How Much Time?


Hi! It’s L. Marie. It’s been a minute since I last posted. Sorry about that. I drew a blank every time I thought about what to post (summer? Independence? COVID?) so I didn’t. 😑 But here I am finally. It’s about time, you’re probably thinking. And to that I say you’re absolutely right about the subject of this post.

The catalyst for it was a YouTube video I watched on a videogame, Link’s Awakening. The YouTuber proclaimed that it took 11 hours to finish the game. For him, that seemed to be an incredibly long amount of time. The median amount of time for the game, which I’ve played, is 14 hours. Click here for more details.


That got me to wondering about time and how relative it is. With that in mind, consider your answers to the following questions below. My answers are in bold.

What’s the longest amount of time you’ve spent . . .

  • Playing a videogame? 1000+ (Animal Crossing)

Animal Crossing

  • Writing a short story? Two weeks for a 1200-word story. I spent a week writing and rewriting a five-hundred-word chapter and five days writing and rewriting a three-hundred-word story.
  • Writing a novel? Three years from draft to revision
  • Binge watching a TV show (not counting special events like the Olympics) or miniseries? Six hours for the TV show. A friend and I binge-watched episodes of the first season of Heroes back in 2007. We spent ten hours watching the miniseries, The 10th Kingdom years before that. It debuted back in 2000.

Tenth Kingdom

Novel adaptation of the series

  • Knitting a sweater or some other craft work? A week.
  • Other?

I see you staring at the thousand plus hours I listed for the videogame. For some, a videogame might seem like a waste of time. I won’t debate that here. But I’ll just add that the game was played over the course of 15 months. And that amount of time is not unusual considering the pandemic. Click here for an article that discusses the matter.

Years ago, I read a blog post by a writer who wrote a novel in nine days, revised it over a couple of weeks, and sold it to a publisher less than a month later. Granted, she had already published a fantasy trilogy. But I recall balking at what seemed (to me at least) an incredibly short amount of time. Some of that balking—really, sour grapes—stemmed from the three years I’d spent on a novel only to net zero sales.

Time is relative.

Sometimes I’ve felt shame over the amount of time I spent doing something. Ever feel that? Like for instance, the fact that it took four hours for me to defeat the first dungeon in Link’s Awakening, when others, like the YouTuber I mentioned earlier beat it in 55 minutes. I know that’s innocuous. But I’ve also experienced shame after hearing about how quickly some authors gained an agent (one now famous author I read about gained one a month after querying), knowing I spent years querying to no result.

Is there anyone among us who has cornered the market on time—who knows exactly how long anything should take? Oh, I know there are jobs where time limits are premeasured. I once had a proofreading job where one of my five supervisors told me that certain assignments took a certain amount of time and I had better adhere to that time frame. But what I’m getting at here is that it is so easy to criticize someone for not “measuring up” to a specific amount of time.

I can’t help thinking of my undergrad years and how some students were shamed for taking longer than four years to finish college. A guy who worked on the food line at my dorm had been there four years when I arrived and was still there when I graduated four years later. Now, I think the average amount of time to finish college in the U.S. is five to six years. Go here for an article on that.

Do you ever share an opinion with others on how long something should take? What do you do when someone shares an opinion with you?

Clock image found somewhere online. I used it before in a post back in 2013, but got tired of scrolling through the photo library to find it. Other photos by L. Marie.

36 thoughts on “How Much Time?

  1. I keep forgetting they remade Link’s Awakening. Was one of my favorites from the Gameboy days, so I might pick it up at some point. I’m weird with time. Couldn’t tell you how long I’ve spent on video games beyond my annual Yom Kippur day of playing. With writing, I get an estimated time it takes to edit or write, but it’s always idealized. For example, I would technically take 6 days for me to edit ‘War of Nytefall: Anarchy’. That’s if I have nothing else to do. Instead, it looks like it will take me 8-9. It’s 18 days to write my next book, but I know I’m looking at 2-3 months because I have other things in my life. This is where time gets shaky. I can’t say how long I spend on one thing because I’m always bouncing around multiple responsibilities and activities. So, I just do it and wish there was a way to have more time to do everything.

    To be honest, I think humans have developed a society that revolves around squandering our time on Earth. We spend a 25% of our lifespan learning with most of the knowledge never being used beyond the tests we need to pass. The next 50% is working ourselves into poor health and exhaustion in the hopes of having the resources to retire. The last 25% is when we get our ‘free time’, but most people are dealing with bodies that are too beaten up for them to enjoy more than a handful of years. Yeah, it’s cynical and negative, but it’s hard for me to ignore this given the situation I’m in.

    • I hope you will get the game because the graphics are so good.
      Time is hard to measure when you have to multitask, especially if you work a 9 to 5. Back when I had to fill out a time sheet, I knew exactly how much time I spent on projects. Nowadays with contracts and flat rates, I don’t keep track as much.

  2. I only focus on time when it relates to being somewhere…I’m always early! Some people are better at wasting time than others. At times, I’m a pro. Since I’m only accountable for myself and what I produce, I don’t pay much attention to how others manage their time. Comparison is the thief of joy, right?

  3. Time is something I do think about, mostly in terms of productivity. A habit from years of cramming 6 or 7 subjects into a school day so my students can ‘learn’ enough to pass a state test. Actually, It was the above and beyond, the fun creative stuff, that I so carefully planned and fitted in atop the state mandated objectives that needed to be taught. I’m that way with my writing, too, though I procrastinate at times.

  4. Most everything takes longer than I would wish. It took me about 5 years, including learning about storytelling, to write my memoir.

    Thanks for giving us a primer on time. This post was worth every minute I spent reading it, but I’m sure it took you hours. I will share this for sure, L. Marie!

    P. S. Video games don’t interest me, but I thought the bits you mentioned were appetizing–ha!

    • Thanks, Marian! After writing the book were you able to see how much all of those precious moments you spent writing it added up to a great whole? Looking at your blog, I can see how much your life and the memories you shared, even the painful ones, bring joy to people.

  5. “I drew a blank every time I thought about what to post (summer? Independence? COVID?) so I didn’t.” I’m right there with ya on that, L.Marie. I’ve noticed many bloggers I follow are saying about the same thing.
    As for the time it takes for projects to get ‘finished’…geesh. Even though I understand it takes me longer than ‘most’ – at the very least longer than I’d like it to – the frustration of that can often derail my steady progress!
    Also, I’m thinking in these increasingly fast paced times, where internet sensations are flash in the pan success stories, that understanding gets undermined quickly. Until – the unveiling of the finished project ***as it was meant to be*** comes forth. Then no matter the time involved in getting it out there, it gives back a lasting sense of reward because it wasn’t just another viral sensation. Don’t know if that makes any sense – but that’s my 2 cents’!!!!

  6. I started writing my debut YA novel, Gringolandia, in 1987. It was a contemporary novel, but by the time I finished writing it, in 2007, it was a historical novel. Those 20 years are by far the longest I’ve spent on a single novel, but my others have averaged 2-3 years. About a year for the first draft, then the endless revisions. The shortest time I spent writing a novel was Rogue, at just under two years.

    • Oh thank you for this, Lyn. I read & enjoyed Gringolandia (as an adult!) and learning what you just revealed adds immense dimension to what it takes to do one’s art. You pulled it off well, BTW!

  7. Yeah, I think it’s a mistake to make time comparisons with other people – it leaves us feeling either smug because we’re so fast or depressed because we’re so slow, when in fact, like Goldilock’s porridge bowl, we’re all actually just right! Lots of book readers think I read loads, but lots of other can’t understand why it takes me so long to get through books. When I see readers boasting about how they’ve read 300 books already this year, or others sounding ashamed that they’ve only read five, I always wish we could all just accept that we’re different, it’s a hobby, and there are no targets except the ones we set for ourselves.

    • Three hundred books??? I wonder how many of those books they retain. Meanwhile, I am reading the same books over and over. My Goodreads shelves remain the same year after year. This is why social media is wasted on me.

  8. I don’t play video games but as for binge watching tv series’ I’ve recently rewatched all seven seasons of Medium for a FB group who encouraged me to write (brief) reviews for them. Maybe took a couple of months.
    I wrote the first draft of a novel a couple of years back but I’ve left it to stew since then.

  9. I don’t think about how long it takes to do things, I guess. It took me 4 years to finish undergrad and 6.5 years to finish grad school. I’m more into thinking about how to do things in a way that is efficient and pleasant, while being in a good groove as I’m moving forward. More thinking about the process than the goal.

  10. Ah, it’s all relative, L. Marie 😉 Yeah, time is relative. A friend of mine claims she’s a slower knitter than I am (because she literally knits slower) but she’s more disciplined, so she still completes her projects before mine. (Speaking of which I have one uncompleted sweater but for some reason I thought I should start a blanket.) It took me almost 4 years to get a 2-year degree because I went to California during that time. Wound up coming home to take that one last class. Life happens. The key thing is to enjoy yourself while it’s happening!

  11. One thing I tell people about time: “If this is the first time you are making this recipe, allow twice as much time.” It took me years to learn this lesson.

    Otherwise, I try not to tell people how much time something “should” take, because “your usage may vary.” And even though I am the sort of person who does things like college degrees in the allotted amount of time, at this point it has been 20+ years since I got serious about writing, and I have yet to find an agent or publish a book with my name on the cover, so my question about time has become “when is it too late.” I have written enough published articles and done enough reporting to feel like a real writer, but that wasn’t the dream.

  12. Speaking of time, it took me a long time to get to your blog.But here I am.

    I’m slower than you at most of the things you listed. I don’t play video games, though, so I’m surprised at the number of hours you could spend with one.

    We’re advised to slow down and smell the roses. At the same time we’re reminded that life is short. Don’t waste the time you’re given. I suppose most of us move at the speed that works for us. I’m sure I’m slower now than I used to be.

    • Glad you came! I’m sorry it took so long to get to my blog. I recently switched back to Classic Mode thanks to advice found at Ally Bean’s blog! Such a life saver!

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