How to write a book
Writing a book is hard. Really hard. But you can do it.
Writing a book is hard.
But you can do it.
At this point, I've written or ghostwritten about a dozen books (most don't have my name anywhere on them, and you'll probably never read them, thus ghost — boo!). But some have my name on them, too. The shortest book I wrote was about 35,000 words. The longest was 135,000.
I wrote one book in six weeks (that's a pace I wouldn't recommend). Another took me about a decade (I wouldn't recommend that, either, but so it goes).
Every book is unique in some way. It's important to understand and uncover what makes your book just a little bit different than everything that's been written.
It's one thing to have an idea. Lots of people have ideas. Some ideas are great.
It's another thing, entirely, to finish the book. So many book projects begin with a flurry, a rush, lots of forward momentum, only to fade over the weeks and months. Life gets in the way. Life will always get in the way, if you let it. Or you’ll get discouraged. You need motivation, whether internal or external, to keep going when it all seems insurmountable.
So you have an idea and motivation: great! But there's something else that’s required, too, in order to be able to complete your book.
It's crucial to map out the project to its basic elements -- an outline uncovering the meaning and impact of each chapter, and what they will cover, and how in-depth you plan to go. By doing that, you'll be able to assign word count goals for each chapter and the entire project.
And from that planning, you can set your writing pace. If your goal is to complete a 50,000-word manuscript in 50 days, you know you have to average 1,000 words each day.
And now you have a road map for each chapter, too. If you know Chapter 11 is a short one, you can write it quickly and spend more time on a chapter that requires more of your energy.
Setting the right pace -- and knowing if you're running ahead or behind schedule -- will help you know when to speed up or slow down, when to clear your meetings, when you can take the night off and take it easy.
A book becomes digestible, and possible, to complete when you can break down the bigger task into daily and weekly goals.
And when you've done all of that and poured your energy into writing, then it's time for editing ... and sales … and promotion … which are also hard.
But you can do it.