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How Long Does It Take To Write A Book?

Written by: Cori Wamsley, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Leaders want everything fast and easy. We’re busy, right? So when they look at a project as long as a book—it is tangibly large!—a little warning bell goes off in the back of their heads.

Smiling woman writing at the beach while having coffee.

Is this manageable? Is this reasonable? Is this necessary?

That’s a lot of questions with no real, solid answer.

So often, they look at what other authors are saying.

A book in a weekend!

A book in a month!

A book in 2 years!

A book in 10 years!

Yeah, those numbers are all over the place for a very good reason…

Every author has a different process for writing their book.

Some work with a ghostwriter, a writing coach, a book editor, or their best friend.

Some jot down notes for years and consider that “working on the book.”

And some get super serious and book a retreat to get it out of the way.

None of these ways is the wrong way… though I advise against the force that it would take to get 20,000 to 40,000 words written in a weekend in any organized manner that didn’t involve multiple writers, 48 hours of dictation, or perhaps a moonlight ritual.

If you want to get a book done in a “reasonable” amount of time, then start with what you define as “reasonable.” For a book for your brand, that is somewhere on the shorter side, definitely less than two years. Your message matters NOW, and that message evolves over time. You probably aren’t talking about exactly the same thing in exactly the same way that you were five years ago, and you certainly will be changing and growing in the next five, so short-term is a win.

When working with a hybrid publisher (they have the professional staff of a traditional publisher with the timeline of self-publishing; the cost is covered by the author), you have a lot more control over your publication timeline, so if it takes you six months, for example, to write your book, you’re likely to have it out within two years. (Remember, all publishers are different too, so always ask about their policies and timeline!)

Since we’ve narrowed down “reasonable,” we can now look at “doable.”

This is where it can get tricky.

I’ve written a book six weeks before. My first book took six months, and my most recent book took two for the first draft.

I’m not quick just because I’ve been a professional writer for nearly twenty years. It’s more to do with the book map I come to the table (or desk) with and the fact that I plan out my writing time.

Once I have a solid outline and know what I want to say, I decide when the writing is going to happen. This is one of the biggest pitfalls for authors-to-be. They leave it up to “when I have time.”

Yeah, just like learning French and visiting that kinda-friend across town and cleaning out the garage…

Your book is more important than all of those, by the way, because you can actually use it as a marketing tool for your brand, as opposed to being able to say “omelette du fromage” or finally taking that box of old Christmas decorations to donation.

Because your book is important, you have to show yourself that it’s important by deciding when you’re going to write.

Like being up early? Get up an extra 30 minutes early and write.

Like spending a long amount of time working on one project? Block off an afternoon each week to get the writing done.

More of a weekend project kind of person? Take your laptop to a café on Saturday morning and bang it out.

For my most recent book, Braving the Shore, I wrote in the evenings while my kids were getting showers and watching a show before bed. I didn’t mind doing it after my work day was over because I was so excited to write that the book was actually my relaxation time. Plus, our taste in TV doesn’t always jive.

I’ve had clients work their books into their lives in multiple ways that really worked well because they not only started with a fantastic structure that made it easy to know what they were going to write each time they sat down but also because they knew that they had a set amount of time that the book was going to be a big part of their lives: five months. (That’s the length of our writing programs.)

Sometimes, that’s the key to pushing through. You can make this change in your life for five months, right? You can get up early three days a week or block off an afternoon one day a week or whatever you need for just five months!

When staring at the “gigantic” tome that could be your first book, knowing is sometimes the best gift you can give yourself to get the darn thing written.

Here’s a recap of what you need to know:

  1. What’s reasonable?

  2. What’s doable for your life?

  3. How long do you want to work on that first draft? Yes, an actual amount of time!

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to write a book for your brand and start using it to impact more people!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Cori Wamsley, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Cori Wamsley, CEO of Aurora Corialis Publishing, works with business owners who have a transformational story to share. She helps them quickly and easily write and publish a book for their brand that helps them create a legacy and be seen as an expert while building a relationship with the reader. Cori has 17 years of experience as a professional writer and editor, including 10 years with the Departments of Energy and Justice and 4 years as the executive editor of Inspiring Lives Magazine. She also wrote eight fiction books and one nonfiction book, The SPARK Method: How to Write a Book for Your Business Fast, and contributed to two anthologies. Her newest book, Braving the Shore, was released in June 2022.



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