I’ve written and published 8 books. People ask me all the time how I did it. That is why I wrote How to Self-Publish: A Guide for Author-preneurs.
But people want to know more about writing books so I started teaching How to Start Writing a Book every few months in the Selah Press Author-preneur Training tele-seminars. The next class is scheduled for September, but you can take it self-paced with the Start Your Book Author-preneur Class – Audio Recording and homework.
But let me give you a few basics without taking one of my courses or reading my book. There is a Freebie available when you sign up with Selah Press and get the kick in the pants to start writing your book delivered right to your inbox!
And then let’s break down the simple math of what it takes to write.
So let’s break it down to what you need to get done.
8 or fewer words are in an average sentence.
50 or fewer words are in an average paragraph.
300 or more words make an average blog post.
375 words are on an average page in a 6×9 book.
30,000 to 50,000 words is the perfect size to self-publish a book that sells for under $9.99.
Focus on writing at least 1 book page a day. You can write 375 words per day! But if you write 1000 words a day it will take you 30 to 50 days of writing to complete a novel. A thousand words a day is nothing! But let’s say you are really busy. If you write 375 words per day, which is one page of a 6×9 book, you would finish writing your book in 80 to 133 days. That is 11 ½ weeks to 19 weeks to a zero draft. That would be a really slow pace, but if you are working everyday towards your goal you’d get there a whole lot faster than just thinking about it.
The point is to set a goal that is difficult to reach, but not impossible. Pick a pace that won’t set you up for failure and at the same time will force you to focus on your goal.
It is okay to start small. John Grisham had a full time commitment as a lawyer so he wrote one page per day. That is it. One page in Word is approximately 350-385 words. That is it. Have you seen the size of his books? That took some dedication and a goal.
Write every day. Create a habit.
Now conventional wisdom is that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I’m not big on buying conventional wisdom so I did some research. A recent scientific study found that it takes closer to 66 days to create a habit. The 21 day idea came from a self-help book written in 1960 with nothing to back it–it simply was repeated so often that it became accepted as fact.
I’m telling you this for two reasons–as an author you have the responsibility to research everything and not repeat myths and two because I don’t want you to get to day 22 and wonder why this writing thing isn’t a habit yet for you. In fact the research found that it took some people 18 days to form a habit and others it took 254 days. Just keep working on the habit.
Give yourself weekly deadlines. There might be a day or two that you miss. Don’t let that make you fall off the plan. If your plan is broken down into daily goals with a backup of a weekly minimum you can keep on track. Know that the real work of writing is editing. You can’t get to the editing until you finish the writing part. So do not edit as your write. Editing is a separate process. You will come back later to revise, cut, rewrite and do the work of editing later.
Ready, set, go!