Tag Archives: how to write a book

3 Fun Ways To Use The 2-Minute Rule To Write A Book

3 Fun Ways To Use The 2-Minute Rule To Write A Book

Writers — you gotta love them. Procrastination is without a doubt, the biggest hangup they face. “I’m writing a book,” a writer tells me. The writing and publishing plan I created for him lands in his Inbox…

Then… crickets. A week later, I contact him, and he hasn’t even read the plan, much less started on the book. Procrastination strikes again.

The 2-minute rule can help you to write a book

If you haven’t heard of the two-minute rule, it’s a technique popularized by productivity guru, David Allen. Basically, if some thing takes less than two minutes, you do it right away. You can use the rule on long tasks on which you procrastinate too — you give yourself two minutes to get started on the task. That two minutes breaks your inertia, and you’re likely to keep doing the task.

From How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “2-Minute Rule”:

The 2–Minute Rule works for big goals as well as small goals because of the inertia of life. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. I love the 2–Minute Rule because it embraces the idea that all sorts of good things happen once you get started.

Let’s look at how you can use the two-minute rule when you’re writing a book.

1. Create a main character in your book in two minutes

I like Penny’s character-questioning process for fiction authors:

Here’s an important tip: your character interview gives you your character’s back story. You’ll discover who your character is, and what his greatest fear is. Your story (novel, novella, or short story) starts after the incidents which he tells you.

Think of a character (use Penny’s adjective and noun), then ask the question — hey presto, you’ve created a character.

2. No time? Maybe, but you’ve got two minutes

You’ve been meaning to work on your book, but over the past week, you haven’t even had time to open the computer file.

Give yourself two minutes to open the computer file, right now, and write a couple of sentences. They don’t need to be wonderful sentences. Don’t read what you’ve written, just write the sentences.

This simple strategy usually ensures that you carve a few minutes out of the busiest days to write a page of your book.

3. Two minute to a deadline: when you really, positively need to finish your book

Your book is due in a couple of weeks. You’re only at the 50% point. There’s no chance you’ll make your deadline, so you procrastinate. You haven’t written a word in days, and are frantic about your deadline.

I know the feeling. 🙂 You feel overwhelmed.

Open your book’s computer file, and spend two minutes with it. You can write sentences, or read a few pages, it doesn’t matter.

This simple tactic might be enough to overcome your procrastination. If it isn’t, open the file two more times today, and spend two minutes with it each time.

Chances are that you’ve conquered the feeling of overwhelm, and your procrastination, and you get to work on completing your book.

Can you think of ways YOU might use the two-minute rule to write a book?

My friend Penny uses the two-minute rule to research her historical fiction: “If I Google, something, and can’t find it in two minutes, I’ll put a large XXX in the manuscript. I’ll deal with it in rewrites.”

I use the two-minute rule to rough out an upcoming scene in my novel on an index card. Just who’s in the scene, what they want, and the purpose of the scene. Although I don’t force it, I write the first and last sentences of the scene too, if they occur to me.

Try the two-minute rule if you’re a procrastinator. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

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What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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Write A Novel: 5 Tips To Keep You Sane

Write A Novel: 5 Tips To Keep You Sane

It’s November 1. Hundreds of thousands of writers all over the world have one goal: write a novel. By the end of November, many will have written 50,000 words. That’s an immense achievement. Any writer anywhere who writes 50K words in just a month has begun a journey which will change his or her life.

Some authors will go on to establish careers as novelists. Even if you don’t however, NaNoWriMo is an immensely valuable exercise. So, how do you write a novel in a month?

How to write a novel in a month and stay sane

Let’s look at some tips which will help any NaNoWriMo author to stay sane. You can use these tips even if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo, of course.

1. Establish a time and place to write, and stick to it

Novelists lead boring lives, by intention. Yes, they take vacations, and socialize, but they know that novels are written alone, in solitude.

Don’t despair if solitude is impossible. Even if you have a full-time job, three kids, and many commitments, you can nevertheless complete NaNoWriMo if you set a writing routine, and stick to it.

You’ll need to write 1600 words a day to complete 50,000 words in a month. It takes me an hour to write 1000 words when I’m starting a novel. Once I’ve written the novel’s setup — the first three chapters — I know the people and the situation, and my writing speed increases automatically.

Try setting your alarm clock and getting up earlier so that you can write in peace. Or write as soon as the kids are in bed. Whichever you choose, stick to that routine. Within a few days, you’ll have trained your body and brain so that when it’s time to write, you’ll write.

2. Forget writing a novel: write ONE scene (or even just a paragraph)

You’ve written 1600 words, and you’re proud of your achievement. Well done! Then you realize how many words you still have to write.

Please stop thinking. You just need to complete one day’s writing at a time. When I start a novel, I never think of all the words I’ll need to complete by my deadline, because it’s pointless.

I like to focus on one scene at a time. I make a list of who’ll be in the scene, what each character’s goals are, what they’re scared of, and where the scene takes place. Then I write the scene.

Usually, my scenes average at 1500 words. Some are shorter, many are longer. Just like a novel, your scenes need a setup, and a climax. Focus on that scene, only.

On slow writing days you may need to just focus on a paragraph at a time. That’s OK. Writing a novel is frustrating, because a super-fast writing day may be immediately followed by a day in which the words won’t come.

My creativity seems to run in four-day cycles. I have four good writing days, followed by two very slow writing days. On slow days, focus on your paragraphs. 🙂

3. Write first, socialize later

Social media is a blessing because it makes writing easier. There are endless writing groups you can join, so you never need to feel alone.

Unfortunately, social media is also a curse. How many times have you opened Facebook “for five minutes”, then realize that an hour has passed, and you didn’t notice?

Write first.

4. Forget all the rules you’ve read: let yourself WRITE

For several weeks, you’ve prepared yourself to write a novel. Your head is stuffed with writing rules, and hopes and fears about your characters and your plot.

Forget that. Forget it all. The creative side of your brain hates rules. It’s basically non-verbal. It “thinks” in feelings and images.

Relax. Accept the words which pop into your head, and write them down. You can worry about writing rules and whether you’ve done justice to your characters after you’ve written 50K words.

5. Focus on your characters: they will grow your plot

Your characters will surprise you. If you love outlines, your characters will shock you, because they won’t perform as you expect them to. When it comes to following your outline, or following your characters, let your characters win.

You can always change your outline. If you try to send a character into a direction he doesn’t want to go, you may find yourself blocked.

If you find a character’s baulking, and you MUST get him to do something he won’t do, think about his background. Come up with a reason for him to do what you want him to do. Rewrite early scenes, or pop in a little backstory, and the chances are that he’ll oblige you.

On backstory: as a rule, I’m against flashbacks and great lumps of backstory for new novelists because it can quickly get out of hand. Writing backstory makes it too easy to wander down byways and lose the forward momentum of your plot.

If you do find yourself writing backstory, keep it to under 200 words.

Onward, one day’s writing at a time…

Keep writing. Expect to have some days you hate writing.

Write anyway. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

How Do You Know That You’re Ready To Write A Book?

How Do You Know That You’re Ready To Write A Book?

NaNoWriMo is on the horizon, which means lots of questions about writing. I had a plaintive cry for help from one woman, who’s been listening to people tell her what she can’t do. Basically, her friends were laughing at her and telling her that she couldn’t write a book.

Oh dear. As you might imagine, that made me very cross indeed. Since none of this writer’s friends are authors, how dare they crush her dreams? (While calling themselves “friends”…) On the other hand, perhaps those friends are helping her more than they realize.

I’ve always said that you will know that you’re ready to write a book when you want to do it — and that you’ll learn what you need to know about writing a book in the process of writing.

With any luck at all, this writer will decide to prove that she can indeed write a book, by writing and publishing one. 🙂

Write a book one idea and paragraph at a time

“How do I know I’m ready to write a book?” is a very common question.

Here’s my answer. If you can write a letter, you can write a book. You just keep writing, putting down one idea after another, and one paragraph after another. Keep writing, and you’ll end up with a book. You don’t even have to love writing, nor do you need to be talented, or even good at writing.

Only writing teaches you writing. The more you write, and the more you want to improve, the more you will improve.

Here’s the thing. No one knows what YOU can do — not even you. So, if you want to write a book, just start writing.

Desire is everything: writing a book will teach you how to write it

Of course people will have opinions. 🙂 To avoid getting side-tracked by those opinions, don’t discuss what you’re doing. Your nearest and dearest mean well when they tell you that you “can’t write a book.” They’re trying to help. (Most of them, anyway.) They don’t want you to be hurt.

When I offer this advice to writers — to write a book, get started and write — they have many more questions. However, if they’re not actively writing, they can’t implement the advice they get. So you need to start writing, no matter how many doubts and questions you have.

NaNoWriMo offers you a great opportunity to discover what writing a novel is like. Basically, it’s a lot of sitting and writing. 🙂

If you’re like the writer above, and wonder if you can write a book — join NaNoWriMo and find out.

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →