This is the second post in a series dedicated to the anniversary of the publishing of my first book, Conquer the Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite. The purpose of this series is to share what I’ve learned to help inspire you to do the same if there’s a book in your heart waiting to get out.
Writing a book seems like an overwhelming task to anyone who hasn’t done it. But for me the writing itself wasn’t hard. The volume of words required didn’t scare me. The most difficult thing was finding the intersection of free time and inspired time.
It took me three years to write Conquer the Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite. That’s 1,095 days, or 26,280 hours. Yet I probably only spent about 200 hours actually writing. And I can honestly say that about 10,000 words–a quarter of the total word count–was created on two long flights in about 8 hours.
I’m not a professional writer. I cannot simply write a set number of words a day. My daily word counts are either prolific or next to nothing. Here’s how I overcame myself and got down to writing:
1) Break It Up
With the chapter outline in place via my book proposal, I took the next step and broke each chapter into sections. Some had a lot of sections, some only a few. But now instead of having to write 18 chapters, I simply needed to write 70-80 sections. It’s the same content, but bite-sized. And it’s a whole lot easier to sit down and write a blog post than an entire book. Yet all those blog post sized sections equaled a book.
2) Find Your Zone
The best place for me to write is on a flight from Atlanta to Denver or Seattle. With no wifi, strapped to a seat (hopefully in first class) and headphones in, I was comfortable in my pod of seclusion, creativity, and focus. That allowed me to dig in deeply for hours at a time. No interruptions from kids, phone calls, or social media…anyone know where I can buy an old airplane seat cheap?
3) The Vomit Method
When all else fails and procrastination has you by the throat, sometimes it’s best to just start typing. I tend to auto-correct as I write. If I spell something incorrectly, I fix it as I go. It’s a horrible habit for being productive, but I am who I am. However, if I get stuck and I just start writing, sometimes in the mess of words I find some content worth washing off and keeping. I end up being as much editor as writer, but it works.
4) Formatting for Progress
This one comes down to personal preference. For me, I needed to format my MS Word file to look like a book. Some people can just start writing and format it later. I needed the structure of seeing something similar to what it’s going to look like on paper. If that’s what it takes to get writing, do it. Just don’t go overboard…you’ll likely have to completely reformat it when it’s finished anyway (I did, more on that later). [Note: I’m learning to use Scrivener now, which should be better in the long run, right?]
So that’s an inside look at my writing process. But that’s only part of the story. Finishing is completely different!
Do you have any secrets or techniques from your writing process to share?
Stay tuned as I write about the writing process, the finishing process, formatting, creating the trifecta (book, e-book, and audiobook), crowdsourcing, my support team, and so much more. I don’t know how long the series will last and I haven’t written the next post yet, but I’m going to share all of the ups and downs I can remember!
If you have specific topics you want me to cover, leave a comment or send me a note!