connect with readers and other authors as well. Your writer's soul doesn't need to take the writing and publishing journey alone. Join me, your host M. Khan, and let's move forward together.
[00:00:35] Hello and welcome! I am so excited today to finally share an episode and also a related blog post that I'd been wanting to do for a really long time. And it's on a question that I often get asked: how long does it really take to write a book and to self-publish it? I'm going to share real data from three books I published last year under my pen name, plus I'll share just how many days I wrote in 2019 overall. And these numbers might shock you so be prepared to start shifting your mindset over just how much you "need" to write in order to be an author.
[00:01:13] Before we get started, I just want to mention a few disclaimers or caveats. This data is based on my writing and publishing process. Different authors have different aspects in their process and their timeline, which could make things longer. For example, another author might have beta readers, which is something I currently don't have, so that would add time to the overall publishing and editing timeline. So take things like that into consideration when thinking about these totals in relation to your own process.
[00:01:41] Another thing to keep in mind is that I've published over 20 novels, so I have my process and my timing pretty much down. If you're writing your first novel, things will look a lot different but I'll mention more about that later on. Another thing to mention, I am not a data scientist, but I do love data. If you see any glaring errors in my adding, let me know. Otherwise, just recognize this is not any kind of official scientific study. This is just me being kind of a nerd and really loving to know how long things really take.
[00:02:11] And the last thing I want to mention: however you write and publish is great. Don't look at my numbers and my process and think you need to achieve the same or do things exactly as I do. Everybody's process is slightly different. Don't force your process to match anyone else's, not even mine. Find what works for you. Okay, so let's get into it.
[00:02:32] I'm going to be talking about three books I published in 2019. I'll go over my actual writing process a little bit just so you have an idea of what that looks like, and then I'll go into each book a little bit. Now on the blog-I really, really recommend you head to the blog for this one because I have tables and charts on the blog to really help you visualize everything I'm saying. I know talking about numbers on a podcast can sometimes make your eyes glaze over, so checking out the blog post and listening to the episode alongside it is probably a better way to go.
[00:03:06] So my general writing process is this: I'll write and edit an initial draft of the book. Then I'll send the book to my developmental editor. I'll make more edits once I get it back from her, and then I send the book to a copyeditor, and then I'll make final edits to the book. Once I get it back from the copy editor and that's pretty much it for my writing and editing process.
[00:03:27] As I mentioned, I don't use beta readers. I don't have a line editor or a proofreader. Now, in the future, I might add those things in, so that would affect my overall timeline. And I know, for example, for the fantasy series I'm working on now to publish under my own name, those books will be longer, that process is going to be a lot different and I will likely have beta readers for that. So that process will be longer just because the genre I'm writing is longer, just because I also would like to try to traditionally publish it. So that's going to have a different timeline. And if I don't get it traditionally published, I'll probably end up self-publishing it. But even so, the process and the overall timeline might be longer. So that's something else to keep in mind - depending on the genre you write, that could affect your timeline as well.
[00:04:12] Now a couple of things about the overall numbers. So my editors, both my developmental editor and my copyeditor have given me a general sort of block of time of how much they spend. So I asked them for one of my books-it was one of these that I'll be talking about-to send me an estimate of how many hours they ended up working on my books. My developmental editor gave me the number of 160 hours and that's spread out over two to three months. And my copyeditor gave me the number of 12 hours. Now, she has said in subsequent books that sometimes it takes her less time to do one of my books, and other times my developmental editor might say it takes her longer. It just depends on the draft that I've given her. But I'll use these numbers just to stay consistent across all three books.
[00:04:59] Of course, none of the times that all mention considers all those moments for me or my editors when I'm or they're thinking about the book at random moments. So I'm often considering plot points on my commute say to and from the day job, or while I'm waiting in random lines or other times when my mind starts to wander, and my editor has mentioned the same. So the actual time totals that I'll talk about are likely an underestimate. I've just listed the times when I was sitting down at my computer, I started my time tracker, and I just let it run while I worked and stopped it when I did. I've listed the times as hours and minutes and rounded up the seconds. And yes, I even tracked things down to the second, but it just keeps things looking a little bit clearer. Okay, so let's dive in.
[00:05:46] So I'll be talking about Book A, B and C. Book C is the most recent one published of the three and Book A was the oldest one published. Overall, it took me about 66 hours to write this book and that was over three months. If you've been listening to me for a while, you know that I tend to do the majority of my writing on the weekends. So that's why it took me about three months is because I was doing it mostly on the weekends. But if you added the other to revision times I had in between and after I got the book back from my editors, my total time on the book was almost 96 hours. 96 hours from start to finish. And if you add in all of the months that those 96 hours were spread across, plus add in my editors time, which was a total of 172 hours, you're talking about maybe seven to eight months overall just to get the book itself done.
[00:06:42] Now, there are a lot of other things that go into self-publishing a book, that is creating the book cover, there's setting pre-orders. There are a lot of other pre-publication tasks like linking the book to my author profile, so it shows up on my Amazon author page for my pen name. There's other marketing tasks like drafting newsletters, scheduling, making marketing images, things like that. And then I also specifically track publishing day tasks as well. So there are a number of different things I do, such as updating my website, posting to social media and doing a bunch of other little things. So I like to track how long that takes me on publication day because sometimes I do have to work the day job on a publication day, even though I do try to take off, but I want to make sure that I understand how much time I need to budget for that in the morning before I head into work.
[00:07:32] So overall, the chunk related to actually creating the book content was about 96 hours for me. And again, for my editors it was one hundred and seventy two hours. And then the time doing all of those self-publishing tasks was about 272 hours. Now that seems like a lot, but a lot of that time, at least for this Book A was waiting for Amazon to link my book to my author page.
[00:07:58] Now, if we take a look at Book B, we'll see some things that were pretty similar. My initial writing and editing time for that first draft was almost sixty six hours. So it really was about the same amount of time. And I should mention that these three books were across two different series that I have under my pen name. So Book A and B were in one series and Book C was in a different series. So it makes sense that it's taking me about the same amount of time to write books within that series.
[00:08:26] The main difference, at least in the writing and editing portion, was that it took me longer to do edits after I got it back from my developmental editor. It took me over 26 hours to do edits for Book B, whereas for Book A it had only taken me almost 12 hours. So is double the amount of time I needed to do those revisions. So my overall writing and editing time for the book for this book be once 107 hours. And again, my editor time is unchanged at one hundred 172 hours. And the overall time it took to create all the book content was around eight months. It was a little over eight months actually. So a little bit longer than Book A, but still pretty similar.
[00:09:10] Now all of these self publication related tasks, they only took one hundred, almost one hundred and three hours this time compared to the 272 hours for Book A. So it was much, much less. And most of that was just that Amazon is now doing things more quickly so they were able to link my book to my author page more quickly. Some of the other tasks there were a little bit of change in the amount of time it took me, but overall it was pretty steady overall to Book A. The total time from start to finish, including writing, editing and self-publishing tasks was about five hundred and thirty nine hours spread out over nine months, whereas Book B the overall time from start to finish, including writing and self-publishing tasks, took me 382 hours over about nine months, and I should also note that Book A and Book B had kind of similar pre-order windows as well. So there's a lot of discussion about whether a preorder is good or not. I can talk about that in a future episode, but for Book A, I had about a three week pre-order window and for Book B I had a four week, about a four week pre-order window and that pre-order window is included. So when I'm talking about the overall timeline for these books, I'm saying from when I first started writing to publication day.
[00:10:31] Now let's talk about Book C. So again, this book was in a different series and it took me a little bit longer to write. This one was about 70 hours. My editing time was similar to Book B. So overall, my total time for writing and editing the book was about one hundred and eight hours. And Book B was about 107 hours. So it's pretty similar actually to Book B, even though it took me a little bit longer to write. The edits, the editing time was pretty much similar. And again, the self-publishing tasks also took less. This time it only took me about seventy four hours overall.
[00:11:08] But the big difference here was that I had a much longer pre-order window. I actually left the pre-orders up for about three months before release. So the overall time that this book took was three hundred and fifty four hours over about eleven months. So the book actually took me less time to complete overall because I never launch a pre-order, not anymore, unless the book is completely finished. The pre-orders were up for about three months. So I had basically finished the book sooner than I had the other two, but I just kept it open longer for the pre-order. So the overall timing for the book was about eleven months.
[00:11:45] Let's take a moment to just compare the writing portion for all of these three books and compare the timings. So Book A for that initial first draft took me sixty six hours. Book B took sixty five plus hours, almost sixty six, and Book C took me 70 hours. That round of edits after I get it back from my developmental editor was about 12 hours for Book A, 26 hours for Book B, and twenty five hours for Book C. Final edits took me about 17 hours for Book A, fifteen hours for Book B, and 13 hours for Book C.
[00:12:22] Now I'll stop for a second and jump in just to give you some word counts. So for my first draft, Book A's word counts-this is the draft I send to my editor-was about 55000. Book B was about 50000, and Book C was about 60000. Now I always add about five to ten thousand words in the edits that I do after I get them back from my editor. So Book A, the final word count ended up being around 60K. It was the same for Book B, and Book C ended up being 70K.
[00:12:54] And my total writing time and editing time for each book was about 96 hours for Book A, 107 hours for Book B, and one hundred and eight hours for Book C, and they all were about seven to eight, or a little bit over eight months just to do the writing and editing and create that book content.
[00:13:13] Here is where the power of knowing your data comes in. I can look at my last three books and I can see it's going to take me about 65 to 70 hours to write that first draft and finish it for my editor. And because I write on weekends, I usually budget about three months for that. So think about that - 70 hours spread across three months. If you've been struggling to find time to write, could you find 70 hours across three months? You wouldn't even need to spend every weekend writing. I certainly don't. There are definitely some weekends where I sit down to write and my muse is just not there, my creative energy is just not there. And it's really tough and really fucking sucks when that happens because weekends are my most productive time. But if I'm not feeling it, I shouldn't fight it. And that's why during those times I will work on something else author related.
[00:14:07] But think about that - 70 hours across three months and I have a 60,000 word novel. I could even have a 70,000 word novel and still not need to write every weekend. And I certainly would not need to write every day. If you knew you needed to schedule only 70 hours of writing over three months to finish your book, would you do it? Think about that. Even if you only wrote a thousand words an hour, you could finish a 70,000 word novel in probably less than three months without needing to write every day. You can do it. It is possible.
[00:14:39] And remember, your first draft does not need to be perfect. It just needs to be done. Now that I'm working on the fantasy series. I know that the first draft will probably be longer and I have written books longer than 70K and shorter than 60K. Don't hold yourself to a certain word count because you think you "have" to write that much. If you do, you'll just end up frustrated. Write the story, not the word count. Write the words and the story coming to you and don't worry that much about the final count. You will always add more in the edits.
[00:15:13] Now, if you're still working on your first book, as I mentioned before, your numbers may be vastly different and that is okay! Even if you're an established author and you've got 20 or 30 books, even if you've just got two or ten books, it doesn't matter. Your numbers might be different and that's okay. But, if you're looking for a baseline number to start with, you've seen my numbers, so maybe budget double or triple that amount of time for your book. If I think 70 hours is what I need to finish a 70,000 word novel or 60,000 word novel over three months, then double or triple that amount of time say it's going to take you 210 hours in three months or six months instead.
[00:15:54] Of course, you can budget all the time in the world, but if you're not driven to complete your book, you are not likely to finish it. Here's the thing. Writing a book is overwhelming. It is time consuming. It demands all your focus and attention. And it wants all of your creative energy and sometimes your physical energy, too, because writing is draining. Even though we're just sitting there writing, it can be draining. We procrastinate for various reasons but feeling overwhelmed by writing a book is one of the biggest.
[00:16:24] So how do we fight the overwhelm? We break large projects down into manageable pieces. That's why I started tracking my time. And that's why I love doing it, because I can see exactly how much time each piece of my book publishing process will take. Things will change from book to book as we've seen. Sometimes it will take me longer to do the cover, or it will take me less time to do the editing. But I have a baseline idea to go with if I say, okay, that's twelve hours for editing or 24 hours for editing, let me budget that across a couple of weekends or a couple of days I have free. Then it's much more manageable. It is not an overwhelming task.
[00:17:04] If you can estimate how long that first draft might take or how much your next draft might take, then you have a place to start. Pull out a calendar, either a physical or digital one, and put appointments for writing time down taking into consideration any family or health or vacation or day job or other commitments you've already made or might make.
[00:17:26] Give yourself a deadline. If you can't fit two hundred and ten hours like I said into three months, see if it fits into six months instead and move around other commitments that you can to make that writing time fit. It is easy to keep rescheduling when you're not turning that book into an editor, for example, when you don't have someone you're accountable to, but commit to finishing. You'd rarely delay a project at a "proper" job, right? Well, writing is a proper job, too! And that's one of the biggest mindset shifts that authors need to make in order to push themselves forward, to finish. Commit to your writing deadlines just like you do with deadlines for everything else in your life.
[00:18:05] To help put all of this in perspective a little bit more, I am also going to share with you exactly how many days I spent writing and editing in 2019 overall. So this was all of last year for me and I only spent 80 days total in 2019 writing, and 27 days editing. Now, some of those editing days did overlap a little bit, but just to keep things a little bit cleaner, we'll say that they're separate. So what does that really mean? It meant I spent 285 days last year not writing at all. If you also remove the editing days, then I spent 258 days not doing any writing and editing it all.
[00:18:45] Two months of the year I actually did none of those. Two complete whole months, July and December, I didn't write or edit at all. The rest of the months I did a little bit of writing and editing in each. During my most productive month, I wrote 30,000 words, that was in November. During my least productive month, month that I had the least amount of writing in was actually April when I only-not including the zero days-but was in April when I only wrote for three days that month, and I only wrote twenty six, almost twenty seven hundred words. I mean, imagine that.
[00:19:18] In February I wrote almost 3,000 words across seven days. So there's a little bit of a disconnect. You can kind of tell well in February I was kind of forcing myself to write. I was fighting when I wasn't feeling it. I was fighting the fact I wasn't feeling creative at February. But in April, I kind of leaned into it. I realized that if I'm not feeling it, I'm not going to get enough words down on the page and I need to recognize that and move on and do other things. Now, during those two months of July and December, when I wasn't doing writing or editing, I was doing other author-related things. So if you listen to the last episode of the podcast just before this, I spoke about the value of your time and the tasks you need to do. For authors, writing is one of the most high value tasks you can do yet I didn't do it at all for two entire months, and also for several weeks throughout the rest of the year. And I still managed to publish several books in 2019.
[00:20:14] I worked on five books, writing and editing, and I ended up publishing four books. Overall, three of those overlapped with those five I mentioned. And then another one was actually one I finished up in 2018 that I just published in twenty nineteen. But so I managed to at least three books I wrote, edited or worked on and I published them within the same year.
[00:20:36] And you've just heard me talk about three different books, one which took me eleven months to work on, and the others took me about seven to eight or a little over eight months to work on from start to finish. So how did I manage to do it again? I write with my creative flow. I learned to write smarter, not harder. And I teach a lot of these tips and techniques through my free email challenge "How to Write Faster in 14 Days", which you can sign up for on the blog.
[00:21:03] Now, in episode two of this podcast, I spoke about why you don't need to write every day to be an author, and that is one of my most listened to episodes to-date. I've shared data that proves this is true. You don't need to write every day in order to be an author. You don't need to write every day in order to finish and publish a book in the same year. You can do it!
[00:21:24] And it doesn't matter if you start January 1st - you could start March 1st, you could start November 1st, and you could still make progress in that calendar year. Remember, progress doesn't need to start the first day of the year. It just needs to start. I only spent 80 days writing in 2019 and look at how many words I wrote and that was with me mostly just writing on weekends and the odd week day that I had off from my day job.
[00:21:50] Everybody has commitments in their lives. I have a day job. I have chronic health issues. I have two elderly parents, one of whom needs help for health-related reasons. Everybody has things going on in their lives. But I made a commitment to myself that I want to write and publish books. I want to finish the next book, and then I want to work on the one after that, and after that. I made a personal commitment to myself and I'm sticking to it because I don't want to let myself down.
[00:22:18] And you can do it, too. You don't need to write every day. You don't even need to write every weekend. I certainly don't, though that's usually when I do write. You can take two whole months off in the year, and you can still finish a book and publish it in the same year. You can write three thousand words one month, or even two hundred words one month, and you can still finish a book in the same year. You can do it. You can absolutely do it.
[00:22:41] You just need to rethink your progress because you're achieving more and you're writing more than you think. This is what tracking your data and tracking your time can do for you. It can give you a new perspective on how you're really spending your time, and how much you're actually achieving. I would give myself such a hard time before I started time tracking because I thought I wasn't getting anything done. But the truth is, I was and I just wasn't giving myself enough credit for it. How many of you out there are the same? How many of you don't give yourself enough credit for everything that you do do in a day, everything you do finish?
[00:23:15] You can absolutely achieve what you want to achieve. You can absolutely do it. And I hope that this podcast and the related blog post helps you realize the truth in that and helps you realize that you can do it no matter what else is going on. No matter how bad you feel, one day, if you have chronic health problems, or have been pulled you might feel in different directions on a different day. You can still do it. You don't need to write on those days. You're pulled in different directions, you don't need to write on those days. You're not feeling great, and you can still finish your book and publish it in the same year. You can absolutely do it.
[00:23:50] Now I want to hear from you. What have you learned from this episode? What struck out to you the most? Has this information changed your view on writing and how much you "need" to do? Please head to the blog or join our community on Facebook to let me know, the link's in the description. I'd also be very grateful if he could leave a review for this podcast wherever you'd like to listen. Thank you.
[00:24:48] Thank you for listening to this episode. Check out the show notes for links to my blog and our community where you can get involved in the discussion and support others. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to get to free and powerful tools to help you. One: access to my growing library of free resources for authors; and Two: you'll also get access to my exclusive writing challenge "How to Write Faster in 14 Days" where I share all my tips and techniques that helped me finish over 20 works in five years. Check out the show notes for all the links and thanks again for being part of this community.