The physical act of writing a novel takes a long time. Yes, we all know of the authors who can crank out a perfectly publishable novel of 60, or 80, or 100,000 words in just under six weeks. But there are two things to note. First, most of those hyperkinetic authors are not newbie novelists; they’re people who have been writing long enough that certain aspects of novel writing are encoded into their brain’s muscle memory. Second, if you’re a would-be novelist, you’ll probably never be one of those people anyway.
No, I’m not intending to insult you. Most currently published authors don’t write that quickly either. I know successful, working authors who are happy to get 250 words of fiction a day, because that’s 90,000 words a year: A full-sized novel. But consider that there are any number of writers who have trouble getting out that much out a year, because — surprise! — a novel is usually more than just sitting down and cranking out a word count. There are those little things like plot, and character, and pacing, and dialogue and so on and so forth. All of those things take time to develop.
Note also that while you’re doing all of this as a budding novelist, you are also most likely doing all the other things in your life that constitute your life: A day job, spouse and family, hobbies and friends, reading and television and video games and even (wait for it) sleep. It all adds up — and it all subtracts from the amount of time you have to write.
What all this means is that writing those three or four novels an average writer has to burn through before they write a publishable novel will likely take years.
That’s one of the reasons the blogger had on his list when someone asked why many novelists make their debuts in their 30’s. Heh. Makes me feel so much better. 🙂