I’ve joined the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. On Wednesdays, we all post about our… well… insecurities. Like the group name.
How long does it take to write a novel, anyway?
I’ve been working on mine for the last two years. Give or take 20 years.
I first got the idea when I was in college, and though it’s evolved quite a bit since then, some things haven’t changed. I’m working on writing it and editing it and all those novel-type activities.
I start to doubt myself when I realize how long I’ve been working on it. It shouldn’t take this long, should it?
If you ask George RR Martin, he’d say between 1-6 years. Stephen King comes out with a new book once or twice a year, plus short stories. And Nora Roberts? Four or five books a year. Wow.
So, I guess the point is that it takes as long as it takes. I’ve written several (bad) practice novels. Each time, I get a little better. Since joining a writer’s group, I’ve made a lot of progress with my writing. More than I had with online writing groups. It’s tempting to just want to be done with it, to say that it can’t possibly be good enough if it’s taking this long to write, but that’s just not true.
I really believe that failure only happens when people give up. And I’m not ready to give up.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.”