"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

“How Long Did It Take to Write the World’s Most Popular Books?”

When inspiration does strike, some famous novelists have proven that a work of fictional brilliance can be produced in a matter of days. From ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ which the author, John Boyne, claims to have written in 2 ½ days, to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien which took a staggering 16 years to complete, we have collated 30 of the world’s most famous books to divulge and compare how long they took to create.

As well as knowing simply how long these novels took to write, it is interesting to note the books word-count in comparison. At over 58,000 words in length, ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ was written in only 6 days, meaning Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a remarkable average of 4482 words per day to finish his story within this time. Impressive when compared with JD Salinger’s average for ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ at a mere 20 words per day over 10 years.

Have a look at these timespans in the infographic below, and then try to reconcile your own personal inspiration-to-productivity ratio.

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