I don’t know. What’re you asking me for?
Seriously though, the answer is “it depends.” It depends on how often you’re writing. It depends on how much you write when you do write. It depends on if/how often you re-write. It even depends on the type of novel (some genres’ books are longer than others).
I can’t give you an exact length of time without knowing all those variables. Still, I suppose I could estimate based on certain assumptions.
Let’s say you’re writing an average adult novel with a goal of @ 80,000 words. If you write 1,000 words every day and never re-write, you should have a rough draft in 80 days, right? It’s simple division. 80,000 divided by 1,000 is 80.
That’s a little under 3 months.
According to math, you could write a rough draft of a full novel in just under 3 months if you write 1,000 words a day. And a lot of people claim to write 1,000 words a day. So why aren’t more people churning out new novels every 3 months?
Well, there’s a couple of other factors. Add in plotting and research, and you’re probably over 3 months. Maybe over 4. Add in re-writing, even if you only do it every couple of months, and you could easily tack on another month. Possibly 2. Or 3. (That’s why everyone tells you to avoid re-writing too much!)
Oh, and are you writing full-time? Or are you squeezing in your writing while working a full-time job?
If writing that novel isn’t your full-time job, writing 1,000 words a day gets a lot harder. You might be able to do it writing an hour a day, and you might not. Some days, you might write 1,300. Other days, you might only write 300. They tend to average out eventually, but those 300-word days are going to affect your overall time. And if you date, have friends, or have kids (etc., etc.), those daily counts are going to fluctuate even more.
So how long will it take you to write a novel?
It all depends on you. If you’re dedicated and willing to tug and shove and slice your schedule to make the time every single day, you could do it in 3 months. It may be crap – that depends on you, too.
Since it depends on you, forget how fast or slow anyone tells you it should go (you know, unless you have a deadline). Go as fast or as slow as you need to. Push yourself but know your own limitations. The biggest goal is to finish it. Make sure you’re moving forward. Writing your novel will take as long as it takes.
You won’t know for sure until you actually sit down and write it.