3 Proven Ways to Write a Book Faster

P.J McNulty
March 08, 2023 | 6 mins

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One of the key things holding many potential authors back from publishing a book is the worry that it will take a long time. 

This fear is partly justified. The traditionally published world moves at a slow pace and this can be very frustrating for authors. However, self-publishing allows authors total freedom to work at the pace that is most suited to their work. If you want to write a book quickly, there’s nothing stopping you.

However, wanting to write a book quickly and knowing how to do so are different things. You need to have the right processes and tools in place to work effectively but quickly. Read on to discover some tried and tested tips to help you write your next book faster.

Plan out your writing time 

Writing a book isn’t something that can be carried out on an ad hoc basis.

If you choose to write only when the mood takes you, it’s unlikely you’ll ever make much progress and you’ll struggle to ever finish a complete book.

Instead, it’s essential to be disciplined in carving out a writing schedule that will allow you to complete the book within your desired deadline. 

To do so, you need to know roughly how much you are capable of writing within a given session. Say, for example, if you set aside three hours for focused writing time, you can, on average, produce 2000 words that end up being useable in your final book. Of course, this is an average, but knowing the average takes into account days of greater or lesser productivity.

If you knew you wanted to write a fairly short nonfiction book of around 30,000 words, then you would know you would need to schedule out fifteen three-hour sessions in order to get your initial rough draft completed.

Equipped with this knowledge, you are able to look at your schedule and factor in the number of sessions needed to achieve your goal. It’s then down to you to be disciplined in sticking to your allotted writing time and hitting your intended word count during each one.

By taking the time to do this you are able to plan out everything that comes after the rough draft. This can include editing, book cover design, and getting your launch plan lined up. 

This allows you to plan ahead and know exactly when you will need to have funds available to carry out the above activities.

It’s advisable to build in a little extra time to account for delays or things that go wrong. However, don’t allow yourself too much extra time. If you do, you run the risk of losing a sense of urgency and allowing your rough draft to drag on indefinitely into the future. 

Write when you’re most productive 

One mistake that a lot of first time authors make is scheduling their writing time purely based on when their calendar is most empty as opposed to the time when they are most productive.

For example, you might take a look at your schedule and determine that the time you have in the evening after your day job finishes can easily be kept clear for writing. Perhaps you decide to set aside your usual leisure activities and block that time out for writing.

In theory, the above approach makes sense. But is it likely to lead to a good outcome?

For many people, after a full day’s work at a day job they simply don’t have the mental capacity of focus needed to sit and write their best material for three hours. If you’ve discovered through a process of testing that this time does in fact work for you, then by all means go for it. However, for many writers, it’s likely to be suboptimal.

Many of the greatest authors of all time swear by doing their best work in the morning. Perhaps you know that you are at your most creative first thing in the day, with a nice cup of coffee to get you going. But if you work a day job, how can you possibly make that work?

One approach is to totally adjust the pattern of your day. Instead of chilling and watching tv shows in the evening until eleven, try and go to sleep two hours earlier than normal. Rise two hours earlier the next day and dedicate that time to working on your book. It might be an adjustment at the start but it’s one that will pay off in the long run.

Ultimately, you are the only person who knows when you do your best writing. The important thing is to find a way to match your allotted witting time with your periods of peak productivity, as far as your schedule allows.

By doing this, you’ll get a lot more productivity from your writing sessions and be able to complete your first draft much faster than you would otherwise.

Choose the best writing tools 

As a modern aspiring author, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing the software tools you write with. This is both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, you have a wide range of options available. Among them all, you should be able to find a good match for the features you need and the budget you have available.

On the other hand, you can easily feel overwhelmed by the selection available. It’s easy to turn choosing the right tool into a form of procrastination that distracts from writing your book.

So what’s the best way forward?

There are two things to keep in mind. 

The first is you shouldn’t simply opt for the default tool you’ve always used. It’s worth considering the best fit for your needs out there. 

The second is the process of choosing should be strictly time-limited. For example, you can allot yourself an hour to read a guide to writing software and select from one of the options you like the most. Once the decision has been made, stick with it and move on to the process of writing. After all, many tools are capable of getting your book done. Good enough is better than perfect here.

So what are some factors to keep in mind when choosing writing software?

You want to have a feel for whether you prefer something packed with features or something more minimal to allow you to focus. It’s also essential to check that the software you’re interested in is compatible with all the devices you intend to use it on.

Aside from that, take the time to think about budget. Is there a free option that meets your needs? If not, would you rather pay a one off price or subscribe on an ongoing basis?

Take the time to find the right option for you – just not too much time!

Related: What is a Rough Draft?

Are you ready to write a book faster than you dreamed of?

Hopefully you now see that it’s possible to write a book quickly, provided you have the right plan in place. 

A lot of writers mistakenly believe that spending longer on a book makes it better. In fact, the opposite is often true. If you take too long, your ideas become stale and you lose momentum.

And keep in mind the initial aim is simply to produce a rough draft. You can refine and edit it later.  But without that crucial first step you don’t stand a chance of becoming an author.

We wish you every success in getting your first draft done. Why not take what you’ve learned here and set an ambitious plan for your next book? 

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