How Long Does It Take to Write a Book? (+8 More Questions Answered)

Maria Pengue
By Maria Pengue

How long does it take to write a book? Before answering that question, you should know that the process is quite complicated. So there’s no specific amount of time or advice that’ll work for everyone. It’s important that you stick to your own pace and standards. 

Still, we tried to make every answer to the burning questions about writing as informative as possible. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help you set up your writing schedule in no time.

How Many Hours Does It Take to Write a Book?

The average number of hours a writer needs for a book is 736. The whole process from research and planning to formatting and design takes at least 120 hours, but that’s the shortest possible time for a novel of 70,000 words.

There are, however, no rules, as the time put into a book depends on various factors. Some authors of children’s books can finish their work in just a few hours. However, others need years, or even decades, to complete their work.

Therefore, you should create your writing timeline based on the genre of the book, its length, the amount of research, and your inspiration during the day.

1. How Long Does It Take to Write a Novel?

(Writer’s Edit, Self-Publishing School)

It’s tricky to define the time it takes to write a novel. The answer depends on numerous factors, including the number of words the book contains.

According to experts, a novel is a book containing over 40,000 words. So it takes much more time to write it than a short story with less than 10,000 words. Therefore, we can’t give you a specific timeline for writing a book. 

A writer usually needs two to three months to write between 30,000 and 50,000 words. Similarly, a book of 50,000 to 80,000 words typically takes three to six months. For a longer novel of 80,000 to 100,000 words, you should prepare for 160 to 200-day writing.

Most experts agree that writing a novel takes from six to twelve months. Writers should give themselves between four and eight months, depending on the project.

2. How Long Is the Average Book?


The average length of a book is around 90,000 words. Furthermore, according to publishers, a novel should have between 50,000 and 110,000 words. However, as we mentioned, a novel is anything that has more than 40,000 words.

Thus, choosing a smaller word count is also okay if you’re a first-time writer, especially if you’re opting for self-publishing. In case you have a publisher, it might be best to discuss the length of your book with them.

3. How Long Is the Average Book Chapter?

(Jericho Writers)

The standard book chapter is between 2,000 and 4,000 words long. However, that doesn’t mean yours can’t be longer. Some of the most popular books have chapters twice as long, and the readers still like them.

Research shows chapters of 1,000 to 1,500 are considered very short, while those of over 5,000 words tend to be too long. Experienced writers recommend that beginners stick to the standard numbers to keep readers engaged. 

4. How Long Does It Take to Write a Children’s Book?

(Pride of IU)

A children’s book is typically shorter than a book for adults. In general, such books have less than 40,000 words, so most writers need only a few months to complete them. Michael Bond, for instance, wrote “A Bear Called Paddington” in just ten days. That, however, doesn’t mean that books for kids are the easiest to write and publish.

5. How Much Should I Write a Day?

(Become a Writer Today)

It’s challenging to advise new writers on how much they should write a day. The process is different for everyone, and writing daily a small number of words doesn’t make someone a bad or unproductive writer.

Stephen King recommends beginners to try to have 1,000 words down every day. However, if that proves to be too much for you, you can switch to 500 words until you make a habit of writing regularly. King, for example, writes around 2,000 words each day.

6. How Long Does It Take to Write a Nonfiction Book?

(The Creative Penn)

As we mentioned, there’s no definitive answer on how long it takes to write any kind of book, including nonfiction. As it needs to be based on facts, it’s safe to say that you will spend more time on research.

Depending on how much you know about the topic and the amount of research it requires, it could take you from several months to a few years to complete it.

7. How Long Does It Take Stephen King to Write a Book?

(Books and Mor, New York Public Library)

According to Stephen King, it should take you around three months to finish your first draft of the book. Some reports, however, claim that even he needed a few years to finish writing “It.” 

Thus, the inspiration and length are also important aspects to consider. However, King’s books are between 500 and 1,000 pages long. In his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” he shares some useful advice for beginners. 

If you’re committed to becoming a writer, that book should definitely be on your must-read list.

8. How Long Does It Take to Write a Book and Get It Published?

(Writer’s Digest)

If you’re writing your first book, you can choose to self-publish. In that case, the whole process can take you from a few weeks to a couple of months.

On the other hand, traditional publishing takes much longer. The average time a book needs to reach the readers would be nine months to two years. The process includes editing, proofreading, and rewriting.

In addition, nonfiction books usually require fact-checking, so the editing process can be even longer. Moreover, your text will need a cover design, which is also time-consuming. Lastly, publishers need to create advanced review copies and a promotion schedule.

The Average Time to Write a Book — Wrapping Up

Congrats on starting your writing journey! This fantastic craft has brought us many interesting characters who make us laugh, cry, and wonder. That’s why you shouldn’t be discouraged by some of the advice you find in this article. You’re creating a whole new world, and that can take time.