“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you
and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better
at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.”
Create a Book Outline
I know, I’m repeating myself here, but I want to make sure you actually do this. A great outline is one of the critical success factors for getting your book done. Be very clear about what you are going to cover in your book. Write down your list of chapter topics and then break each chapter into sub sections. And don’t forget to include an introduction and conclusion.Set-Up Your Manuscript at the Beginning
When I set up my manuscript properly at the start of a project, it makes me feel like my book is more real. This is a great psychological advantage. So, what I do is take my book outline and put all the elements from the outline into my manuscript. Then I can focus on the writing each day – filling in the blanks. Honestly, this will make you feel like an author as you go through the process!
Create A Writing Plan
Create a writing plan so that you know what you are writing and when.
Choose a date by which you will complete your rough draft.
Set yourself the goal of writing a specific number of words per day (if you write 1,000 words per day, you will write 7,000 words a week). If you want to write a book of 30,000 words, that would take you a month. If you want to write a 40,000 word book, you need to increase your daily word count to write the book in 30 days.
Schedule your writing time into your diary. Schedule days off from writing too. Are you going to write on the weekends or not?
Using the right tools to write can make all the difference. Some people are quite happy writing in MS Word or Mac’s Pages. But most professionals like to use a writing tool like Scrivener for Mac or PC. Scrivener allows you to easily move parts of your book around – which is great for the non-fiction authors like me. It also makes distributing you finished manuscript so easy. Scrivener converts files to .mobi (for Amazon Kindle books) and .epub (for everything else).
You can purchase scrivener fairly cheaply on Amazon and from the Scrivener website. I think the Mac version is far better than the PC version but I can still make it work effectively for me on the PC. Oh, and did I mention it has version control. Got to love that!
I initially started writing this book in Scrivener but I changed over to MS Word because I am a visual person and I hate the way the font and page look when I’m using the PC version of Scrivener. I also wanted to have this as a colourful and pretty book, which I can do easily in Word.
I also use Evernote to keep notes when I’m researching my topic. Evernote is a free tool that you can use on your computer and have synced with your mobile devices. See below for more information on organising your research. You can send a page or document to Evernote quite easily.
When you’re writing, that’s all I want you do to do. This is the key to fast book writing. So get organised with your research. If you have digital files, create folders for each research area on your computer. Or if you use Evernote, create Notebooks and Notes around each chapter or topic.
If you have hardcopies, go and buy an arch lever folder and some dividers. Divide the folder into chapters then sort your research into the relevant chapters. This will help you no end when you are writing your book. You don’t want to waste precious writing time looking for that one piece of information. A little diligence here pays a lot.
If you want to write a book fast, you need to set aside time to work on your book. When you sit down to write, make sure that’s where all your focus is. 100%.
Turn your phone on silent or turn it off altogether, do not open your internet browser (unless you need to find do some research), social media, or anything else. If you need music, that’s your only allowance!
Stop all distractions as they have a funny way of, well, distracting you. You will be amazed at how much you can write when you are 100% committed and focused on the task of just writing. And how tempted you might be to just check your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Don’t do it! Stay focussed.
Just start writing. Do not let your mind get in the way. Focus on the words and your fingers on the keyboard. Editing and formatting come later. Right now, you just need to do a brain dump of everything you want to share with your reader.
So go ahead and do a big dump (lol, pun intended). Get everything out as quickly as you can and then you can start the task of re-organising, editing, and formatting.
The slower you write, the more time there is for the monkey on your shoulder to whisper in your ear and fill you head with self-doubt and before you know it, you’ll be second guessing yourself. Leave your conscious critical mind out of the first draft!
Set yourself a goal for when you want to have your draft manuscript completed.
Having a goal will help you achieve it. As you probably know, research shows that those who set goals are more likely to achieve them than those that don’t. So go ahead, set your goal.
When do you want to have your book draft finished? Go on, commit, right now!
I hereby commit to writing my book in the next 30 days [put the date in here if you like]. I will take consistent action and be accountable for my goal. I will make short term sacrifices to achieve my goal. I will work on my book for one hour every day.
I believe that I can do it! I will be an author!
In your social media allowance, tell the world that you are writing a book and that you will have it completed by a certain date. This public declaration not only helps keep you on track, it also tells the universe that you’re serious. And when the universe knows you’re serious, it works in mysterious ways to help you achieve your goals.
So you’ve set your goal, you’ve told the world, and now you have to get writing. Find someone you can be accountable to during the book writing process. If you have chosen to write your book in 30 days, then update your accountability buddy daily or every week and let them know how you are going. This will help you stay the course as well as give you some well needed support along the way.
When I was losing weight, I had an accountability buddy. We would send each other a daily message (or ten) with our daily weigh in results. This helped me keep focused on my goal and gave me someone to share my success and frustrations with who understood what I was going through. I believe that having this accountability was the key to losing 25 kilos (about 50 pounds). And I have seen this with my weightloss clients as well. Being accountable helps you successfully achieve your goals.
If you are in any writers’ groups (online or face to face) or other professional groups, find someone to be your buddy. If you really can’t find someone, then at least tell your Mum, best friend, or partner and ask them to keep you accountable.
Having a routine will put you and your writing-resistant brain into the zone. If you get up one hour earlier as suggested, make yourself your favourite hot drink and then sit down and start writing. Write for one hour and then have a quick break for a protein shake or something nutritious for breakfast. If you are hopeless in the morning, but focused at night, make yourself an evening routine that works for you. Whatever you routine is, just make sure you do it regularly (i.e. routinely!).
Use your routine to put you in the zone. When you sit down to write, just write.
You might be a fast writer, like me. But most people aren’t. Why? Because they think it is not possible to create great content fast. You’ve heard of authors that take ten years to write their books. But that’s not the case for many prolific writers.
If you want to write your book fast, believe that you can. I have written books fast as have most of my author friends. The speed is part of the joy of creating our books for us. So, how long do you believe a book takes to write? I challenge you to really believe that you, yes you, can write a book really fast.
“I think I can, I think I can,” said the soon to be author.
Think of Yourself as an Author
Start thinking of yourself as an author. Add the title Author to your marketing. Make it real!
The more real you make it, the more likely you are to succeed. And if you believe in any of the Law of Attraction philosophies, you will know that acting like something is already true is the quickest way to attract it to you.
Even if you haven’t finished your book, the fact that you are in the process of writing one makes you an author. It’s like a couple who are expecting their first child. As soon as they find out they’re having a baby, they become parents. I know as a mother, when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Grace, I was a parent. I made sure I ate well and took care of myself so that she could have the best start in life.
You are an Author! Say it to yourself:
I am an author.
I am an author.
I am an author.
Write it on a sticky note and pop in on your bathroom mirror. Or put it above your computer. Update your email signature and social media profiles and add the title of author to them.
All writers read and it’s easy to be influenced by the books you consume. But I warn you, don’t try and write like anyone else. Find your own voice. Own it. It is your unique voice that will attract the right readers to your book.
There are probably dozens of other books on the topic you’re writing about, so your point of difference in a crowded market place is you! Let your personality shine through. Imagine your ideal reader and write as if you are talking intimately to them. Imagine you are having a conversation with them and sharing all the things you know!
There will be times during the writing process where you’ll probably hate your work. Or be sick of writing. That’s ok. Most writers go through this. It’s actually part of the process. But it can be very destructive and is responsible for a great many half-finished manuscripts littering filing cabinets and computer files around the world.
This is a rinse and repeat cycle. It may come back again and again. Commit to moving through it. And know that first drafts are allowed to be ugly and that they can easily turn into stunning swans.
When I was writing Who Gets the Farm, I lost my writing mojo and my will to live when I got to the chapter on business structures. OMG. A topic that I find incredibly boring as well as being outside my expertise. So what did I do? I sat down and ploughed through it. It’s probably not the best chapter I have ever written and it’s definitely not scintillating, but it needed to be included in the book. Inspiration is a luxury I couldn’t afford. Don’t wait for inspiration, dedicate is far more useful.
If you’re new to writing a book, or even if you’re a dab old hand, writer’s need support. Join a Facebook group for writers. Meet up with a local writers’ group. If you are indeed writing your book fast like I like to, then you might not have time for this type of support because you’ll be done in no time.
That said, regardless of speed, whether you’re a tortoise or a hare, you may need support as you navigate the publishing process. Self-publishing requires a certain amount of knowledge or access to know-how. Think of your cover design, page layout, forming, uploading to Kindle, marketing, etc. That’s a lot for one person to know right out of the starting gate. Check out the resource section for more information on getting support down when you’re ready to publish.
And to add a mini sales pitch here: if you really want accountability and support, you can always join my FAST Book Writing Bootcamp (there’s info on this at the back of this book). Ok, that’s it for the advertisement.
Regardless of what method you use to write your book, you need to back-up your manuscript. Many tears have been shed over lost documents and I don’t want you to be one of them. Your computer could die, your file could become corrupt, or some other disaster could strike leaving you without a manuscript after all your hard work.
There are a couple of ways to ensure you always have a back-up:
Set up your document to automatically save to a Cloud back-up storage system (like Dropbox).
Email yourself a copy of your book to a Cloud based email account like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail.
Back up to an external hard drive
Don’t be one of those people that only thinks of backing up but doesn’t do anything about it. You will regret it if anything happens to your precious manuscript.
So which of these are you going to implement? I’d love to know, so let me know below! And if you have any more ideas, I’m also keen to hear them as well.