How long does it take to write a book?

As a book coach, I am frequently asked this question. 

It’s difficult to answer and it’s like answering, “How long is a piece of string?”

It’s possible to write a book in one week. 

I know of people who have gone off on a week-long writing holiday and completed their book without any distractions.

On the opposite end of the scale, people have been writing a book for years, and they’re still nowhere near close to publishing.

The more relevant question to keep in mind before you start writing your book is:

How many hours are you willing to put into your book project? 

I am a book coach, and my coaching students are entrepreneurs with businesses to run and families to look after. 

They enroll in my intensive program, and it takes roughly 6 to 8 weeks with 15 hours of work per week to get their book project to the final manuscript stage.

It gives you an idea of the amount of time and effort involved in completing your book. 

So, before you start writing, you need to work out how many hours per week you’re willing to put into it.

You can then work out how long your book will take to write.

For example, if you decide to put in 7 to 8 hours per week, it will take you double the number of weeks my students take (around 12 to 16 weeks) to complete your book.


Are you using your time wisely and productively?

Some people have lots of time to spend on their book, yet they still cannot complete and publish it because they’re not using their time wisely.

This is more important than just working out how long you think it should take you to write.

Let me explain this through an analogy. 

Say you need to get somewhere new…a place you have not been to before.

Now, imagine if you just get into your car with a vague idea your destination is somewhere north west from you, and you start driving, hoping to magically reach there…

Let’s face it, your chances of getting there without getting lost are slim.

And yet, people do this exact thing with their books all the time. 

They go off and start writing – the equivalent of getting into a car, having a general idea of the direction they need to go, and setting off, just hoping they will get there.

You might just magically get to your destination and create a wonderful book. But there’s a big chance you won’t.

When you don’t know your destination and start writing your book, you’re just wasting lots of time and energy and not getting any further.

Remember, this is time and energy you take away from your family and friends, so use them wisely and productively.

What’s your destination?

You have to really understand what you want your book to do for the reader. 

Find out what problem it solves and what solution it brings to the table.

Then work your way backward from that destination – just like you would on a map or your satellite navigation system. 

With a sat-nav, you put in the address, then it works its way back, and you can see your route along with your destination.

You need to emulate that.

My students do this by mind-mapping their book on the free mind mapping software –

They map out their book and their destination meticulously before they even write a word, and that’s why they can write a book in a matter of 6 to 8 weeks.

I can best explain this point through a story.

You have probably heard the children’s story about the tortoise and the hare.

A tortoise and a hare are having a race, and the hare thinks, “Of course, I’m going to win. I’m a hare. I can run fast, and the tortoise is a very slow creature.”

So off he runs before the tortoise has even started.

Being overly confident, he decides to have a nap, but he oversleeps, and the tortoise overtakes him and wins the race. 

Keep this story in mind when you’re thinking of writing your book. It’s easy to be the hare and just start writing. 

But it’s better to be like the tortoise, hold yourself back a little bit, and work out what your destination is going to be. 

I know of many authors who have written 40K, 50K, or even 60K words and yet have failed to complete their books.

All of those hours and days are taken away from their family and friends for no reason.

I want you to use your time productively and wisely to work out:

  • The problem your book solves or the solution your book provides
  • The precise route your book will take to reach that solution.

Once you have this, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your book comes out of you. 

It’s a bit like driving with a satellite navigation system on. It tells you where to go and you get to your destination with confidence. 

That’s what writing a meticulously mapped-out book becomes. 

So instead of asking how long it will take you to write a book, ask yourself these more pertinent questions:

  • How many hours are you willing to put into your book project, and
  • What’s your destination? 

Just like you need an elevator pitch for your business, you need an elevator pitch for your book too!.

If you’re struggling with this, get yourself a good book coach who will show you how to tell somebody, within a matter of seconds, what your book does, what problem it solves, and why people need to know about your book.  

You can become a published author within a few weeks by using your time wisely and efficiently.

Next Step

If you’re interested in writing a business book that will generate leads and sales for your business, get a copy of The Freedom Master Plan that will explain everything you need to know about writing and marketing business books.

You can also download a sample chapter here