What is a Book?

Authors agonize over how long it takes to write a book. A friend was talking about this recently, and I told her something I once read that casts a different light on the writing process.

Years ago, I came across an article: "What is a Book?" Unfortunately, I don't remember the author, but I do remember the answer to the titular question. A book is 4 pages a day for 3 months.  (Assuming the book is about 360 pages long.)

Get Perspective

I think we who write for a living set ourselves up for frustration when we get this idea that we have to produce pages each day rather than paragraphs. We forget that a  paragraph or two each day will get us to the same destination albeit more slowly.

The point is that the biggest mountain can be moved one shovelful at a time just as the longest manuscript can be completed one paragraph at a time.

Takeaway Truth

Gene Fowler is famous, among other things, for having said: "Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."


  1. I'm there with you on the paragraphs. It reminds me a little bit of the old cigarette commercial about "smoking more and enjoying it less", only now I'm writing less and enjoying it more.

  2. That's a good position to be in, Liz.

    Write hard. Live free.