How Long Does it Take to Write a Memoir?

I had a lot of questions for others as I wrote my memoir. When people found out I was writing a memoir, they also had questions for me. Probably the number one question I asked others and others asked me was: How long does it take to write a memoir?

boy at computer writing book not typing

For me, it was a long time or maybe not so long depending on what I consider to be the actual start. I would guess anywhere from 10 to three years. There was a lot of pre-writing and thinking and a lot of writing that didn’t turn out to be part of the final manuscript.

I wrote about it in at Women Writing Memoir on Medium. You can check it out using the link below.

Did you write a memoir or other book? How long did it take you? And What about the next step, publishing? How long did that take?


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  1. Jason

    I was actually planning on writing one myself thank you for the time line I better get going. Thought a year tops sadly underestimated things.

  2. Liliana

    I am working on a YA novel based on my teenage years and I had the idea last year in October, I have finished the first chapter but I am not sure how far I am going to take the story. I am not rushing myself as I think we need to give ourselves the time to remember the story we want to tell. So I think it really depends on the person and how much time you put into the book as well.

    Thank you for sharing,

    • Catherine Lanser

      I agree. You never know where you will end up and have to give yourself enough time for the story to emerge.

  3. Kate Johnston

    I don’t write memoirs, but I write novels–and I can relate to the ten-year rule! lol Of course, every writer’s journey is different but one common thread is writing a book is freaking hard and it can take a long time, regardless of the story.

    • Catherine Lanser

      I think it would have helped to know what I was writing before I started, but I am a “panster” for sure.

    • Catherine Lanser

      There’s a lot of non-writing time in the 10 years,, but. Definitely something I’ve been thinking of for a long time. Thanks for stopping by.

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