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Ask Dave

How Long Did It Take To Write the First Book?

Jack in Oklahoma asks how long it took Dave to write his first book. Dave discusses it in depth.

QUESTION: Jack in Oklahoma asks how long it took Dave to write his first book. Dave discusses it in depth.

ANSWER: You wouldn’t want to write a book the way I wrote my first book, because I was an idiot. I had no idea what I was doing. I just sat down at a computer and started typing. All of these thoughts and things I had run into started pouring out.

I usually did it from about nine o’clock until about two in the morning, until I would get tired and go to bed. Then, I’d get up the next day and go to work. After the kids went to bed, I’d just dive in and type until I ran out of steam.

I think I wrote the first page in September, and I picked it up from the printer in July. As authors go, that’s probably not that bad. The amount of hours and stupid stuff I did in that process was ridiculous. Now, it would take me a fourth as many hours to write the same number of pages and create the same book.

The reason I don’t have many books out is because I don’t really have that much to say. I tell you to get out of debt and live on a budget, live on less than you make. Give. Next! I am actually going to do some more books, but I have figured out that the reason I do a book about every seven years—even though publishers would like me to do them about every seven months—is because I’m not going to regurgitate the same thing over and over and over again. That’s ridiculous in a book form. The Total Money Makeover is written on an eighth-grade level so that anyone from the eighth grade up can read it and understand it. I don’t need to do one for old people, one for young people, one for fat people, one for skinny people, one for… It works! Just read it and do it. That’s it. It’s over.

If I’m going to do another book, I end up having to live it first. Doing a book for me in that sense is very easy because I don’t have to do like real authors and go do a bunch of research or something to validate my points, because a man with experience is not at the mercy of a man with an opinion. I live this stuff first, and then I write it down. The same thing with the Financial Peace stuff. I was living it before I wrote it. We certainly lived The Total Money Makeover long before we wrote it. The Total Money Makeover is more about other people’s stories than mine.

It took me from September to July to finish and have the first little copies printed, and I put them in the trunk of my car. Then, no one would buy them, so they sat in my basement. I wrote it from about 9 p.m. until about 2 a.m. with rare exceptions. I didn’t do that every single night, but I was kind of absorbed with this thing, and it was all in my gut and I had to get it out. That was 1992 when Financial Peace’s first version came out.