If you have ever thought seriously about writing a book, it is hard not to become quickly overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task. I am not telling you anything you don’t know here, and not judging, at all. I share this truth because I have been there. But if you let your book stop there, inertia wins, and your book never gets written. I have decided to come at the process from the opposite direction, not picturing the work as a whole, but realizing that a book is made out of chapters, each chapter made out of paragraphs, each paragraph made out of sentences, each sentence made out of words. I’m going to start with the words.
Can I write a full length book? With my schedule and my job and my distractions? If I think about it like that, the only possible truth seems like a resounding no. But do even I have enough time in a day to write a paragraph? A sentence? Some words? One word? Is there anyone that can’t answer yes to at least one of these questions?
What is the average number of words in a novel? Truthfully, I don’t know. And does that matter? If you know how many words are in a novel, does that really help you? I don’t think so. What matters is the story, however long, and that is inside you. It knows when it’s done. What matters is the effort. That you are writing something.
How many words is a novel? Maybe a better question is how many dreams? How many hours? How little sleep?
You will hear of people writing a novel in a month, or shorter. But that is not the norm. I’ve read it can take years or longer. The average is two to ten. Years.
But writing a fiction novel is not done in one sitting. It is done one word at a time. If you have a novel inside, set your novel free. No matter what it takes.
You don’t count number of words, you count contentedness of heart. Though it might take years, it feels good to start, and your progress will push you along. Soon what you have done will push you forward to the finish.
Writers help the world understand itself, to see the beauty in little things. In everything. It may not be for everyone, but if it’s for you, please start.
One word at a time.