How to write a book in 100 days

Image via Wikipedia 1. Choose a topic you already know well. You won’t have time to do much research and should already have the majority of the book in your...
Stephen King signature.
Image via Wikipedia

1. Choose a topic you already know well. You won’t have time to do much research and should already have the majority of the book in your head or at least at your fingertips. Writing is hard work and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to produce more than 4 type-written pages day after day, especially if you spend hours on research.

2. Clear your life of other distractions. You probably have a day job that you can’t quit just yet, but for the next 100 days put off everything else you can. Don’t plan a vacation or a party or spring-cleaning. You don’t want to lose your momentum once you get started.

3. Make an outline. Decide on chapter titles and a logical sequence of information. It’s more efficient to think this through ahead of time than to go back and re-write later.

4. Decide how long your book will be, then divide the task into 80 smaller units. This gives you a little leeway, and also time for one day off per week. At 3-4 pages a day, you can produce a book of 240 to 320 pages. Don’t plan to write a 500 page textbook in this limited amount of time. It simply will not work.

5. If you’re looking to write fiction, get the general storyline in your head and just start. No doubt the story will take twists and turns along the way, so don’t worry too much at the beginning if you don’t know where you’re headed – just get at it.

6. Don’t worry about perfection. Just keep writing. You will need to do some re-writing no matter how perfect you think your writing is. It doesn’t matter if you’re a member of Mensa, you and every other writer should count on the need for at least minor revisions. You may not believe this at first, but when you finally complete your manuscript and put it aside for a few weeks, you’ll find you’ve written things that require clarification, or abridging, or re-structuring. Passages of conversation that once seemed natural to you may later feel stilted. But don’t worry about this while you’re writing. Just keep going.

7. Plan for a weekly day off. Why are you writing, anyway? Surely not just for the sake of it. You want to improve the life of your family or share something with the world. Don’t forget to connect with the people that matter to you or they may begin to resent your writing.

8. Realize that writing the book is only the beginning. Getting it published will take at least as much time as the first draft of your manuscript, likely more. Don’t let this discourage you. Just keep at it, a little at a time.

9. Reward yourself when you’re done. You need to put your manuscript aside for a few weeks, anyway. Even Stephen King follows this practice. So have a party or take a vacation. Refresh yourself before the real work, the re-writing, begins.

How do I know this will work? Because I did it myself. The original version of 101 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare was written in 100 days and on the market another 100 days later. I must have done a reasonably decent job at writing because a major publisher found the book and contracted with me for a re-release. I hope this works equally well for you.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.

Enhanced by Zemanta