Write a book in a weekend?
Good writing is about the space between the lines.
I know there are a dozen reasons you want to get your book out and get it out quickly. You want to do something meaningful, something that generates income for you, and something that positions you as that leading expert.
And you’ve probably been thinking about it for a lot longer than a weekend so when someone says it’s possible to get ‘er done in two days, it’s very seductive.
But a weekend? Really?
Is it possible? Or is it just hype?
Well, yes and no. Let’s take a closer look.
We love instant gratification
The idea of immediate gratification is enticing. And a ‘weekend’ is pretty-near instant when it comes to writing a book!
We’re used to getting what we want, quickly. Especially online, with social media, with access to downloadable training courses, with streaming video and music. We no longer need to wait for the post.
And all this immediate feedback stimulates a feel-good dopamine response in our brains. We can become addicted, and live more and more for that instant response (Facebook anyone?).
So if we can sell you something based on the promise of instant gratification, then that chimp brain responds to that hormone rush, and we get that buzz of excitement at the possibility.
And it IS possible
It very attractive messaging because — to be honest — a lot of us are just a little bit intimidated by the amount of work we think writing a book involves.
And writing your own book is something that feels like a ‘project’. It’s something that takes ‘work’. And something that you’ve probably been putting off.
Months (years, even) locked in a dusty room locked away from family and friends… It all seems very overwhelming. And so of course we don’t even start.
We even use that approach ourselves with the occasional Bestseller Bootcamp virtual training course that runs over a long weekend. We don’t promise that you’ll have finished a masterpiece; but we do promise that you can have the pieces in place and a chunk of the writing started. A map and a finish line that you can get to quickly and easily.
It’s especially possible if you know your content well; if you’ve taught it through training or working with clients; if you have a tried and tested process.
I wrote my first book in five weeks, not full time but probably a couple of hours most weekdays. And last year I finished a book that took me a couple of weeks to put together with another couple of weeks in the editing and refining.
If I compressed that time, I could probably have done it in a weekend.
And if that sounds quick to you then let me explain.
The reason I can do that is because I already have most of what I need inside my head. It’s stuff I’ve been teaching, talking about, and probably even writing about in one form or another for years. It isn’t new, it’s refined. And it’s a process of assembly, rather than creation.
The space between the lines
Writing your book isn’t about the number of hours you actually spend writing.
The actual time you spend writing that first draft might not add up to much more than the thirty hours or so you could cram into a weekend.
No, it’s about the quality of your writing and the time for reflection between the writing sessions. For creativity to happen, we need space. We need to process. We need rest. And you’ll write a better book if you spread out the time spent writing over a few weeks. Because that’s how long it takes to process your thoughts and to refine your communication.
That grown-up part of your brain that comes along to put a damper on the party. The skeptic that quells your enthusiasm.
Yes you can write a short book in a weekend.
But do you really want to?
In my experience, it takes longer to write something that is meaningful and high quality. It takes longer to assemble those years and sometimes decades of expertise and experience.
So how long does it take?
And I believe that most of us who want to write a non-fiction book are in that same position. We know what we need to say. It’s all there. We just need to get it into a format that make sense in a book form.
You need a process to get it out and onto paper (well onto a computer screen at least).
And that’s all teachable
It’s all teachable. The more we practice something, the better we get.
The more you practice organising your ideas, the quicker you begin to see patterns and processes. The more you practice writing, the quicker ideas will flow from your head to your fingers.
In a weekend, especially with support, you can easily nail your topic, plan your outline, find your writing style, assemble your process and mark up the gaps that need to be filled when you get back to your office.
How to write a book in a weekend
If you really want to know how to write a book in a weekend, then read on. There are ways to speed up the process. To finally get that project done and into print.
1. Get really clear, and stick to it
One of the most common challenges that authors come to me with is too many ideas. Too many ideas means that you change your mind and you never complete. Choose your topic and the boundaries
Decide. Do. Finish.
Move on to the next project.
And pick a topic you know. If it’s in your head, it’s easy to get it onto paper. If it’s a new topic and you don’t know where to start — really you are setting yourself up for failure.
2. Have your toolkit to hand
A master craftsman knows how to use his (or her) tools. You will get the job done more quickly if you don’t have to learn the technology at the same time.
I like to use Scrivener writing software. But whatever your choice, make sure that the time you dedicate to writing is just that — writing time. Don’t make this the weekend you decide to learn something new.
3. Let go of perfectionism
You really, really, have to stick to this one.
I can write 1,000 words pretty easily in an hour. Often less. Twenty minutes is probably about my record given my typing speed (average to slow).
Imagine if you spend the first part of the first day planning, and then the afternoon and following morning writing. You could probably get 10,000-20,000 words down. They wouldn’t be your best words, and they would need a good edit. But still, they would be words. A first (rough) draft. And you can always give the editing to someone else.
Of course, there will be gaps. Case studies you want to compile. Data you need to research. That’s OK, just add a note, highlight the section, and come back to it on Monday.
4. Use bullets and lists
Bullets and lists are your friend when it comes to writing quickly. You want to get the content out of your head onto paper.
And if you force yourself to prepare it as a list — a recipe, a process, a set of principles — then you are also forcing your brain to organise as you write. This is like creativity on steroids. It isn’t just bleh on the page. when you come back to it you’ll find that you can add to it, develop, and alliterate — but the foundation, the heart of the content is there.
5. Enjoy the process
And you have to make it fun. A challenge.
And therefore you have to be the sort of person who responds to a deadline positively. You have to want to write a book in a weekend. You have to be willing to do everything it takes in the time you have and be pleased with the results you get.
Otherwise, really, why bother?
Find another way to do it. If you want to take six months and write for an hour each morning, savouring the sunrise, then do that. It’s your book, your process, and no-one is going to tell you that you’re wrong.
But be warned — do set a deadline. Do be clear. Do commit.
Don’t be fooled that you can do it in a weekend.
Otherwise you’d have done it by now.
Can you write quickly? And have you tried the ‘book in a weekend’ approach? Let us know on Social Media…