The biggest question new writers ask is “How long does it take to write a book?” And the common answer normally is: “It depends”.
According to this article that interviewed famous authors, when asked how long it took to produce their debut novels, the answers ranged from four years to a decade. In other words, a very long time.
While it’s nice to be able to take your time honing and polishing your new book, a rough draft sitting on your hard drive isn’t doing anything for you. It’s not building your author name, spreading your message, or growing your audience. Moreover, it’s not earning you a single cent.
But there is amazing news: Writing your book can take far less time than you think. You just need to have the right mindset and stay motivated.
This guideline covers:
- Establishing a Strategic Deadline
- Prioritizing Your Writing Into Tasks
- Creating Word Count Goals
- Finding Your Accountability Partner
- Setting Challenges for Yourself
Follow these guidelines to supercharge your own writing process, and you’ll become a published author faster before you know it.
1. Establishing a Strategic Deadline
Deadlines are designed to help you inch closer to completing your book. It also encourages you to work every day hitting both short term and long term goals. However, you won’t find success by setting arbitrary due dates. They must be set up for your book’s success.
Here are 3 ways to establish strategic deadlines:
- Define realistic deadlines. Set short term and long term deadlines for each portion of your draft that breaks down your entire book.
- Set honest expectations. If you’re only able to write 500 words a day, so be it. Don’t push yourself into thinking that you can complete an unrealistic task. Be honest with your abilities and align it with your deadline.
- Implement rewards. Don’t make writing a book feel like a tedious job. Reward yourself for achieving your goals! Attaching rewards to each accomplishment will make finishing your book much more aspiring to complete.
Action Plan: Before writing, set your first draft time frame between 30-90 days and set target dates that tackle both short term and long term goals for your first draft.
2. Prioritizing Your Writing Into Tasks
What separates those who can write multiple books to those who can barely write a page is the ability to prioritize. Because there are so many competing factors that pull away our time and energy, prioritizing is actually a very hard concept to implement.
But in order to write your book, you need to establish clear priorities to get anything done.
Here are some ways to prioritize your work:
- List out every detail of your book and turn them into tasks
- Assess each task to identify what carries the biggest value to completing your book
- Order tasks by its immediate priority and length of time to complete
- Anticipate unexpected changes to your schedule, and plan an alternative schedule to stay on track
Action Plan: Make the effort and spend a few hours prioritizing your writing process. You will be surprised by how much writing you can accomplish with a well-thought-out task plan.
3. Creating Word Count Goals
One of the best ways to accelerate the writing process is to set word count goals. Like training intervals, setting up word count goals will pace how many words to write a day. By establishing these parameters for your own success, not only will you be more likely to accomplish these goals, but you will also notice improvements to your writing.
We recommend writing down your daily, weekly, and monthly word count goals to not only show your current progress but to keep you motivated until you reach the end. It also helps to include rewards for every new milestone!
Action Plan: Start your daily word count goal to 500-1,000 words per day. By completing 1,000 words per day, you’ll be looking at your completed 30,000-word first draft in one month!
4. Finding Your Accountability Partner
A supportive partner can be a great soundboard, the first pair of eyes, and a protector of your sanity. They can also be the extrinsic motivation you need to meet your own deadlines and word counts.
When you have an accountability partner backing you up, it makes it harder to procrastinate because they expect great results from you!
At Self-Publishing School, we believe in the accountability system and pair our students up with other like-minded students to encourage one another and hold each other accountable for reaching goals and deadlines. It’s a great motivating tactic and helps our students complete their books on time.
Action Plan: Find an accountability partner who is willing to encourage and hold you accountable to meet your deadlines!
5. Setting Challenges for Yourself
Following the same routine can get old quickly especially for something lengthy like writing the first draft of your book. To combat the fear of boredom and add more spark to your writing project, we encourage you to set challenges for yourself!
Here are some simple challenges to set:
- Double the word count you’ve originally set daily, monthly, yearly
- Purposely tighten deadlines to increase pressure
- Ban the use of your phone or all forms of distractions until you’ve completed your task
- Read your unfinished draft out loud to someone new for feedback
Action Plan: Include a few of these challenges every so often to increase the intensity of your writing. You may tack on even better rewards for each successful challenge you’ve completed.
If you ever dream of becoming a self-publisher, now is the time to finally make it a reality. By following these guidelines on how to develop a robust writing process, you will have your first book ready to publish in no time.
Over To You
Which of these tips have you found helpful? Do you have any other tips? Share them in the comments below!