How Long Should it Take to Write a Romance Novel?

May 31, 2011

As I work on what WILL be my first completed novel-length manuscript, I’ve thought about how many books I should be able to write in a year—how many I’d like to write to make a decent living of course, but also how many a publisher would expect me to get done as well.

You’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), an annual challenge to write a novel in the month of November, and currently Harlequin has posted BI3M:2011,  a challenge to write your book in three months (two months for your draft, and one month to polish and submit).

Three months is what I was thinking for the first draft and about six weeks to edit and submit. To be perfectly honest, when I finish…before my fiftieth birthday next month, it will be more like five months for my first draft, and I’ve still planned about six weeks to edit and write my synopsis. I do believe I could write a book in a month given minimal interruptions and outside responsibilities, but my goal for books Number Two and Three is now two months for my draft and one to polish and submit. If I can write the way I did last week, completing more than 10,000 words in one week, this will be no problem.

I realize I’m lucky that I can concentrate primarily on my writing, although I will admit that my house is suddenly falling apart around me. (Hmmm, maybe if I start selling, I can have a housekeeper.) My three guys, who currently live at home and are used to pretty nice home cooked meals and me taking care of everything other than a paycheck, are learning to fend for themselves a lot more. (Did I mention that they are ages 19, 21 and 53?)

In the last few weeks they actually started taking my writing seriously. My youngest walked into my room and middle son grabbed him saying, “Stay out of there. Mom is writing!” Middle son knocked on the door and asked if I was making them lunch and younger son reprimanded him, “Knock it off. She’s writing. You can feed yourself!” Hubby helped with dishes after dinner (previously unheard of) and even came home and offered to pick up dinner when I had written more than 5,000 words in one day…twice. Hmmm, maybe the guys are taking my writing more seriously because I’m letting go of some guilt and believing in myself for the first time in a very long time.

So, do I believe I can regularly write three books a year? I really do. I already have the concepts for the next two and with the momentum I’ve built writing this one I have no doubt that I can do this. Do I want to write three books a year…more than ever!

What about you? How long do you spend on a manuscript? How long do you think it should take? How many books would you like to write in a year?

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4 Responses to “How Long Should it Take to Write a Romance Novel?”

  1. ashley h Says:

    Can’t wait to read your book once it hits the Bestseller shelves!


  2. Great blog! I finished what will be my first book in a year. I had daily struggles to write and writer’s block that decided to come and stay for quite awhile, before I could move on and continue writing my Chick Lit. Good luck to you!

  3. Tari Says:

    Thanks Isabella! Congratulations on finishing that first book….I’m hoping to say that in the next few weeks. Just keep writing!

  4. Tari Says:

    Thanks Ashley! Yours will be autographed!

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