Reproduced by courtesy of www.writerslife.org
Bethany Cadman - author of ‘Doctor Vanilla’s Sunflowers’
Setting writing targets is always good. If we don’t, then it can be easy for writing projects to go on forever. We keep meaning to sit down and write another chapter, another page, and then life just seems to get in the way, and those self-imposed deadlines just keep getting pushed further and further back.
The well-known author Stephen King once said “The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.” His point being that, if you can’t get even a rough draft out in this time, the process becomes so long and laborious that, by the time you have finished, you may have to start all over again! Many writers don’t have the luxury of being able to make writing a book their full-time job.
Whether they do other freelance work, or a different job entirely on the side, setting aside time for creative writing can be tough. But imagine if you could write a book in less than a month! It sounds almost impossible, right? But, if you could find a way to do it, would you? Of course, you would! So let’s find out how.
Firstly, before you start, you must be completely clear about why you want to write a book in the first place. If you aren’t sure, or can’t answer, this isn’t going to work.Without any drive or motivation, it will be difficult to get anything done. Have a firm and definite idea about why you are doing this, why it is important, and what it means to you, and repeat this throughout the process to keep you on track. Now it’s time to get writing! Remember, you don’t have to block a month out of your diary to be able to do this. But you could try taking a week of one month, waiting a couple of months and doing the same. Or only use the weekends. Of course, this means your finished novel will take longer overall, but the amount of time dedicated to writing it will be the same (and you’ll still have finished it pretty quickly by most people’s standards!) Make sure, however, that you can fully dedicate yourself to writing your book on these days; there should be no distractions, no other work looming over your head.
The first few days are reserved for planning, writing chapter outlines and researching everything you need to research. If you can dedicate three full days to this you will have a very robust plan by the end, be completely clear about what you are going to write, and have enough material to know that you can succeed.If you spend a full day writing, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get down. If you work better to targets then give yourself them; if you don’t, then simply write as much as you can each day. If you dedicate three weeks and write 5000 words a day, for example, you’ll easily have enough content for a book. Finally, use a couple of days to proofread, i you´re doing that yourself, and the last full day to make your revisions. Voila! Your book is done. Of course, it is the writing that takes up the bulk of the time – and starting your book can be tough. But if you have a firm plan and robust chapter outlines, you should have no problem getting the words out. So, are you up for the challenge? Imagine how amazed and proud you will be if you can get it done. Let Writers Life know how you get on!