This article on the Electric Literature site set me thinking about how time constraints affect the way that I work: How Long Is Writing Supposed to Take? – Electric Literature Don't miss the link to the infographic showing how long it took famous writers to complete their best-known book. I'm fortunate, so far as my writing goes, in that I don't have any distractions that interfere with my life as an author. Writing is my only occupation, I live alone, have no partner, family or pets and rarely see friends. I haven't always been this reclusive, and it took a while to adapt to, but I decided to dedicate myself to improving my skills as a writer, as it was what I wanted to do more than anything, so some things had to go. Despite, or maybe because of my freedom, I haven't always worked in the same way. I haven't consciously experimented with different approaches to creating a story or poetry, it's more that the subject affects my engagement with what I do. For example, ideas for poems wing into my consciousness from out of the ether: they usually come with a title handily attached, which I make a note of, along with initial thoughts on what the theme will be, stored in a folder on my desktop. Sometimes, I'll compose the poem then and there. My Cornish Detective novels require tons of research, and to help the process I've built up a useful resource of website addresses for things such as forensic medicine, poisons and police procedure. It took me 10 months to write the first story, partly because I made the beginner's mistake of not keeping to the advised 80,000 words for a crime novel by an unknown author. I churned out 179,000! I've since removed 30,000, which took several weeks. Since then, I take an average of 5 months to write and edit a novel, working for 4-5 hours on six days a week. I never edit what I've written on the same day, as I find sleeping on it helps me spot things when I start the next afternoon. I'm more creative in the evening, so edit and research in the afternoon to provide a springboard into the next chapter. My latest project has been the second story in what will be four novellas about an American Civil War veteran. The Era of Reconstruction after the war was so bewilderingly complicated, that I've done as much fact-checking and reading around the subject for this 28,000-word manuscript as I do for a novel. I've tackled this story in two-hour chunks from 7-9 pm—I'm not sure why—maybe because the subject matter is so dark that I have to wait for the sun to set! By the time that I finish it, I'll have spent 2 months on the creative writing, though in that time I've visited countless websites and read two novels and studied two densely-written non-fiction books about the Civil War and Era of Reconstruction. How long does it take you to write a story? I've said it before, but I'll repeat my respect for anyone who creates a novel while working a full-time job, taking care of family and socialising. Do you have any very long-term projects, that you keep returning to? What was your quickest story?