3 Amazing Ways to Finally Get Your Book Written
Post written by Leo Babauta.
It’s the dream of a huge number of people to write a book, but it’s also one of the most procrastinated tasks in history.
For many reasons, people put off writing a book like they put off writing a will — they’re deathly afraid of it.
In fact, that was me for many years. I had a million good reasons for not getting to work on the book — too busy, other people needed my attention, family crises, and those video games weren’t going to play themselves!
Luckily I found a few things that have worked for me, and I’ve written a bunch of books in the last five years or so: a couple novels, a published non-fiction book, a handful of ebooks.
What worked? I’ll share three methods that have absolutely rocked for me.
1. A Small Sprint. This is how I’ve written my ebooks: I narrow the scope of the book down to a manageable chunk, then give myself a small window in which to write it, and write it in a sprint.
The first task is to narrow the scope of the book — most people try to do too much, but I realized that I would never get the book done that way. I know myself too well. So I purposely picked a narrow topic that I knew I could write in a short time. You might think this is cheating, but it works for me.
Then I set aside a chunk of time to work on the book — for a short book, three or four days is usually enough. I’ll clear as much off my plate as possible, getting other work done ahead of time. For those three days, I want to focus on nothing but writing.
Finally I will often go somewhere without Internet, such as my favorite tea shop or a library. I hole myself up there all day, writing in spurts of about 15 to 20 minutes, then taking breaks of about 5 minutes, and repeating for as long as I can stand it. At the end of the three days, I have a finished draft! I will often let it sit for a few days before doing some revisions and then hiring an editor to polish it off.
This is my favorite method.
2. NanoWriMo. Every year something magical happens … tens of thousands of writers commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel in November, and by the end of those 30 days, many of them actually have the bulk of a first draft done! I’m one of those lucky writers — I’ve successfully completed the challenge twice, one of those times getting to 110,000 words.
I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to write a novel. It’s an amazing experience — not only are you a part of something huge, but you become incredibly motivated to write each day, something that’s not easily accomplished.
If you don’t want to wait until November, or you don’t want to do fiction, you can create your own challenge — publicly announce that you’re going to write 50,000 words in a month and publicly update your progress every day. And if you can get a bunch of other writers to join you, you’ll be even more motivated!
3. Chapters to an Accountability Partner. If so much public pressure isn’t your thing, consider having just one person to be beholden to. Ask someone you trust and respect to hold you accountable, and commit to giving them chapters or sections by certain deadlines. Also ask them to hold you to specified penalties if you should fail.
I’ve done this before and it absolutely works!
A few other tips:
- Writing quickly really helps, and the only way to get faster is to write a lot. Write every day if at all possible. Use a blog for daily practice.
- Don’t let details and perfection slow you down. The most important thing is to start, and the next most important thing is to keep going.
- Prewrite in your head as you walk, as you shower, as you jog, as you drive. So when you sit down to actually write, you have things to start typing.