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Are you choosing to Block or Begin Your Book?

begin your book Jan 24, 2020

-Before you LOOK at these steps, start writing anything at all, EVERY DAY!

-Write a crap chapter, even!

-ANYTHING you write can become rocket fuel to ignite your writing and free your book!

Writing frees the flow that will bring forth your gold! To help you avoid a slippery slope, here are ten simple steps to writing your book in retirement (or any time!)

1. Decide what the book is about- (or just choose for now!)

Good writing is always about something. Write the argument of your book in a sentence, then stretch that out to a paragraph, and then to a one-page outline. After that, write a table of contents to help guide you as you write, then break each chapter into a few sections. Think of your book as a beginning, middle, and end. Anything more complicated will get you lost.

2. Set a daily word count goal (choose what you WILL easily do!)

John Grisham began his writing career as a lawyer and new dad — in other words, he was swamped. Nonetheless, he got up an hour or two early every morning and wrote a page a day. After a couple of years, he had a novel. A page a day is only about 300 words. You don’t need to write a lot but write often. Setting a daily goal will give you a target. Make it small and attainable so that you can hit your goal each day and start building momentum.

3. Have a set time to work on your book every day (choose best for you)

Consistency makes creativity easier. You need a daily deadline to do your work — that’s the best way to finish writing a book. Feel free to take a day off, if you want, but schedule it into your diary ahead of time. Never let a deadline pass; don’t let yourself off the hook so easily. Setting a daily deadline and regular writing time will ensure that you don’t have to think about when you will write. When it’s time to write, it’s time to write.

4. Write in the same place every time (choose comfort zone)

It doesn’t matter if your write-zone is a desk or a restaurant or a kitchen table. It just needs to be different from where you do other activities. Make your writing location a sacred space, so that when you enter it, you’re ready to work. It should remind you of your commitment to finish this book. Again, the goal here is not to lose time thinking. Start writing.

Phase 2: Do the work

5. Set a TOTAL word count for your book.

Once you’ve started writing, you need a total word count for your book. Structure "thousand-word increments," for example. Break each chapter into roughly equal lengths. Here are some general guiding principles:

  • 10,000 words = a pamphlet or business white paper. Read time = 30-60 minutes.
  • 20,000 words = short eBook or manifesto. Steven Pressfield's DO THE WORK is an example of this, at about 22,000 words. 98 pages, Read time = 1-2 hours.
  • 40,000–60,000 words = standard nonfiction book / novella. The Great Gatsby is an example of this. Read time = three to four hours.
  • 60,000–80,000 words = long nonfiction book / standard-length novel. Most Malcolm Gladwell books fit in this range. Read time = four to six hours.
  • 80,000 words–100,000 words = very long nonfiction book / long novel. The Four-Hour Work Week falls in this range.
  • 100,000+ words = epic-length novel / academic book / biography. Read time = six to eight hours. The Steve Jobs biography would fit this category.

6. Give yourself weekly deadlines

You need a weekly goal. Make it a word count to keep things objective. Celebrate the progress you’ve made while still being honest about how much work is left to do. You need to have something to aim for.

7. Get early feedback (choose a source for safe and wise feedback)

Nothing stings worse than writing a book and then having to rewrite it because you didn’t let anyone look at it. Have a few trusted advisers to help you discern what’s worth writing. These can be friends, editors, family. Just try to find someone who will give you honest feedback early on to make sure you’re on target.

Phase 3: Finishing

8. Commit to "shipping" or "sending" (choose to SEND, not squirrel away!)

No matter what, finish the book. Set a deadline or have one set for you. Then release it to the world. Send it to the publisher, publish it on Amazon, do whatever you need to do to get it in front of people. Just don’t put it in your drawer. The worst thing would be for you to bail on your project after pouring all that time into writing. That wouldn't be anything even CLOSE to Best Work, and it won’t allow the world to benefit from your unique ideas!

9. Embrace failure (choose to hear "Decline" as information)

As you approach the end of this project, know that this will be hard and you will most certainly mess up. Just be okay with failing, and give yourself grace. That’s what will sustain you — the determination to continue, not your elusive standards of perfection.

10. Write another book (choose your next fascinating topic)

Most authors are embarrassed by their first book. I certainly was. But without that first book, you will never learn the lessons you might otherwise miss. So, put your work out there, fail early, and try again. This is the only way you get better. You have to practice, which means you have to keep writing.

Every writer started somewhere, and most of them started by squeezing their writing into the cracks of their daily lives. That’s how I began, and it may be where you begin, as well. The ones who make it are the ones who show up day after day. You can do the same.

Let me know where the "stop signs" popped up and clogged the works! I want you to have the right rocket fuel so you can ignite your writing! 

"If you don't write it, it will never be written!" 
–Judy McNutt- The Writer's Energy Expert
xx Judy 

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