Do you feel as though you’ve been working on the same novel or story foooreeeverrr? Perhaps it’s time to move on. OR perhaps you should consider this:
Margaret Mitchell wrote and published Gone with the Wind in 10 years.
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: 7 years.
Helen Hooven Santmyer spent nearly 10 years writing ...And Ladies of the Club, which was published when she was 88 years old!
Anna Lee Waldo spent 10 years researching and writing Sacajawea.
Pat O’Shea spent 13 years writing her first novel, The Hounds of the Mórrígan.
Jane Yolen took 19 years to write Stone Silenus and took 20 years to write Dragon’s Heart. Despite this, she has written over 200 books! On her website, Jane Yolen claims she works on more than one manuscript at a time and has unfinished manuscripts that’ll probably take even longer to complete. Yeesh! She is one patient writer!
Michael Crichton spent 8 years researching and writing Jurassic Park. And it took him 20 years to write and publish Sphere. He liked “cooking” ideas in his head before he began writing.
Alistair Macleod took 10 years to write and publish his first collection of short stories, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, and another 10 years to write his second collection, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories. Then he wrote his first novel, No Great Mischief, in 13 years.
Larry McMurtry began developing an epic western tale for a feature film in 1972. When that project fell through, he decided to write the screenplay as a novel instead. Lonesome Dove was published 13 years later and won the Pulitzer Prize.
After The Hobbit was published, J.R.R. Tolkien spent nearly 16 years working on the sequel. He began writing parts of The Lord of the Rings in 1936 and spent over 10 years writing just the primary narrative and appendices. He finished the novel in 1952, and it was published in three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring (July 1954), The Two Towers (December 1954), and The Return of the King (October 1955).
Sometimes a great novel takes a great amount of time put into it. That’s okay as long as you’re moving forward and making progress!
Good luck and have fun with everything you’re writing this month, Zigzaggers!
2011: U is for Urjadent