This blog post was inspired by a comment from Corrinne with regard to our earlier post on the slideshow used by the authors of The Plateau Effect to promote their book. Corrinne is writing her own book and jokingly asked for any gems on getting it done faster. So, here’s a general response…
Know where the problem is
I could just jump in and list off a whole bunch of tactics to write a book faster. This would be like taking a shotgun and spraying a bunch of pellets at your target and hoping you hit something. Instead, we’ll follow a coaching approach and start by diagnosing the problem. Once you diagnose where the problem is occurring it’ll be much easier for you to come up with your own solution.
I’m not finding the time to write
This could be a simple time management issue that can be solved by blocking out time in your diary. If this is not possible with your work/family/life load you may have to adjust your deadline or the type/scale of the book you’re writing.
I’m not finding the right blocks of time to write
Figuring out when and where you write at your best is crucial. When I write my books, (I’ve written four of them and have a couple on the go right now) it’s best for me to devote a day at a time to do it. I find writing a book is all consuming and I find it difficult to do it in small blocks of one hour. What’s your preference?
And, where do you write best? Is it in a noisy cafe or in isolation? I prefer isolation.
It’s taking longer to write than I thought
The obvious thought here is to shift your deadline. Give yourself more time to get it done.
A second thought is to check the standard you are writing to. Are you trying to write the perfect book? All creative projects could go on forever. At some point you have to decide ‘This is good enough’ and ‘This is where it ends’. And, I don’t mean put out something half-baked. I mean this is 70% or 80% or 90% good enough. You decide.
Also, check how you came up with your deadline for finishing. Often this is a random date plucked out of the air with little regard for what’s required. This is even more random if you are writing your first book.
Am I writing the right book?
I think there are two big things to consider when writing a book: Am I writing this for the credibility of being an author or because I want my ideas to be read? They are different things and may not overlap. From my conversations, fewer people are reading fewer books. And, that’s also why shorter books – under 100 pages – are in vogue. The right book is not just about size. It could also be about style. What’s the right style for you?
It’s no accident given I trained as an architect for 7 years and practised for a couple more that I think an architect. And, a crucial part of book writing is the book structure. A simple structure will simplify the writing process. Clarity leads to concise action.
Is it the right time for me to write a book?
At one level there is never a good time to write a book. It’s likely to be an added effort on top of your existing workload. This is a case of just get it done, or not.
At another level, is it the right time in your career to write a book? I often talk to people who are just starting out and embark on writing a book. Often they struggle because they simply don’t have the topic focus, knowledge and expertise to turn out a good book in good time.
The thing to check here is: How much new content are you creating and how much do you already have? This will have a big influence on how quickly you can write your book.
I’m not a writer
Yes, we all feel this doubt at some time during our book creation. I have a theory about writers… I think about 10% of us are natural writers. I’m not one of them. Writing takes a lot of effort for me. I’m better off talking. This is why I love webinars. I can pre-plan the overall structure then simply talk to the slides. Then I can have it transcribed and edited. This is how I’m writing my books at the moment – with a little help from dictation software. Thus the suggestion that you talk your book, instead of writing it. Deepak Chopra writes his books this way when he is travelling on planes. This shift in mode will also shift other things. For example, all of sudden you can write your book whilst you’re driving the car or walking the dog.
Am I inspired?
Traditionally, I’ve been a great starter and a poor finisher. About 8 years ago I bought a new computer and was transferring files from the old one to the new one. I started sorting a few files and created a folder called ‘Books’ for all the book projects that I’d begun. Mmm… I’d finished four books and had 27 unfinished ones! And, some of these were half written! Not a great hit rate. Writing a book is not easy. Otherwise we’d have all done it by now.
The real challenge with any creative project is that we don’t know how it will look or how long it will take when we set out. And, I do know being in flow is important. As any top athlete will tell you, getting yourself in the right headspace or way of being is crucial to performing at your best. Are you doing enough of this?
Any other suggestions you’d add here for writing your book faster?