Writing Your Book: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Writing a book is a serious undertaking. It takes preparation and planning. You don’t just sit down one day and write a book. (Well, not a good book, anyway.) Think about running a marathon or climbing Mt. Everest. You wouldn’t show up on race day or the day the climb was beginning without training, would you? Of course not. That would be foolish.

Of course you want to get your book published sooner rather than later, but you don’t want to risk quality. That’s exactly what happens when you rush it. I’m not suggesting you sit on a book outline forever or let perfectionism creep in once your manuscript is ready, but writing a thorough book of an appropriate length certainly takes some time.

Here are a few tips to get you moving in the write direction: 

-Set a deadline/goal. When exactly do you want to have your book published?

-Create a schedule, working backward from publication. How many chapters do you think you want? How much research do you still need to do, if any? The answers to this will help determine your schedule.

-Create a writing routine. Maybe it’s one hour every morning, maybe it’s a four-hour block every Saturday morning, maybe it’s one chapter per week. I talk a little more about that in this post.

-Allow time for revisions before submitting to an editor, and make sure you self-edit first. Self-editing helps cut down on what your editor will have to do.

-Don’t edit as you go; it just slows you down. This one is hard. I once had a client who literally took the backspace key off if her keyboard so she couldn’t back up even if she wanted to. (That’s pretty extreme, obviously, but you, I hope, get my point.) You can always go back and edit later.

 “The purpose of the first draft is not to get it perfect, but to get it written.” - John Dufresne

-Practice writing. Find a list of daily writing prompts or join 750words.com.

Even professional writers say writing is hard. Don’t be discouraged on the days the words don’t flow easily onto the computer screen (or paper, if you’re old school). You’ll get there. If you’ve done the training, you’ll be able to weather the storm.


By the way, if writing a book is on your horizon but you don't feel prepared to start, check out my new course. "Book Prep Bootcamp" starts Monday, May 23rd, and is all about getting ready to write your book: planning, researching, and prewriting. Learn more at www.jodibrandoneditorial.com/book-prep-bootcamp. Join us and get ready to write your book!