Novels take time for many reasons. The novelist has to first have an audience, hence, in which genre does the novelist write to gratify her/his following. The novelist must also have a story within her or himself that will actually FIT the specific genre, toward which her/his audience are led to read.
Once the genre is determined the story must be carefully plotted, and characters carefully fleshed out to fit the plot; not one protagonist and one antagonist, but many, MANY other characters (since this is a novel) that will help carry the plot to its end.
Then, there is the carrying of the plot structure: how many complications will be enough, and how many subplots will there be to make the characters move toward the main character's plot, to carry it to the next complication. These are the every day pages; the routine business as usual life events that we really don't think about while we are living within these events. But the novelist HAS to think about these minute movements because everything leads to the next movement, or plot complication, or to the climax of the novel, or to the denoument and all the tie-ins, etc.
So. Let's take a deeper look at novelists, shall we? Some novelists have been raised very well. They have been taught the good things like discipline, and steadfast application, and have been guided by those caretakers that have rallied for, and spoken to the young storyteller, making it much more easy to lay down a plot, and focus most of their lives to what they had at a very young age, already conceived as their purpose in life.
Then, there are those novelist who lived the life of a child running with scissors, maiming and being maimed by sporadic and inconsistent symbols and signs, masquerading as guidance and care, but really taught the good lesson of inconsistent consistency, and undisciplined discipline. Fortunately, these kinds finally find their way to the novel board--late perhaps, but found, nonetheless.
Viewing these two origins does not make life any easier for the novelist, oh perhaps a little for the former, but still, there is much work to be done.
I admit I am in the second group, thus my sense of discipline is somewhat lacking, and I have to leave the chair of imagination often enough to keep my sanity. Hence, the activities for sanity follows.
I like to think that when I get bored of my own day to day stuff in the novel, I can turn to another source to renew the spirit as it were. So what I do is this. I finish up a shorter project, or edit another one which is in a different genre, or I write more poems. There are so many ways in which I keep me from pulling my hair out when I am stimied on some area of the context or content of the novel. Or sometimes...maybe I'll just take a walk...
I was working on a children's book as well. I'm almost finished and will let you know how that works out while I'm still writing 'the NOVEL.'