Seriously, you guys, I am so grateful for your incredible support and enthusiasm for my upcoming book, The Little Book Of Game-Changers : 50 Healthy Habits For Managing Stress & Anxiety (Viva Editions). While the finished product won’t be on shelves for a few months still, a lot of you said you wanted a post about how I actually wrote the book, so today I’m going to get into the nerdy details.
One of the first questions people usually ask me is whether I had an agent. And yes, I have been lucky to work with an awesome agent who really
gets me and my work and knew how important it was to me not to get bullied into writing a “diet” book. She helped me get really clear about what I truly wanted to put out into the world and helped put together a proposal that she then pitched to publishers. Having a go-to person to ask questions of during the pitching process, discussions with publishing houses, and later, the contract process, was so helpful.
Once the contract was signed, it was time to write the book—yikes! I had 60K words and three months in which to write them. Crazy? Absolutely. Most authors choose to take more time, but I was really motivated to get moving because of when I wanted the book to be out therein the world—and I also wanted to give myself plenty of time to promote it so I wouldn’t be scrambling or calling in favors I couldn’t return. I’m your classic type-A planner.
So, while this approach isn’t for everyone, here’s how I wrote a book in 3 months.Keep in mind that this is a non-fiction book, so the process could look different for fiction, but some of the same points can apply. Maybe after I’ve gone through the editing process, I’ll have more to say about that leg of the journey. I hope this is helpful!
How To Write A Book In 3 Months
Write An Outline
I cannot stress this one enough—a solid outline gives you a roadmap you can follow so you’re not showing up every day, like, “Well, shit, what am I gonna write?” In addition to writing out the title (or at least theme) of each chapter, I added a sentence or two of what each chapter was going to be about.
Build In Extra Time
I started writing in early October with a January 31st deadline, and I decided I wanted to have a solid first draft done by Christmas so that I could spend January polishing it up before submitting it to the publisher. You don’t have to do that, but knowing I had some extra time built in to take a week off for the holidays to catch my breath helped me keep going on tough days. Knowing that I would still have time to do clean-up also took the pressure off my perfectionist side so I could just focus on getting the words out. .
Break It Into Smaller Pieces
My outline included 50 short chapters, so I did some math to figure out an optimal schedule for myself. What I came up with was 5,000 words per week or one chapter or about 1,000 words per day. This was to build in a little wiggle room because I still had to keep up my practice, meet other work deadlines, and continue with events and, like, life. Knowing that I only had to write one short chapter or 1,000 words also helped me relax and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Take Natural Energy Ebbs & Flows Into Account
We all have times of day where we’re best suited to different kinds of work. I found that afternoons and evening were my best writing times, so I structured my days around that as best I could.
Be Mindful About Your Work Environment
I found it very helpful to de-clutter my desk. Playing music and podcasts that helped me get into a good flow made a big difference. I also used my essential oil diffuser. Rosemary and peppermint were two scents I found very helpful for staying focused.
Book A Flight
This one may sound a little weird, but seriously, it made a huge difference! I booked a last-minute trip to Santa Monica in December because, yes, I needed some sun and a break from the holidays, but also because I know that I do some of my best work on planes. Having over ten hours in which to get focused work done on the plane was wonderful. I know it sounds crazy, but I highly recommend it.
This is something I learned a few years ago, but rewarding yourself for completing a task or hitting a milestone helps make it more meaningful and satisfying. I booked myself a massage as my reward. After all that typing, it was exactly what my sore shoulders needed!
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