The benefits of writing a book to support your business and brand are many. But given all of the demands of our "day" jobs, plus the inevitable demands of our personal life and a few blessed hours for unwinding/hobbies, you may be wondering how it's mathematically possible to produce a finished manuscript within a reasonable timeframe.
A typical 200-page manuscript is roughly 60,000 words. As a point of reference, a typical non-fiction advice article for a mainstream business site is about 700 words. To get to ~60,000 words, you'll need to write roughly 85 article-length chunks to flesh out a book. Write one 700-word chunk a day, five days a week and you'll be done with your manuscript in just over four months.
Here are five tips to help you knock out those 700 words a day.
1. Put it on the calendar!
For most of us, what looks like a clear, prime-for-writing day on the calendar can quickly turn into a day of putting out fires and generally being drawn into competing demands that take us away from our writing goals.
To avoid that, you need to a) schedule time for writing on your calendar and b) not let anything outside of a legitimate emergency come between you and your standing meeting with your manuscript. Add the recurring meeting with yourself to your calendar so nobody can book time with you during your writing slot. Honor that commitment and don't break it for anything that can wait.
You may be thinking, "Ok, I'll condense the 15 minutes a day I had planned for writing into roughly one hour a week." For all but the most experienced writers, the regular practice of writing for 15 minutes a day will be much more effective at creating a habit of getting words onto paper than one session of attempted writing for one hour a week. What if your weekly hour of writing time is interrupted/taken away, or entirely unproductive? To make meaningful progress on your manuscript, you need to carve out a more regular window of uninterrupted work time.
2. Get Comfortable.
Sitting at your office desk and trying to write will most likely be a challenge. Despite your best efforts to do otherwise, you will almost instinctively be checking email, listening to hallway conversations, and breaking concentration at the sound of a ringing phone. Don't feel weak for this; it's a behavior pattern that you've been grooming for years.
To knock out a consistent 700 words a day, you may need your own writing sanctuary. Whether the writing muse visits you most frequently in a coffee shop, in a local park, or at home, that's the place you should plan to be each time you expect yourself to write. This will help snap your brain into writing mode and help you postpone the many distractions that can otherwise stand between you and your writing goals.
3. Set a goal.
Speaking of goals, it's helpful to give yourself a concrete target to hit each time you write. Whether it's 700 words, 500 words, or simply 15 minutes of constant writing without regard for word count, knowing what you need to accomplish when you sit down to write will help you move through the task at hand.
4. Let it flow.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the idea of writing something that will eventually be published for all to read (and review). The good news is that your team of experts will help you polish up that manuscript later. For now, just get words onto the page without getting hung up on grammar, syntax, etc.
5. Find a partner.
Having an accountability partner is a great way to keep your writing efforts on track. Perhaps this person is also writing a book, or perhaps it's a colleague or trusted friend who won't be afraid to push you to stick to your commitment.
This person can simply check in with you a few times a week to ask how your writing for the week has been going, and/or what you're planning on working on in your next writing session. Honor this person's commitment to help you succeed and do your part to be ready for their check-ins.
These tips should help you successfully complete that manuscript. Above all, remember that this writing grind is temporary. Imagine the sense of pride you'll have when you can say, "Yes, I wrote a book!"