There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fun Fact Friday: 5 Women Authors Whose Novels Took Over 5 Years to Write and Publish

Worried your novel is taking “forever” to hit the shelves? Take heart from these five women authors! (Check back next Friday for men authors.)
In 1926, Margaret Mitchell broke her ankle. Because she was bored sitting around, she began writing a novel. Gone with the Wind was published ten years later.
Audrey Niffenegger began writing The Time Traveler’s Wife in 1997. She finished in 2001, but it took another two years of searching for an agent and publisher before the finished product was in her hands. From idea to publication: seven years.  
Helen Hooven Santmyer spent nearly ten years writing ...And Ladies of the Club (published when she was 88 years old!).
Anna Lee Waldo spent ten years researching and writing Sacajawea.

Jane Yolen took nineteen years to write Stone Silenus. It took her twenty years to write Dragon’s Heart. Despite this, she has written over 200 books! She works on more than one manuscript at a time. On her website, Jane Yolen claims she has unfinished manuscripts that’ll probably take even longer to complete than the two mentioned above. Yeesh. She is one patient writer! 
Share with me!
Can you add other women authors to the list? If you are published, how long did it take you to write and publish your novel? If you’re unpublished, how long do you expect it to take? 


Eric W. Trant said...

I have a book I've been working on (off-and-on) since 2005. So I'm getting there!

- Eric

Matthew Rush said...

If that doesn't inspire you, perhaps nothing will!

Thanks for sharing Laura.

Today's guest blogger is THE Elana Johnson!

Palindrome said...

It'll take as long as it takes. I've resigned myself to that fact. Maybe one day I'll be able to quit the day job.

Laura Pauling said...

I love hearing those kind of stories! Thanks for sharing.

Sandy Shin said...

Thank you for sharing.

There are so many authors out there who don't get published until they have been writing for decades. It definitely gives me a push to persevere. :)

Clarissa Draper said...

That's good to know... I'm not alone in my slowness.

Jennifer Shirk said...

That is SO interesting!

I was writing for about 2 or 3 years before I was published. It was my third book and it took me about 6-8 months to write it.

Tahereh said...

wow this is fascinating!! and so inspiring!

thanks for the lift, Laura!


have an amazing weekend!

Alexandra Shostak said...

I love when you post lists like this! This one in particular makes me feel a lot better.

Shelley Sly said...

Fascinating how some of the best books are the ones that either took the longest to write, or had the most rejections. Very inspiring, thanks!

Saumya said...

This makes me feel so much better!! Ahh, my WIP feels like it's taking forever. Thanks for posting this!

Laura Marcella said...

Eric- Yes, you are! I'll have to do a follow up list next year, and maybe you'll be on it! Good luck with your book and keep it up. :)

Matthew- So true! I'm glad you're encouraged!

Palindrome- "It'll take as long as it takes." That's a great way to look at it! You can't rush these things or your novel might not be at its best.

Laura- Me too! It's so encouraging to know we're not the only ones. :)

Sandy- They just keep at it until they achieve what it is they want. Definitely inspiring!

Clarissa- You're definitely not alone! These authors show that whatever you're writing WILL get done eventually!

Jennifer- That's not too long a time! A few more years and you could make this list, lol!

Tahereh- You're welcome! I'm glad you're inspired!

Alexandra- Thanks! Remember to check back next Friday for the men authors! I'm glad you feel encouraged and keep it up!!!

Shelley- You're absolutely right! It just goes to show taking your time does produce extraordinary work. Stay tuned for a future post about authors and their rejections!

Saumya- Yay, I'm glad this encouraged and inspired you! Your WiP WILL be written and published. Good luck and keep it up!

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Laura, this is so inspirational! Thank you. It took me several years to write my memoir and, I suspect, is going to take a while to find a publisher. Even though I'm published already, it's a new genre and audience and it really is like starting over. Plus, my life is just a wee bit busy with five kids. So, I'm trying to be easy on myself, to take the necessary steps and not give up when the right connection isn't found immediately. And so far, it hasn't, but I believe in it. I look forward to someday talking about the process, how long it took, and how rewarding it was to finally get the call. :) But it's even beyond that. I feel like I have something important to share so I look forward to sharing it when it's time. Thanks for the inspiration today! Have a wonderful weekend.

Jemi Fraser said...

Okay - now I feel much better about still revising my NaNo novel :)

T. Anne said...

Yikes! It's one list Id hate to join but sadly I'm still shopping MS's I wrote over 14 years ago. *sigh*

Jen said...

You always have the best information!!! Rule of thumb is Hang in there!!!!

I have an award for you over at my blog!

T.J. Carson said...

Sheesh! That's a long time! lol esp. those ladies going over ten years of writing. I can't do that. I lose interest too easily. lol. I hope it only takes me 5 years to publish birds in flight. I'm def putting it down for a year because I exhausted my query list by querying naively and prematurely so I need to give those agents a break then retry later!

On another note! HECK YES! Join me!! 2 other blogger friends already have! You def should! There's not strict regiment (I don't plan on writing on weekends and such) It's just the thought of when you sit down and write, you are aiming for a chapter each time. :) Let me know if you decide to join me and I'll be right there to support you and hear your progress!!!!!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Very inspiring! Thanks, Laura.

janflora said...

Good...I'll keep writing ;) That Sacagawea book was epic! I learned so much from it, but know little about thet author. GWTW is one of my all time favorites too. I am amazed to hear that it took Jane Yolen so long. It seems like she has a new book every other month :) very impressive, and inspiring. Thanks!

Michelle said...

Each of Jean Auel's Earth's Children books has taken 3-10+ years to come out. (but they are so worth the wait!)

Judith van Praag said...

I'd be with Jane Yolen's 19-20 years, if only I had published as many books as she in the meanwhile! In 1989 I took a year off from being a sets, costumes and props designer to get started on a memoir that I'd taken notes for five years earlier. Grief related writing sidetracked me for another ten years, but since 2000 I've been back to working on several memoirs, one of which I hope to finalize this year! Pffh! What I'm facing now is saving earlier sections in new generations of Word since my new iMac refuses to translate Claris and AppleWorks. If anything it's a good way to sort through older material, that's a job in itself!

Lisa and Laura said...

Thanks for this list! What an inspiration...I think Beth Hoffman took over five years to write SAVING CEE CEE HONEYCUTT and hers hit the NYT bestseller list!

Laura Marcella said...

Roxane- That's so true what you say about sharing what's important when it's time! We can't rush these things no matter how much we want to!

Jemi- Yup, you're totally not alone!

T.Anne- That's okay; you'll get there!!!

Jen- Ooo, thank you! *scurries over to take a look!*

T.J.- It does sound exhausting, but it seemed to work out quite well for them! That's good you're giving your MS a breather. Sometimes it needs a little space!

Elizabeth- Thank you and you're welcome!

Jan- Yes, definitely keep writing! Sacajawea is excellent. I've only read it once, so I think I should probably re-read it this summer! GwtW is one of my favorites, too!

Michelle- I haven't read them; thanks for the suggestion!

Judith- I know! She's written sooo many books; it's amazing! Oooo, I have a Mac, too! It's not as new so I can still read my Appleworks (but not Claris; ahhh, so old, lol!). Good luck with completing your memoir!!!

LiLa- You're welcome! It is so inspiring and motivating to keep on writing no matter how long it's taking!

Talli Roland said...

What a great reminder that we all need to work at our own pace. It takes however long it takes!

Medeia Sharif said...

This was very inspiring. I try to tell myself not to rush. Some books will take longer than others. I'm not familiar with all the authors you mentioned, but the ones I know of write quality work.

Lynn said...

It's inspiring to know that novels can take a long time to write. And it's okay to spend years, even decades on one novel. What matters, is to just keep on writing, no matter that time is passing.

Faith E. Hough said...

This is cool--thanks!

Laura Marcella said...

Talli- You're absolutely right! And it's amazing that those novels I mentioned all became best sellers or in Mitchell's case, won a Pulitzer Prize. It might be in our best interests to take our time, haha!

Medeia- Some books will take longer than others, and that's okay! However long it takes is what's best for the novel. :) I've read all the novels I've mentioned, and I highly recommend them. Check them out when you have time! Thanks for commenting and following!

Lynn- Yes, it definitely is! And you're so right that the most important thing is to keep on writing, always.

Faith- Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the comment and you following!!!

AchingHope said...

I don't know whether to be encouraged or to fall into a heap crying my head off...

Whoops. Sorry, still trying to avoid writing my WIP.

I've been writing for a very, very long time and I'm not published yet. But I'm not ready to give up yet ;) If I have to wait 'til I'm 88, well, that means I made it to 88 and I've already finished this current book and I don't have to worry about this character any longer :)

Laura Marcella said...

AchingHope- It probably won't take you that long. But if it does, your novel will probably be a major bestseller and go on to win a National Book Award or a Pulitzer. So, yes, be encouraged!!!