Writing: A Marathon or Sprint?

I achieved a milestone in my writing a couple of days ago. I passed the one hundred thousand word count in the first draft of my first novel. The process has taken me twenty months to date, and I am probably a couple of months away from finishing the first draft.

There has been elation in getting to this point, and frustration in the time taken. In my defence, I have not suffered many bouts of procrastination, and have been working on a couple of different writing projects in those twenty months. For a bit of Friday Fun, I thought I would conduct some research and compile a couple of speed tables to see how I measured up to other published writers.

The Quickest Novels Ever Written

Book TitleAuthorTime Taken
1. The Boy in the Striped PyjamasJohn Boyne2.5 days
2. RasselasSamuel Johnson1 week
3. On the RoadJack Kerouac3 weeks
4. A Clockwork OrangeAnthony Burgess3 weeks
5. A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens6 weeks

The Slowest Novels Ever Written

Book TitleAuthorTime Taken
1. SphereMichael Crichton20 years
2. The Lord of the RingsJ.R.R. Tolkien17 years
3. Les MiserablesVictor Hugo12 years
4. The Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger10 years
5. Shuggie BainDouglas Stuart10 years

It seems although I have missed the boat for the quickest written novel on record, I still have time to make the top five for the slowest. I could be heading for Ezra Pounds feat of fifty-seven years for his unfinished, The Cantos.

Do you know of any novels that could make either of these speed tables? I would love to know. Have a good weekend.

7 thoughts on “Writing: A Marathon or Sprint?

  1. Congratulations Davy on a writing job well done. I’d rather not make it to either of the ranks. Medium-paced wins the writing race. I wonder who said that? No one? Now, that’s a shame. 🙂

    1. One day, maybe Stuart. I suppose, as writers, we are always writing, even if it is just in our own minds. Time is definitely a factor. Maybe that is why I prefer writing poetry; you can get the story out much quicker. Thank you for your thoughts.

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