Have you ever been in a situation where you find yourself staring at the blank page of a Word document on your laptop – For hours?
Maybe you do not literally sit in front of the laptop for hours – But it feels that long since you cannot seem to get one word – or paragraph – to drip out for the new book you have been dreaming about writing.
Finally, you give up.
How do people write 20,000 word books, you wonder? Without intending to sound patronizing – They do it, one word, one paragraph, and one page at a time by creating a strategic outline, character map and story plot before they even sit down to write the book!
I am thankful to have had the opportunity of writing a few 20,000 or more word books in the course of the past few months. Part of my job involves writing books in various genre for clients. As you can imagine, multiple 20,000 word books would require a strategic approach in order to deliver them complete, and on time.
In this blog, I am going to share how to accomplish this daunting feat. With some good grace on your side, and a sensible plan on your calendar, you would be good to go.
Note that the recommendations below can take half a day to a full day each, depending on how focused you can be!
Day 1: Start With a Calendar
It is the best starting point to have a calendar that outlines exactly how much time you intend to spend on writing that book. Believe me – When you have a deadline, you will have some discipline around not procrastinating. How do you ensure that you stick to the timeline? This is where having a SMART goal for your book writing life will help. Check out my blog about the SMART writer. With a SMART goal, you have Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely milestones for your book writing career. Check out the blog to get a better idea about a creating a calendar that you will stick with for completing your book.
Day 1: Create a Strategic Outline
Now that you have an idea of how long you are going to spend on this project, your next goal is to create an outline. An outline is like a ‘Table of Contents’. It summarizes what you are expecting to happen in each chapter of your book with one or two paragraphs describing each chapter. The outline is going to be your visual (okay, textual) picture about what your story will look like. It should get you excited because now, you have something concrete that you will need to expand upon into a book.
Day 1: Develop Character Stories
Characters are necessary if you are writing a fiction book. For instance, if you are going to write about a modern day princess living in a small island in Europe, you need to develop your character. Apart from her name, what is her personality? What makes her a real person so that the audience reading the book can connect with her? For instance, does she have wants? Fears? Faith or lack thereof in something, otherwise known as beliefs or misbeliefs? My blog about character development will provide you with some ideas about how to develop your story’s characters.
Day 1: References & Sources
What if your book is non-fiction? Do you still need characters? No – In place of characters, you may need anecdotes, examples and perhaps references to other people’s books, or websites that may help your book to have more credibility. Search out these sources and create a listing or ‘library’ of them so that you will have them handy when you start writing your book.
Day 2: Write the Plot or Deeper Outline
Now that you have an outline about the steps which will take your story or book from beginning to end; and you have your characters and sources, now you want to write the plot: The deeper detailed outline, using the outline you had created in Day 1. Under this ‘Deeper Outline,’ you will take each item in your summarized outline, and develop it into one full page or more each that will help your book have more life before you start the writing of it!
Days 3 to 7 – Write!
This is just me, and it may be different from you. I have written a 20,000 word book with 4 full days of writing. I have written the same length with lesser than 4 full days. The length of days will depend on the complexity of the subject matter.
For me, when writing a creative fiction story, less than 4 full days is possible for completion. if it is a more complex writing that requires technical research or reflection, the full days would certainly be required.
I know that someone reading this may be thinking: 20,000 words in 4 days! That is crazy!
The last time I did this, as of the time of creating this blog, was a creative fiction book written from June 19 to June 22. That was a lot of ‘grace’ writing, for sure!
Therefore – It is doable. Get focused, get organized, say a little prayer – and get to work!