How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

Are you planning on writing a book? Are you worried how long it’s going to take?

Writers are continually asked: ‘How long did your book take to write?

It’s a valuable question and one I always know the answer to as I keep a record of exactly how long I spend writing… (not researching, googling, facebooking or tweeting)

Every book I’ve written, I record the date and time I started, the time I finished and my final word count.When I get to the end of writing the book and have to edit, I record that too. I add it to the beginning of the document so every time I open it, I know how many words I’ve got. When I finish writing for that day, I add the day’s word count and save the document again.

This is my record of the writing of my last book:

 The Astrology of Indigos  Everyday Solutions to Spiritual Difficulties, Understanding the Alignment of Outer Planets and Cluster Charts

As you will see, I actually started writing it on the 20th May 2013 and finished the writing on 6th September 2013.

This means this book took 4 months to write.

Some days went better than others.

I also keep a record on a small white board in my kitchen

I can also then work out what’s the best time of day for me to write. Not what I’d like it to be, but what it actually is, which in my case is mostly morning and early afternoon.

What I like about recording this data is it gives me something tangible to remind me that ‘something is happening’ and my book is growing.

The trouble with writing, is a book can seem to grow so slowly, you lose track of how far you’ve got and how far you need to go.

With this method I’ve got a nice reminder that I’m on track, things are progressing and I’ll get there eventually!

20-5-2013 10.30am – 117 11.30am 833 words

22-5-2013 12.10pm 12.30pm- 1,167

1-6-2013 1,224 7.10pm 2,598 7.25pm 4,627, 8.20pm 4759

12-6-2013 3.30pm 5,477

13-6-2013 6,045

28-5-2013 2pm- 6,366

14-7-2013 10.40am 6545 references 7,139 1.30pm 7279, 7,295

16-7-2013 12.40pm 2.10pm 8,041

17-7-2013 11.20am- 12pm 9371

20-7-2013 12.50pm- 5.30pm- 10,005

30-7-2013 10.53am-11.35am10,734 12.15pm- 11,413 3.30pm- 12,012 12,221 7.30pm

31-7-2013 8am 8.45am- 12,886 11am 13,507 11.20am- 12.15pm 13,862

1pm- 2pm 14,225 chapter three re-write 4pm- 13,954 6.10pm re-through 6.35pm – 14,333 7.15pm- 14,683

1-8-2013 7.45am -10am 15,263 15,310 9.25am 16,107

4-8-2013 16.111

5-8-2013 12.40am- 1.15pm 16,279 listings

9-8-2013 3.55pm- 6.50pm- 16,617

21-8-2013 6.50pm 16,889

23-8-2013 4.10pm- 17, 328 6.30pm – 19,496

24-8-2013 4.10pm- first edit 19,333 6.16pm

26-8-2013 9.55am- 11.35am 20,077

28-8-2013 2.10pm 2.45pm- 20,474

30-8-2013 12.15pm 1.45pm- 20,935

31-8-2013 1.10pm 21,434 2.10pm

1-9-2013 11.05am 22,893 12.40pm- 8.30pm 23,110

2-9-2013 8pm

3-9-2013 10.10am read-through/edit 22,656 11.30am

6-9-2013 6am-11am read-through, edit on paper

So how are you getting along with writing YOUR book? Have you even started? It’s amazing how many people tell me they’d love to write a book and when I ask them “Have you started?” they reply with various excuses. Your book won’t write itself. You have to get started. Just turn on your computer/laptop/Mac, open a new document….and start writing!

I only write non-fiction so I can’t give you advice on plots or characters but the process is the same.

Sit down at computer.

Open document.

Start writing.

And remember to save-as-you-go and also when you’ve finished writing for the day, save everything again, email that latest version to yourself and upload it somewhere in the cloud.

I use  Google Drive as they give quite a large amount of free space and are very reliable.

I’m now quite obsessional about saving coz when I was writing my third book How to Cheer Up A Capricorn I was in a hurry and pulled out the USB storage device too quickly and ended up with my book turning into gobbledegook. I was distraught. I must have cried for 2 whole hours. 15,000 words had disappeared in a second. Almost two thirds of the book.

I emailed my sister Lucy English the novelist and cried over the phone to her. I knew no-one else would understand my agony (my husband certainly didn’t!) and she kindly placated me and told me the useful tip to email it to myself.


Why hadn’t I done that earlier?

Anyway, I started writing again later that day and eventually the book got published but I’d certainly learnt a valuable (but painful) lesson on:


Make sure you do too!!

About the Author

Mary English was born in London and educated in Switzerland at the American International School of Zurich. She is a professional Astrologer and member of The Astrological Association & The Society of Authors. She has over 30 years of experience in her field. She is also a qualified Homeopath.
Her TV appearances include BBC’s ‘Kilroy’ and BBC’s ‘Heaven and Earth’. She is regularly invited to talk on BBC Radio Bristol.
She was a monthly guest on the Morning Show with Emma Britton on BBC Radio Somerset Sound where for over 2 years she gave live on air, the Month’s Stars.

Mary was the resident Astrologer for The Green Parent magazine for 5 years, writing their bi-monthly Astrology column.

She was resident Astrologer for Talk Radio Europe for  7.5 years. Spain’s largest English language radio network, broadcasting on the Costa del Sol/Axarquia and Costa Blanca/Costa Calida and reaching 1,000,000 English speaking consumers on the Hannah Murray Show where she gave her Monthly Astro Stars

Mary is also resident Astrologer and writes a monthly column for Pukka Bath.

She has written Astrology forecasts for her publishers Dodona Books Blog.

Her publisher is John Hunt Publishing O-Books

She will be guest Astrologer on Premier Christian Radio with Rosie Wright Feb 2017 in her capacity as a Pagan who is sympathetic to all forms of (sensible) religion and spirituality.

Her websites and receive over a 100 hits a day.She lives in Bath in the UK and works from home, over the Internet, by phone and in person.

She believes that Astrology helps people understand each other, which in turn makes the world a friendly place to live in.

She is a reformed Pisces.

Her books are available from Amazon and all good bookshops

UK  Mary’s Amazon Store

USA Mary’s USA Amazon Store

Copyright Mary English 2017.

This article must not be copied, stored on any virtual devices, posted onto any blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter streams or stolen and copied onto any websites, morphed into an app or writer’s content in any way without express, written permission by Mary English. Failure to abide by this polite request will result in banishment to hell and a life of extra bad repute…..and nightmares…


About Mary English

"Bringing Heaven to Earth." Author, Astrologer, Homeopath and Hypnotherapist. Working with You to Help you Find Your True Life Path.
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