Why it takes so long to write a book! - New York Times Bestselling Author, J. Sterling

Why it takes so long to write a book!

I know that some of you don't understand WHY the heck it takes so long to write a book!  Some other authors seem to bust out a book a month- which is awesome for them... unfortunately, i'm not one of them.

I thought i'd tell you the two biggest things that take up my time because you've probably never even thought about it before. 

#1-  RESEARCH!  Even the stupidest, smallest detail needs researched if I don't know anything about it. For example-  Jack & Chrystle splitting up... what are the laws in Alabama for an annulment?  Can you get one? If you can, for what reasons? How do you file one? How long does it take to process? Seriously. I look up all that sort of stuff before I write about it so that the picture I paint is as accurate as possible. Sometimes I'll find that i've spent hours researching things for ONE paragraph (and sometimes ONE statement or sentence) in the whole story!  It's crazy town!  :)  Research is time consuming, but I don't know a single author that doesn't do it. Writing about a jail scene? They're researching what the person wears, what the rules are, who can visit and when, etc. Writing about a baseball player heading to the major leagues?  They're researching where the minor league teams are located, making a list and then going through the list to see which Major league team makes the most sense. I look up everything if I don't already know. EVERYTHING! I reach out to my friends in the business for a more realistic approach (had to reach out to a big LA publicist friend the other day for some questions). I researched Cassie's major and compiled a list of all the classes she could take and then I chose the ones she did. I have the college schedule printed out so I know when they break for Christmas, Spring Break, when school ends, starts, etc.  I have the Mets schedule printed for game dates, times, days off (ha), etc. 

#2- THESAURUS.COM  i.am.not.joking.  God I wish I was. But I seriously suck at vocabulary. I write the way I talk. 100% the way I think, talk, my friends talk, etc. So I tend to repeat the same things over and over and over again. I swear I spend half the day writing and the other half looking up words in the freaking thesaurus.  And even then my editor still has to make it all better.  lol

So there you have it. Those are the two biggest things that "take away" from my writing time and suck up my days. If you're a writer, what are yours? 


  1. Yes, research is a beast! But so necessary! I'm with you on this...

  2. Good research pays off. I can always tell when a writer hasn't done enough research.

  3. Research definitely, from names (I have a thing for names meaning something... unless the characters name themselves first), to locations, and now even to emotional disorders. Oh yes, it's time consuming but it does pay off. :) I usually get caught up in Wikipedia... go to look at one thing and next thing I know I've clicked on six related pages and an hour has gone by.