A few weeks ago, Nathon Bransford, a writer and blogger I follow, wrote a post asking the question “How long does it take you to finish a draft?”

My first gut reaction answer to that question was “F-O-R-E-V-E-R,” but sadly, I couldn’t figure out how to embed this little video clip into the comments on his blog. It’s from one of my all-time favorite movies ever, The Sandlot.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0H6R7xRytk]

Then I read some of the comments people wrote in response to his question. Not one single person answered with “forever” – just me, slow writer extraordinaire! In fact, I could only read the first 30 comments or so as they were just a wee bit intimidating.

Some people actually counted how long it took them to write an entire novel in days. Days!! I count down the days until vacation starts, or the age of a newborn baby, NOT how long it takes me to write a novel. Most people were in the 3-6 month range which to me is still mind boggling.

I suppose if I wasn’t teaching full time, coaching, participating in my own children’s lives, and I don’t know, eating and sleeping occasionally, I might be able to do that, but at the current level of “busy” in my life, I cannot see ever writing a novel worth reading in days or weeks time, a blog post or two maybe, but not a novel.  I’m more of a months/years novel writing girl.

With that said, I am happy to announce that I finally finished a very rough first draft of my very first novel, and I did it . . . are you ready? . . . in  460-something days (or just over 15 months). I can check that little to-do off my bucket list!! I wrote a novel – even though right now its in the “shitty first draft” stage, I’m still checking it off! Happy dance!

It’s around 105,000 words.  I’m thinking quite a bit of it needs to be cut, but I think I’d rather cut and tighten the writing up than have to add something.

I have no idea how long revising, getting it to readers, revising again . . . and again will take, but I’m guessing I’ll be true to form and go for months . . . not days. And then someday . . . maybe people will actually read it!

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  1. Megan Thatcher on June 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Remember what Chanda told us about Sedona’s meditators, “Don’t compare yourself to everyone else, not everyone really achieves what they tell you they’ve achieved.” You are amazing. Look what you’ve accomplished! And, believe it or not, at some point, when you’ve put on it’s best outfit, braided it’s hair, and packed it’s new lunchbox, you’ll wave good bye as it gets on the schoolbus, breath a sigh of relief, and start to cry because you miss it so much. Enjoy yourself. 🙂

    • Amy Isaman on June 9, 2012 at 6:13 am

      Could you be any greater? This whole process kind of is like raising a child. I think right now, I have a fully formed 6 month old – it can sit, it’s all complete, but it’s not ready to roll around yet and definitely doesn’t have the muscle tone or strength to walk. Do you remember being pregnant and comparing the baby to food? ie. It’s an almond, a walnut, a kiwi etc? I’m not sure why but this conversation made me think of that – looking at giant tall Garet, its funny that we referred to him for quite some time as a kiwi!

  2. Claire 'Word by Word' on June 9, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Well done, milestone reached and thats a perfectly respectable pace within which to accomplish it.

    Every circumstance and motivation is individual and need not be compared, I just read about a woman who had her first novel published who has been writing for 25 years, that is a love of writing.

    Good luck with the next stage.

    • Amy Isaman on June 9, 2012 at 6:16 am

      I think this whole process is a love of writing or even if not a love, a compulsion. I’ve really enjoyed every step of the way, even those times when I sit and stare and have no idea what is going to happen next or I know what happens next but I have no words to get it out.

      I’m actually looking forward to the revision part. I think of that as one of my strengths, and I actually enjoy that part of the writing process. I have no idea how long it will take. Hopefully not 25 years, but who knows!

  3. Susan on June 9, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Great job! You’ve done what others only wish they could do.

  4. dmcsecondhalf on June 9, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Congratulations on your newborn! Good for you! While many of us are still talking about finishing (or even beginning) a piece of writing, yours actually exists now and is ready for what you consider the fun part of revision. Enjoy your success, celebrate, and then move right on.

  5. Debra Mae on June 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    So happy for you Amy! Soon your novel will have a life of it’s own. Congrats!

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