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How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less

Write a book

Commitment

Whether you choose 60 days, 30 days or 6 months as your goal, all that matters is that you commit to it and implement a schedule that will get you there. Choose a realistic time frame that you can stick to. A little bit every day is better than trying to do too much and then giving up.

How to choose your time goal? Start by determining:

  • How many hours per day can you devote to writing?
  • How many pages can you write per hour?

Example: Let’s say you commit to 2 hours per day and you’re able to write 3 pages per hour. To write an average length book of 300 pages will take 50 days. ( 300 pages per book/6 pages per day= 50 days)

My Experience: My new book, Secrets to a Healthy Life, is only 60 pages. I wrote approximately 2 pages per day and completed it in one month. I used Nick Daws method which I discuss further down in this article.

Process for Novel Writing

For writing a novel, I can recommend Randy Ingermanson’s free online manual titled: “Writing a Novel Using The Snowflake Method.” This is a concise guide that will get your novel written if you follow it. For a sneak peek, here are the 10 steps of the method. You will want to visit his site and print out the entire instructions which has detailed instructions for each of these steps. (don’t worry it’s not too long)

Snowflake Method for Writing a Novel: (summary from http://www.ingermanson.com/writing/snowflake.php)

  1. Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your story.
  2. Take another hour and expand that sentence to a full paragraph describing the story setup, major disasters, and ending of the book.
  3. Write a short summary sheet for each character.
  4. Take several hours and expand each sentence of your summary paragraph into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends.
  5. Take a day or two and write up a one-page description of each major character and a half-page description of the other important characters.
  6. Now take a week and expand the one-page plot synopsis of the story to a four-page synopsis.
  7. Take another week and expand your character descriptions into full-fledged character charts detailing everything there is to know about each character.
  8. Prep for writing the first draft: make a list of all the scenes that you’ll need to turn the story into a novel using a spreadsheet.
  9. (Optional.)Switch back to your word processor and begin writing a narrative description of the story.
  10. At this point, just sit down and start pounding out the real first draft of the story.

Randy has other products that he sells, usually for very good prices relative to the value he is offering. If you are very motivated, his free manual is probably all you will need. If you like his technique and want to dig deeper with it, check out his advanced snowflake guides.  Please do yourself a favor and visit his site. He has 2 great free monthly ezines that I subscribe to, one on novel writing and one on marketing your work.

Process for Non-Fiction (also fiction and screenplays)

Another great process resource that I can recommend is Nick Daw’s program “Write Any Book in Under 28 days”which gives you “everything you need to know to devise, write, edit and sell a complete book in the shortest possible time, be it fiction, non-fiction or even a screenplay.”

I love this program!

It is so logical and encouraging. It helps you get your book written!

The process part always lets you know what your next step is. And the encouragement part keeps you moving forward with enthusiasm.

This program does have a cost which depends on which package you choose. It is provided in the form of a CD-ROM which will run on any computer using Windows 95 or later.

Nick Daws states that anyone can write a non-fiction book. (I agree!) We all have experiences that others would find valuable and could learn from such as:

  • Getting Married
  • Having a Baby
  • Bringing Up Children
  • Living With Teenagers
  • Dealing With Bereavement
  • Being A Student
  • Shopping for Bargains
  • Coping With Divorce
  • Buying/Selling a House
  • Making Your Own Clothes
  • Designing a Garden
  • Getting a Job
  • Starting Your Own Business
  • Managing Staff
  • Managing Your Time
  • Investing Your Money
  • Study skills for students
  • Improve your memory
  • How to work your way through college
  • Making the most of student life
  • What is YOUR Life Experience you will write about?

If you click on the link it does have one of those cheesy sales pages, but never fear, the product is excellent. I bought it, used it to write my first ebook. I give this program my highest recommendation. Free resources are good, but this one is totally worth the small cost. I found it supplemented the the free resources I was using, allowing me to stop dreaming of writing my book and actually finish writing my book!

Writing Tools

1) For me, my favorite tool is pen and paper. I’m able to think more freely when I write straight onto paper. So I certainly recommend using this method and then typing your work onto the computer, which can also be the first editing session. If you like typing directly, go for it. Use whatever method that works best for you.

2) Here is a free tool that I discovered for book writing. It is called yWriter. It is free story writing software and it is offered via free download (this link just brings you to the download page only). I have this tool and I like it very much.

Some of the Features of yWriter:

  • Organise your novel using a ‘project’.
  • Add files to the project, each containing a chapter.
  • Add a summary to each file, showing the scenes in each chapter.
  • Print out summary cards, showing the structure of your novel.
  • Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total.
  • Saves a log file every day, showing words per file and the total. (Tracks your progress)
  • Saves automatic backups at user-specified intervals.
  • Allows multiple scenes within chapters
  • Viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome fields for each scene.
  • Storyboard view, a visual layout of your work.
  • Re-order scenes within chapters.
  • Move scenes from one chapter to another.
  • Automatic chapter renumbering.
  • FREE

3) Google Docs. I’ve talked about Google Docs before on my blog. I discovered it from Leo over at ZenHabits, a top notch productivity blog. Google Docs is a great online document application. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as MS Word, but it has everything the basic user needs!

The benefits to using Google Docs are:

  • Online storage of your documents makes them completely portable. Access them from any computer.
  • Copy/Pasting into blogging editors is smooth and clean, perfect formatting, unlike MS Word.
  • It’s in my browser which is my main computer tool. No extra applications to open and slow me down.
  • Online sharing and publishing of your document to the web.

4) Check out my previous post on writing your book via a blog.

Getting It Done

The simple answer:

  • Schedule in your writing time and do it.
  • Don’t start if you are starting other new major goals.
  • Ask a friend if they will be your Goal Buddy Turn in your draft each week to this person. They don’t even have to read them, but this can help force you to get it done. (In turn you can help keep your Goal Buddy on track for one of their goals, i.e. “What exercise did you complete today?”

The longer answer: get a copy of “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. This is the ultimate book on productivity that is customizable to the system that works best for you.

Publishing Your Book

This topic is far too extensive to give all the information that you will need in one article. But I can recommend 2 essential books that will give you everything you need to know.

The first is a world class book by a very successful self-published author. It is called The Well Fed Self Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living” by Peter Bowerman. In this book, Peter covers self-publishing for both fiction and non-fiction writers.

How “The Well Fed Self Publisher” will help you:

  • Develop a “marketing mindset” minus the anxiety!
  • Create a book that turns heads and grabs eyeballs
  • Find tons of reviewers anxious to publicize your book
  • Get the bookstore chains to come looking for you
  • Build a cash-generating web site that works 24/7
  • Minimize your dependence on fickle mainstream media
  • Parlay one book into multiple income streams
  • Separate the “Print-on-Demand” hype from reality

Peter is a freelance commercial writer who offers a free ezine for freelance writers. He is very successful speaker, consultant for writers, and self-published author. I have been learning from him for many years. He has two books on freelance writing, but you only need this updated one: “The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds.” It gives you everything you need to know to make real money as a commercial freelance writer, the ultimate no gimmic Work-At-Home business!

 

The Fine Print of Self Publishing is a must have book if you want to know the pros and cons of all the the different self-publishing options out there including how to understand their contracts. The author, Mark Levine, has done all the nitty gritty research for you and culled it into terms the layman can understand and use to make an informed decision about which company to go with for self-publishing.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to write a book, but if you are committed, have a plan, and persevere, over time you will have a book! One page a day will yield a 365 page book in one year! What are you waiting for?
Steps to take today:

  1. Commit your time
  2. Plan the book
  3. Write it day by day
  4. Celebrate!

Additional Writing Resources

Find tons of additional writing resources on my “Resources for Writers” page!


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229 Responses to How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less

  1. JustaKid February 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    I really want to write a book… But I don’t really want to confront my parents about it. And I have some really good ideas too. I’ve written a lot of short storiesand I enjoy them. I just wonder if I’ll be picked on about it. That is, if I do write one.

  2. Bernice McNeil February 27, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    I have been starting my book for 5 years if not longer. That’s just it, never knew how or where to start. My husband gave me a little push yesterday and I stumbled upon your site today. The information provided here is wonderful and very much appreciated. You have sparked my desire to get it done. Therefore, I am starting today with pen and paper. Thank you

    • agentsully March 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

      @Bernice – Thank you for taking the time to let me know how you feel. I’m rooting for you!! You can do it! Please check back and let us know your progress!! Really!!!

  3. katrina March 12, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    Hi Kristin,
    I am enjoying your blog, so much to explore! Thanks for all the good information today. It was fun visiting and watching our angels playing together.
    Katrina

    • agentsully March 12, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

      Katrina,
      Thank you for hosting such a nice time. Great tea and great conversation! Good luck with your books. We’ll have to help each other with deadlines!

  4. Jay March 16, 2009 at 5:33 am #

    Very nice information.

    I have a question. Is it okay to copy some portion (may be a paragraph) of a book in your own book without being penalized of plagiarism?

    I have read a book also that full of contents made by other author. It is just like a compilation of different topic.

    • agentsully March 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

      @Jay – when you use other people’s writing you need to source it – giving credit- if it is a short clip. But if it is lengthy, you should probably get permission first.

  5. Aubra Wilson March 18, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    This was very helpful. Thank you.

  6. JustaKid March 19, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    I’ve finally told my parents after weeks of building up the nerve. I got started the second they said, “That’s a great idea.” This site really helped me! My story is getting there. It’s more like a mix of “Twilight”, “Kingdom Hearts”, and “Cirque Du Freak”. But, the some what odd news is that I left my first chapter in my ELA class and my teacher got a hold of it and read it to the entire class the next day! I felt like I was sinking into a little hole that I would never come out from. On the bright site, everyone really liked it!

    • agentsully March 22, 2009 at 11:55 am #

      @Just a Kid – woohoo! Good for you! Keep it up! Just keep plugging away, you’ll get there! Please keep us updated on your progress!!

  7. Smiley March 24, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Wow!! What a great site. I’m also an inspiring wannabe writer 🙂 lol. Thank you for sharing such valuable information. I just wanted to find a site that would help me with my take off of beginning my book, but wow the comments were so interesting that I couldn’t stop reading everyone’s responses. Thanks again for your generosity of sharing great comments and valuable information for beginners like me. God Bless you.

    • agentsully March 24, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

      Hi Smiley – thanks for your positive contribution here! Wishing you lots of success and enjoyment with writing your book! Let us know how things come along!

  8. Mark March 25, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    Yeah, I’ve been thinking of writing a book for a long time too, but just recently I’ve started writing. To me the hardest part is starting, I never want to start writing even thought I have million ideas in my head that I want to write. I dont know why it’s like that but now I’m really going to force me to write it, there is just some little things in the plot that I need to think about, and when I think my plot it’s kinda a crazy and never could work, but I dont care.

    But anyway thanks for that info and some of thoese programs, gotta try them when I have time.

    • agentsully April 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

      @Mark – Thanks for sharing your dilemma. Here’s what I do when I’m lacking motivation to write:

      I imagine that I am writing to a specific person, whether I am teaching or telling a story. When I have the audience/reader in my mind it becomes more of a conversation and things start to flow very easily.

      Let me know if that helps you!

  9. Blue April 6, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    thanks, im normally a good writer but just need to improve my skills as a storyteller.

  10. Raju Sharma April 9, 2009 at 2:22 am #

    I think you have given me some of the most practical tips. I have been sitting over 25 pages of my book and have not been able to move ahead. Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I will definetely complete it. Would you my Buddy to keep a check on me, Please?

    • agentsully April 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

      Good luck Raju – Please feel free to check in with us frequently on your progress. We’ll be waiting to hear from you!

  11. Aajah April 9, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    it was very good this info and im only eight yeahs old and ive a ll ready been writinh little storys but now i wanna write a book

    • agentsully April 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

      @Aajah – Good luck! What will your book be about?

  12. lark April 18, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    wow this is some goood advise, im thinking about writing
    a book….and this is what i want to do for college….
    but im only in middle school so i have some time to hown
    in on my skills….but yeah this is good!!!!
    see yah…maybe you can read my *future* books
    lmao

    • agentsully April 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

      @lark – please let us know about your book that you want to write! Wishing you best of luck!

  13. Kain April 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    I’m almost 19 now and in the last few years i started feeling an urge to create some piece of art. Wrote my first piece of blank verse. My art teacher was surprised how deep i dig into one’s feelings. It is called “ice” and pretty much bone chilling. Also tried writing some about beautiful feelings like compassion, love but that didn’t work out. It were just some unconnected phrases. I knew then that i’m only good at writing tragic.

    So i kinda have few problems here:

    1. Pretty much all my life i’ve been told how ugly, weird, unrecognised i was, so i lack some self esteem. I don’t even know if this challenge of a book will prove anyone, or even myself a point that this is worth anything, as someone here in comments stated that my subject might not be good. So i have my doubts about my composition – i do want to put the problems that are on my mind to paper, show the struggles of the characters and don’t want to end up being revised by ppl to be “copying some old (or dead) dude’s book/ideas”.

    2. There are many books, games, films with same themes, and my is not new. I have a little philosophy concerning the matter of copying what’s been said already or making something that has something similar done in the past: “If a man in a snowy forest leaves his path to follow a star – he leaves his footprints in the snow. His outcome may be different – maybe he finds a treasure, and maybe he slipps off a cliff without finishing his path. But the others then start to follow his footprints. They do not look up to the star to guide them, they just follow the footprints. And they eventually end – either cuts off unexpectedly in the middle of the road or near an empty treasure chest. But those who leave their path following the same star at the same exact corner the 1’st man did are not following his footprints (even though they might be going foot to foot) but emulates his path to find their own fortune, because they both have their eyes on the star, and not on somebody’s foot”. Even it sound a little inspirational i fear that i might not know the line between the two. How to find my very own creative inspiration. The life changes, how do i preserve it?

    Maybe all i need is someone to support me, or maybe i need to do some work. Just give me an advice.

  14. Kain April 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    is there a word limit to comments? i just wrote a little post of 434 words (little xD ) and it didn’t show up

    • agentsully April 28, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

      @Kain – (sorry for the late reply – this comment somehow ended up in spam comments in error).

      Here’s my advice:
      1. Forget about personal attacks from the past. Find a writing mentor locally perhaps by taking a writing course or joining a writing group. Keep searching until you find someone who will be supportive. If you keep looking for support you will find it. If you keep thinking of people who don’t support you, then you will continue to find them too. Focus on the bright future. It’s there if you want it. Be prepared to put in the time to hone your writing skills – from the creative (your story) to the clarity of communication (how well you get your point across) to the framework (spelling, grammar, etc.)

      2. Regarding similar themes from other stories. Don’t worry about that. There are many stories that have the same or similar theme. What makes them great or not is HOW they are told. Write the story you want to write. Will it be the best you ever write? Possibly, but not likely. Like any craft, practice, practice, and more practice will bring mastery.

      I wish you the best of luck with your writing! Believe in yourself. You can do it. Don’t give up. Keep working at it and you will get there.

  15. amjad May 13, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    i hope your book will become great

  16. Crystal Kovea May 27, 2009 at 10:13 pm #

    OMG! I’m writing my first book, and, like, this totally helped!!

    • agentsully June 6, 2009 at 11:51 am #

      @Crystal – Woo hoo! That’s awesome! Please check back and let us know about your final results with your book!!

  17. R. E. G. May 28, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    I have written five books, and I am only 16, about to turn 17. Writting has come fairly easy to me. Normally, I would just sit down and start writing, and the plot of the story folds out. I was curious about how other people write their books, the different methods and everything. Starting out with pen and paper works for me as well, but sometimes I start out typing the whole book out. Actually, there may have been about 3 books I hand written. The second book I wrote, I hand wrote for the first few chapters. When I finished typing the chapters, I ended up going on. My books are mostly about a whole other realm parallel to ours, and about magic. I cannot write for several hours a day, but when I do start to write, I write quite a bit of pages. But what struck me is about the 300 pages. Is it 300 pages of notebook paper (hand written) or is it 300 pages typed on copy paper? Every one of my books only reaches about a hundred–the second book almost reached 200 with about 20 pages to go (all typed). But when I hand write them on notebook paper, it doesn’t always read 100 pages. To be honest, I don’t think I could write a 300 page book. I want to, but the story always comes out short. My Creative Writing teacher already says I am wordy when I write. What should I do?

    I may not be able to get back on this website, because my sister loves the internet, and I am usually reading or writing. So, if you will, please, email me at my email address that I have listed up above in the section before I left my [rediculously long] comment. Perhaps you could send me the name of your publisher that you used? I’ve been having trouble finding a publisher ever since I wrote book 1.

    • agentsully June 6, 2009 at 11:42 am #

      @R.E.G. – It might be more helpful to think of it in terms of number of words. In a novel the average would be between 80,000 and 150,000 words. For non-fiction the range is wider – 20,000 – 200,000.

      Regarding lengthening out your story, you may want to add more characters, fill in more detail about each character, and/or add more to the plot such as sub-plots.

      With that said, short stories are very popular too. Maybe that is your thing. You might want to consider publishing a book of short stories. There are many authors who do this. And there are many readers (like me) who love the low level commitment of reading a short story vs reading a long novel. So don’t worry if your stories are short.

      I would also recommend seeking out a writing mentor by joining some writing groups or taking classes with many different teachers.

      Good luck!

  18. R. E. G. May 28, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Kain, I hope you find this.
    You wrote, “The life changes, how do i preserve it?”
    Perhaps you could write a journal about your life. That way you can preserve what happened when life starts to change.
    Your philosophy is a pretty good philosophy. I like it. Good job.
    I thought of something earlier today. I heard someone say that there will always be someone criticizing your work. I thought about something to say to those said criticizers, it went something along the lines of this: “You can criticize all you want. Go on, criticize. Do it some more, and again, and again, and again. You want to know something?….I don’t care.”
    Something like that.
    I hope that at least some of what I said helped.

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