Each of my five published Mind/Body/Spirit books took about six weeks to write, from first word to sending off the final manuscript (though I work like a maniac once I get going, sometimes staying up 16 hours a day, barely moving from the computer – and they were not massively long books). It took me a very focused 7 months to write and thoroughly polish my recently completed 135,000 word novel. Then I took a further week preparing a proposal to send out to the handful of agents I’d selected. Actually more than one proposal, since each agent wanted a slightly different approach: one would ask for a one-page synopsis and another would want four pages; some requested only snail mail/hard copy, others wanted only email and some were happy with either. Each email or letter had to be geared towards the specific recipient as well. There is no one size fits all when approaching agents and publishers with a submission.
Other authors often advise getting on with your next project while waiting for responses, but I’m not able to get stuck into another book after working in such a concentrated way. However, continuing to write is good, it keeps one’s hand in. This is where having a blog comes into its own. You are still using your skills, still crafting words, but it’s less intensive and your focus can shift more. In fact blogging is fun. Even though you must try not to let your standards slip, it doesn’t seem like work in the same way that writing a book does. When I’m writing for commercial publication, I try to do a polished 1-2,000 words a day at least. Blog entries are much shorter and so require less stamina. In fact blogging is, in some ways, like freewheeling. You are doing something you love without the pressure of a deadline. Plus you are pleasing yourself about what and when you deliver.