Pick up the closest book. Lift it. Feel the pages (or the electronic ereader weight). Those words there? All beautiful on the pages you're reading? The labor behind them is unknowable. Writing a novel is a trek up Mount Everest. Twice. Then you run a marathon. Afterwards, a triathlon. And the Olympics? You're almost ready to go for gold when your book finally comes out.
If I tried to estimate the number of hours I'd put into my first manuscript, I'd stop writing this instant. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around a proper calculation. Sure, I can tell you it took me 14 months -- from August one year to November the next -- to write the draft. But, I was still wearing my naive goggles, the rosy tinted ones that blurred my vision to the life of a writer. It couldn't be that much more effort to go the next step? Publication? A piece of cake.
Ah, those goggles have been thrown under the tire of a Chevy long ago.
I'm aware that I'm one of the fortunate few. I wrote a book; revised it; queried it; got rejected (to the tune of 80 no's, give or take); revised; edited; revised; sought critique. Then, someone saw my book's merits, which happened almost four years from the day I started the draft. In the scheme of things, I'm probably an anomaly. Most writers who care to mention how they first got published mention frightening timeframes like 7 to 10 years. Many, many more never reach the goal.
In about a month, my book will be out. I'm awestruck and exhausted. But, I'm still writing. Here. There. Everywhere. (Dr. Seuss was a writer, too.) I've got a few marathons in these old legs. Pardon the whine over my sore feet.