I’m a planner. I plan everything. Because of this the planning stage of a novel takes several months for me. First I have backstory stuff, writing small backstories for any major characters, doing research if necessary etc. Then I write an outline or at least an idea for what’s going to happen in every chapter. For my first novel (that I wrote when I was 20 and no one will ever see) the planning stage took about two months. For my first “real” one, the planning stage went on for six months.
I even plan short stories in detail. It just gives me something to work with and I need that to get my creative juices flowing.
Then when I sit down to actually write I can just look at the plan for that chapter and now what my goal is for that day.
Sometimes I’ll still be in the planning stage when I start filing on the first chapter or beginning but usually I try to have the entire plan done before I start.
My last novel took me 11 months from start to finish. It could have been done faster but I have studies, work and have moved twice within that time period. Otherwise I managed my time this way:
March to August – Planning
August to October – First draft
October to February 2015 – Second draft
I wish I could sit down and write because I think the excitement of the first draft is awesome and I admire the people who can. But I have never managed to finish a story I didn’t first plan for. So even though the planning stage is sometimes boring since I’m eager to start actually writing, I know that it’s a necessary step for me.