I have a question for you… do you feel like you “have a book inside of you”, but just never seem to get around to writing it? Have you ever wondered why you don’t ever seem to get that book written? Maybe you tell yourself you’ll do it “someday”.
Let me tell you the truth: “someday” is usually code for “never”.
It’s like that sign that hanging in the coffee shop which reads “Free Coffee Tomorrow”. No matter how many times you show up at the coffee shop, to get your free coffee, you’ll have to come back “tomorrow”.
“Tomorrow”… and “someday”… will never actually come.
Look, if you have decided you’re just never going to actually write a book, that’s cool. You certainly don’t need to write one to be a worthy human.
But if you want to write a book, isn’t it time you get it done?
It’s possible to write books much faster than most people think.
I wrote two books in a single weekend not long ago. (Admittedly, I used a “trick” – I re-assembled collections of old blog posts – but I did it, nonetheless. Using existing assets does count!)
And it’s possible for just about anyone to write a book, start-to-finish, in less than a month. For sure.
Michael Moorcock, a science fiction and fantasy author, has cranked out complete novels in as little as three days. There’s even a contest where hundreds of people do just that – write a novel in three days – every year. This year, I plan to participate in the Three-Day Novel Contest myself. I figure an extra book this year can’t hurt.
In the meantime, here are some keys to getting your book written fast…
Key #1: Know What You Are Writing About
I am sorry that it is necessary to include this, but it is. There are a lot of books published (PUBLISHED!) each year that sadly don’t seem to know what their subject is.
At the very least, you need to know what your subject is, and most importantly, the Thesis Statement of your book. (The Thesis Statement is a single sentence that answers this question: “Why should I read your book?”)
Key #2: Proper Preparation
You need to write about something you already know, and that you know well. But knowing is not enough. You have to prepare and organize your knowledge into a coherent system that is self-contained, relevant, and usable.
Most of us have certain “riffs” (or little mini-talks) we can give on our core topics.
Take some time to think through what your usual “riffs” are on your subject, and make a list of those. You’ll assemble these pieces into your final book.
Key #3: Create The Proper Structure
Depending on the type of book you are writing, there are proven structures used by successful books already published in that genre.
Study the structure (the “bones”) of popular books on your topic, and look for the Universally Successful Structure. This is the outline… the “skeleton”…. the “bones” of the most successful books in your chosen subject area. Self-help books with vastly different styles and approaches all tend to use the same underlying structure.
The same is true of all other subjects and genres. (NOTE: Obviously, don’t copy other people’s work! Just look for the underlying structures.)
Key #4: Focused Blocks Of Writing Time
This part is basically math. If you know you write 2,500 words per hour, and you need 60,000 words for a complete book, you need 24 writing hours to complete the book. Think about that, by the way…
24 writing hours.
You could, conceivably, crank out a full manuscript in two 12-hour days! (Yes, it can and has been done.)
Or you could take it easy on yourself, and do it in three 8-hour days.
It’s up to you to block out the time to do the writing, and then just do the work. For instance, in the above scenario (60,000 words written at 2,500 words per hour)… a very reasonable way to approach this might be 6 days where you write for 4 hours each day. You could set aside the next three weekends, and write for 4 hours on each Saturday-Sunday… and in 3 weeks your book would be done!
Don’t tell me it’s not possible. I know it is. I have done it. I know plenty of others who have done it. All that is needed is a plan, and liberal amounts of butt applied to chair. As long as the chair sits in front of a keyboard.
The key is that whatever your schedule, your writing time must be sacred. During these focused blocks of time, the only thing you do is write. No phone calls, no emails, no Facebook, no exceptions. Write until your quota for that block of time is complete, or until the clock runs out. Period.
The Master Key: Write Before The Fire Goes Out
This is the real reason why most writers never finish a book.
Book ideas and inspiration have a remarkably short half-life.
You have an idea for a great book, and you get fired up about it. Maybe you write an outline and the first few pages, and then you get busy with other stuff. 3 days later your enthusiasm is at about half what it was initially. A week passes and the enthusiasm has diminished by half again… and in 2-3 weeks all the fire is gone, and that idea is dead.
Oh, you may drag the corpse out for the next 10 years and look at it, and show it off to other people (“I’m working on a book…”)
…but there will be no resurrection of that idea, short of a miracle.
What To Do Right Now
Review the steps above, and get started.
That’s what you need to do right now.
Writers don’t talk about writing; writers write.