Tag Archives: how to write a book

Writing A Book: 3 Tips To Help When You Have No Time

Writing A Book: 3 Tips To Help When You Have No Time

If I only had a dollar for every writer who’s ever said to me: “I know writing a book makes sense, but I have no time. I have kids/ two jobs/ a chronic illness/ (fill in the blank) ”.

Let’s assume that no matter how busy we are, we can find ten to 20 minutes a day, somehow. If all else fails, we may need cut back on sleep, but we can do it.

You need more than time, however. While managing your hours can be done easily enough, managing yourself isn’t as simple. You need to deal with fear.

Writing a book can be scary

When I started writing, I’d sit at my green Olivetti typewriter, and later at my IBM Selectric, with tears rolling down my face. This misery went on for a couple of years, but I sat anyway.

The sitting was key. It never occurred to me to leave my desk. I sat at my typewriter and wrote. The tears stopped eventually. I didn’t face my fears; I out-sat them.

You can do this too. No matter how anxious you are, stay at your desk.

Now let’s look at some tips.

1. Start by estimating the hours needed (guess!)

How long does it take to write the first draft of a book?

That depends on many things, but all you need is a rough guess for this book. If you’ve been writing for a while, you know that a thousand words takes you an hour or two, for example.

Guess how long your novel or nonfiction book will take. Let’s say that you’re writing a 60,000 word novel. A thousand words takes you two hours, so the novel will take 180 hours. Please remember it’s only a guess. You don’t need to know precisely.

Why estimate? So that you can create a self-imposed deadline. You need a deadline (feel free to alter it when you must), because open-ended projects never end well. Projects expand. When you have forever, because there’s no deadline, it will take forever.

2. You can’t avoid distractions, so schedule your writing time

This video, Indistractable: How to Master the Skill of the Century, is worth the time you spend watching it. Nir Eyal makes the point that if you don’t schedule your day, someone else will.

A schedule sounds… uncreative, I know. Aren’t writers supposed to be creative? Just as you need a self-imposed deadline, you also need a schedule.

It’s not enough to decide that: “I’ll work on my book every night after dinner.” With such a loose schedule, you’re leaving yourself open to 1001 distractions.

You’ll become distracted, by:

  • A phone call;
  • A discussion with your child, or your partner;
  • Email or social media…

3. Avoid judging your book while you’re writing it

This is a challenge. You’re writing a book. You want your book to be good. It’s hard to avoid judging what you’re writing, and what you’ve written.

Do it anyway. Commit to writing without judgment. Here’s why. Everyone has moods, which change daily; sometimes hourly.

Sometimes you’ll finish a chapter, and think: drivel. Nothing can save this… A day later, you’ll read that chapter and you’ll think, hey, it’s not so bad. It might be good, and I can make it better…

When you judge your book while you’re writing it, you’ll get into tangled messes, which waste time. Trust yourself. You’re better at writing than you think.

So — what are you waiting for? Start writing a book. 🙂

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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. 🙂

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More Heart To Heart: Write Hot-Selling Romance Fiction

More Heart To Heart: Write Hot-Selling Romance Fiction

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 2
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

I adore writing romance fiction, and now you can write romance too.

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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.

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.

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Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

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124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today

124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today

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You want to write fiction. Perhaps you're a self-publishing author — or perhaps you're a ghostwriter, and want to offer fiction writing services to clients.

Whatever your needs and dreams, this book, 124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today, will help.

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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.