Here we are heading into December with the new year just around the corner. Is 2023 the year you are going to write your book? You’ve had the idea to finally tell your story for a long time. Or make the fictional characters in your head come alive. So, why have you procrastinated?
"I just don’t have time to write,” you say. Well, let’s look at that. If you can set aside just 15 minutes a day, six days a week, and 30 minutes the seventh day, you would rack up two hours of writing per week. That is eight hours a month and almost 100 hours a year. Imagine what you could accomplish in 100 hours! One blogger I read figured this out. He tracked his accomplishments for two-weeks and figured out he wrote an average of about 700 words per hour. Not too shabby.
Let’s say you are a bit slower, at maybe 500 words an hour. Given my scenario of 100 hours per year, you could conservatively crank out 50,000 words in one year. Congratulations, because you just wrote a book! My last two ghostwritten books for clients came out to about 50,000 words each. So, you can do it too! Even if you can’t do a daily routine, how about blocking out two hours over the weekend? Or some other schedule that works for you. The point is you can do it. Of course, that may mean sacrificing Real Housewives or the NFL Monday Night Game, but you get the point.
Maybe your challenge is finding the time of day to write consistently. Look at your schedule. Is there a time that works best for you and is available regularly? I find early mornings work best for me. Living in Phoenix, I’m typically out the door at 5:30 for my daily bike ride during the summer months. Then, it’s shower, breakfast, and settling into my daily writing routine. But that’s me.
On the other hand, you may find evenings work best after the kids are in bed and the day has quieted down. I have friends who are night-owls and really get going about 9:00 p.m. That is not me! By then, I’m already looking for my pillow!
Arm in arm with procrastination is distractions (Squirrel!) You have a family wanting and needing your attention. Friends are tugging at you for a chunk of your schedule. And, of course, you must work! If you’re self-employed and work from home (as I do), distractions are everywhere! Oops, the trash needs to go out. Got to empty the dishwasher. There’s a great movie on Netflix. The client wants that proposal today? It’s time for lunch. Where did the morning go?
I repeat. Distractions are everywhere. Shut them out. Grab your computer and go somewhere else, like Starbucks. Eliminate those in-home distractions, be willing to turn off the TV, and get to it.
Okay, now that you’ve gotten some encouragement (or a kick in the pants), it is time to start. The place to begin may be to outline your book. As an example, let’s say you want to write your life story of overcoming an addiction and becoming successful. I’m currently ghostwriting a book for a successful businessman along those lines. In our case, we took several weeks talking on the phone, with me developing an outline of his life, which we are now filling in with details. You can do the same on your own by “interviewing yourself,” that is, asking the tough questions to highlight the key moments of your life. Then, expand upon your outline by filling in the details.
In telling your story, you don’t have to begin at the beginning. In several of my ghostwritten books, we start with a dramatic turning point in the author’s life to grab the reader’s attention and then work backward to get to that point in the narrative. In a recent book manuscript, the drama happens at age 17 with a loaded gun to the author’s head when he is high on drugs. From there, we tell how he got to that point, his recovery from addiction, and what happened after that. Of course, this is just one approach that works not only in non-fiction but also in fiction. Films and television shows often use this technique by way of flashbacks.
Once you are satisfied with the outline, begin writing the story. I coach writers to focus only on writing and leave the editing and restructuring for later. Go with the flow of telling the story, and don’t worry about typos, grammar, syntax, and that other stuff. You will fix that later in the process. Crafting your story is a process, and you will find yourself with multiple drafts of each chapter as you edit, fine-tune, rewrite, and edit some more. Your “final” chapter may be the tenth version and bear little resemblance to the first draft.
Congratulations, you are a writer!
Dave Ficere is an Author, Editor, and Ghostwriter with over 30 years of experience in broadcasting and writing. When Dave is not writing and editing manuscripts for clients, you can typically find him narrating and producing audiobooks. To learn more about Dave, visit his website, or find him on LinkedIn.
“Bringing Your Story to Life” is more than just a tagline at Ficere Writing Solutions. We provide clients with top-notch writing, editing, and audiobook services to get your book or audiobook ready to publish. Our portfolio of services includes: Ghostwriting books, editing book manuscripts, and narration and production of audiobooks.
To learn more about how Ficere Writing Solutions can help you and your business, click HERE.