“…you can’t rush creativity.” John Legend
“You can’t rush creativity”—how true! I was reminded of these words when I came across a chapter called “How Long Does It Take?” by Louise DeSalvo in her helpful and spirited guide, The Art of Slow Writing.
“How long does it take to write a book?” When a fellow writer asked her this question, Louise didn’t know what to tell her, but she “suspected she was asking me if it was all right that she was taking a long time to finish the book she was currently working on.”
Louise went on to recount long bouts of writing she’d heard of:
Ten years passed for Jeffrey Eugenides between his writing of Middlesex and The Marriage Plot, during which he was writing “most every day.”
It took Charles Johnson six years to write Middle Passage. As he recalls, “I had a draft done after a year and it didn’t work. So I went back and rewrote it for five years.”
John Barth, author of Lost in the Funhouse takes about four years to write a book.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote The Signature of All Things in four months after spending “three and a half years on research alone.”
How long does it take to write a book? It takes as long as it takes.
The shorter answer is WIT: Whatever It Takes.
Story, novel or a play—putting in the time is what matters.
When we put in the time we figure out what we’re trying to say.
When we put in the time, muddy places get clearer.
When we put in the time, the universe rewards us.
When we put in the time, magic happens. Write on!
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