A while back, after I had just finished my first draft of Hatshepsut, a friend asked how long it took to get the whole thing on paper.

My answer? Roughly nine months of concerted writing. (The first year I only managed 100 pages and half of that was cut.)

Her response? “Wow. So writing a book is like having a baby.”

Yes. In more ways than one.

Here are some mammal gestation periods with my written “baby” equivalents.

Opossum: 12 days (Creation of first draft of first chapter, most of which will inevitably be chopped.)

Cat: 63 days (Length of time it takes me to run out of my initial inspiration when starting a new book.)

Cow: 284 days (Roughly the amount of time for human gestation, approximate time necessary to finish the first draft.)

Whale: 360 days (Time required to complete enough edits to get a WIP ready for beta readers.)

Indian Elephant: 624 days (A smidge less than the time from writing the first word of the first draft to having Hatshepsut query-able.)

Now the next time someone asks why your book isn’t on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, you can tell them the process of writing a book is like having a baby. An elephant baby.

(On a side note, I’m glad I’m not an elephant! Nine months of being pregnant just once was more than enough for me!)

So, what stage is your book at?