Are you stuck in the middle of writing your book? Maybe you just have an idea or an outline. Maybe you’ve written a chapter or two…and that’s it. You know you want to finish your book, but it just never seems to get done. Something always comes up, and there are always tasks that seem more urgent.
This episode will help you get writing again…and help you write your book faster. I’ll walk you through the top five strategies that I think you should use to write your book ASAP so you can move your book from your “to-do” list to your “done” list. These five strategies are what I’ve used to write and self publish my four books, and I think that you’ll find them really helpful, too.
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I wanted to do this episode because I know we’re all incredibly crunched for time. I’m sure if you are reading or listening to this, you are also feeling that time crunch. You’ve got a lot going on. You have a business to run or a blog to run that is a business.
When you look at it, you’ve got social media channels to take care of, emails to write, and maybe you’re writing pitches to brands. Or, perhaps you’re creating your own course that you are working to fill every time you launch it, whether that’s every month or every couple months. It doesn’t really matter. Bottom line is you have a lot of stuff on your plate, and I imagine that your to do list just keeps growing longer and longer and longer.
It can be really hard to set aside time to do some of the really important but not so urgent, things like write a book, when you’ve got all this other stuff in your face. When you’re constantly bombarded with the fact that you haven’t posted to Instagram in 24 hours. Or, you just have this list of all the things you feel like you should be doing.
I know that a lot of my audience, including, you get stuck there. You’ve been working on your book, or maybe you have an outline or you have an idea. Wherever you’re at, you get stuck. You don’t move forward because you feel like you don’t have the time to write your book. So, I’d really like to focus on some ways that you can write your book faster so that you can get it out into the world where it needs to be, where it can do some good for you. I want your book to be where it can really help you grow your business and grow your authority or credibility, help you get more visibility, and all of the amazing things that a book is going to help you do.
So, let’s dive into some specific ways and specific strategies that you can implement to help write your book faster.
The first thing that I think you should do is have a plan for your book. I talk about this a lot because I believe it’s so incredibly important. I think you should have a detailed outline or plan because it really does make the process easier and if you don’t have that outline written for your book, I would encourage you to go back and listen to Blogger to Author Podcast Episode 56 (How to Start to Outline Your Nonfiction Book) and Episode 57 (Finalize Your Plan for Your Nonfiction Book). Those episodes are a two part series that walks you through the process of creating an outline for your book, so if you don’t have one yet, I think you should let go back and listen to those episodes so that you can get that plan in place.
I also think you should take the time to sit down and plan out when you’re going to write. And, I think you should take the time to plan what you’re going to get done in each session. I completely understand that you may not have hours a day to sit down and work on your book. No matter how much time you’re able to dedicate to writing, I do think it’s important to have a plan for what you want to accomplish that day.
That plan will just allow you to be more focused when you write. Ultimately, you’ll work more efficiently because you’ll know exactly what you need to write. You’ll say, “Okay, I have this chapter I need to write. Today I need to finish this section of the chapter, and I need to make sure I cover the following topics.” That will bring you focus. Knowing what you need to cover makes the writing process easier.
I’ll get into this more in a moment, but I want to also remind you that your writing doesn’t have to be perfect when you’re sitting down to write new content for your book. It doesn’t have to be the perfectly polished version that is going to wind up in your book. It’s just more important that you get some words on the page and get your creative juices flowing.
You need to get the words flowing out of your fingertips onto the screen, or if you prefer pen and paper, getting them onto the paper. Whatever method it is, you just want to make sure that you’re getting those words out and that you’re increasing your word count and contributing to your book in terms of increasing its length. So that’s the first thing that I think you should do and that will really helped you write your book faster.
I also think that when you sit down to write, you should make sure you’re just writing and that you don’t take time to edit as you write. And I know a lot of us, myself included, tend to self edit as we’re writing. I it’s very hard, I’ll be honest, for me to overcome that temptation. But when I do, I’m a much more efficient writer and I’m able to get more words on the page and many writers find this to be the case.
Why is it so bad to edit as you write? Writing uses the creative side of your brain ,or the right side of your brain. When you’re editing or thinking critically about what you’re writing. You’re using that analytical left side of your brain. So literally if you’re editing as you right in the middle of everything you’re doing, your brain is switching back and forth between whether you’re using the creative side or whether you’re using the analytical side. That’s context switching at its core, and it means that you can’t work efficiently.
It would be just like if you sat to write some section of your book and you’re constantly switching between your word processor and Instagram or switching between writing and Facebook. Editing as you write is essentially a disruption within your brain. Even though it seems like you’re doing only one thing, it’s that switching between writing the creative act and then the analytical editing.
Again, I will fully admit that if you’re used to self editing as you write, it’s hard to break the habit. But, it’s definitely is worth it. So work to train yourself to just get words out on the page and fix things later. You can fix typos later. You can fix punctuation later. Just work to increase your word count when you’re working on that creative side of your brain. You can always go back and polish it and add to it later.
This is also getting into what I mentioned shortly in my first point, which is that you should try not to worry about the quality of what you’re writing so much. It’s more about getting the ideas out and making sure that you’re getting just words on the page. Getting words down is most important thing when you don’t have anything written.
I do think it’s a lot easier to go back and edit later and almost all of the writers I’ve worked with find the same thing. They find that it’s just a lot easier to go back and add more, add in examples and flesh out the ideas more, that sort of thing, once the words are actually on the page. It’s that first draft that really tends to hold most writers back. So, if you can just get that first draft, then you can go back and add more to it and really increase your word count to where you want to be for your book.
I would also encourage you to write consistently, and this plays into the old adage that practice makes perfect. The more often you write, the better you get at it. It’s just like any skill; when you practice at it and you spend time writing as often as you can, it makes the process of writing easier.
I’ll admit that I don’t necessarily write for myself every single day. I don’t work on books every single day. I just don’t have the capacity with everything I need to do for my business. But, I am writing something every single day. Sometimes that’s an email to my list. Sometimes it’s a blog post. Sometimes, it is work for my next book. Sometimes it’s work for clients. But whatever that is, I’m flexing my writing muscle every day. I’m getting used to formulating ideas in my head and then getting them onto the page or screen. I think that that practice of making sure that I write as often as I can makes the process of writing my books easier.
To learn more about the power of writing every day, I encourage you to check out Episode 38 of the Blogger to Author Podcast—Why You Should Write ‘Every Single Day.’ I had a great interview with Bradley Charbonneau, author of the book Every Single Day. Part of what inspired him to write that book was the fact that he writes every single day and has for years and years. Now the words just flow out. He’s a prolific writer, and part of that is because it’s a habit he developed.
So, if you are struggling to get words out on the page, if you feel like you’re struggling with writer’s block a lot, I would encourage you to even set a timer and set aside five or 10 minutes a day to just write something for your book. It doesn’t matter what you write. It doesn’t matter if it gets edited out. Just get used to the process of writing, and writing consistently. I think all of us can make five or 10 minutes out of our day for something that’s important like this. I would just encourage you to wake up five minutes early and do that, or stay up five minutes after your kids go to bed, and get your writing done. Just a tiny little bit of your day can actually make a big difference when it comes to writing and getting used to writing.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite strategies for writing or putting together books faster, which is to repurpose everything. You hear me say this a lot and that’s because I think repurposing is incredibly important, especially as content creators. We tend to spend so much time creating content, and then we don’t spend enough time making that content work for us.
I know that there are still some of you who resist the idea of reusing your content in your book. I just want to remind you that even taking the exact same thing that’s on your blog and taking multiple blog posts and putting them together in one place that’s easily accessible for people is incredibly valuable. Then, when you go and you edit it and you add more material, add more examples. That makes it even more valuable. So, don’t be afraid to reuse your old content.
So where can you get content to reuse in your book?
Most people automatically think of the obvious answer: blog posts. But, there are some other places where you could look for content as well. You could look at video or audio transcripts. (Hello, fellow podcasters!) Go into the live videos that you’ve done either on Instagram or Facebook and get them transcribed. If you’re a YouTuber, certainly you could get transcripts of your YouTube videos.
Also look for longer social media posts that you may have written. Maybe you were sharing something about your journey in a long post on Facebook or Instagram. I know I see people do that pretty regularly. Don’t be afraid to copy and paste that post into the draft of your book.
Also, look into course content that you have created if you want to write a book that’s along similar lines as your course. (In fact, that’s actually a very smart strategy.) It’s a great way to get more people into your course. Your book will help you get your message out into the world so that more people can hear about what you do and the method you teach. There’s still value in the course because people are getting the support from you and actually directly working with you. That’s value that they don’t get from the book, so it’s still worth it to purchase the course.
Need more material for your book? Don’t be afraid to go in and look at old emails you may have sent to your list, especially ones that were informative. Take a look at sales pages you’ve written, too. Maybe there’s some material in there that you could co-opt for your book as well.
Bottom line: don’t be afraid to look at any type of writing or other content you’ve done. Again, whether it’s video or audio, look at every single thing that you have created and see if there’s anything that you can pull out and reuse for your book. Truly, the fastest way to write your book is to just take what you’ve already spent your time creating and reuse it for your book. In fact, that’s how I wrote a book in just three days.
It can be easy to skip over writing sessions in your calendar if you’re only beholden to yourself and you don’t have anybody else to answer to. You let other tasks take priority, or you tell yourself that you’ll catch up and write twice as much tomorrow. But, the writing never gets done, and months down the road, you’re still no closer to becoming an author. That’s where accountability can be really important.
Accountability could look like as something as simple as finding another friend who is also writing a book or also working on a project. You could do daily or weekly check ins to see the progress that you’re both making. At the beginning of the week, you could share what you plan to accomplish. Then, you’ll check in with each other at the end of the week to see what you actually accomplished. It’s really motivating to just know that your accountability partner is going to be there to report to you, and you have to report to them.
You might also look to see if there are any writing groups in your area. These groups definitely exist in some of the larger metro areas. In these groups, writers and authors will get together, for example, at a coffee shop at the same time. They’ll all sit down and just write together. It’s almost like being in a co-working space with others, but it just gives you the motivation, time, and the mental space to work. It can be very motivating to sit down and see everybody else in that group writing. Seeing others working hard can be good motivation to help you stay on task. And, likewise, if you’re writing, you’re going to help the other people in the group stay on task.
Another option to get some excellent accountability is the Blogger to Author Course. A major component of the course is accountability. You get access to a private Facebook group where among other things, I do weekly accountability check ins. On Mondays I ask you what you attend to accomplish, and at the end of the week I tag you in a post to see how much you’ve done. (Obviously you’re not forced to participate, but other students who have taken part got a lot out of this extra accountability.)
The accountability in the Blogger to Author Course is especially effective because you’ve paid for access to it and then you’re reporting to me as a teacher figure with that sort of accountability. It’s a level beyond what you get when you simply tell a friend that you intend to write a chapter this week. There’s a mental shift that comes with paid accountability; suddenly you take things much more seriously, and you get stuff done. And, you’ll get a lot of other amazing information and support when you sign up for the course, too.
So, there you have it—my five ways to help you write your book faster! I would encourage you to implement as many of these as you can while you work to complete your book and get it out into the world. I know how incredibly valuable your book will be, and I just hope that this episode inspires you to get cracking on your book. I hope you’ve been motivated to start working efficiently so that your book can become a reality and you can get it out into the hands of your readers. Your readers need your message. They need your help, so don’t let them down. Get your book out and into the marketplace.
Until next time, happy writing!
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