I get asked all the time about the process I use when for writing novels? Most readers or writers, for that matter, are interested in how long it takes to write the first draft, how much editing is involved, etc. before you get to a finished product. So, I'm here to shed some light on the process I use. Now, it's only fair to say that this process is not set in stone, doesn't work for everyone, and changes slightly depending on what I'm writing, the length of the story, etc. All right, with that out of the way, here goes:
As a general rule, I always assume a novel (start to finish) will take anywhere from 90-120 days (3-4 months). Since I generally do not write epics (>100k words), this helps keep my timeline shorter. Most of my work, outside of short stories, falls in the 50k - 70k word range, which I believe is a good window for me. It also makes it easier on my readers as most of my books can be read in a single afternoon, while on a plane, or relaxing at the beach.
That said, I like to set a goal of 30-45 days to write the first draft. This mean for a 60k word novel, I need to write between 1,300-2,000 words per day. It is also important to note I get up around 5, write for 2-3 hours, then break. Later in the evening I will revisit, makes changes, etc. before moving on. At this stage I am less concerned about editing and more concerned with getting words on the page.
Once the first draft is complete, I move the entire work to my editing software (Autocrit) for the first round of clean up. This typically takes a few days. It is at this point I walk away for 3-7 days and begin thinking about the next project. Your mind needs time to detach from the story, to let fresh ideas spring up. When this waiting period is over, I return for a second round of edits (typically another week of work).
By now, were at the 45-60 day mark (halfway home). This is where is send my nearly finished story to my group of beta readers. I have a really solid group who do a great job of promptly reading my work, offering suggestions, etc. I typically allow 3-4 weeks for their feedback. Now, we're at the 70-90 day mark. I take the next 1-2 weeks to incorporate their suggestions, make changes, before final editing begins.
Once the final edit is complete (roughly a week), I'm ready to publish.
I hope this has been helpful. As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment of reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org