by Nina Amir (@NinaAmir)
You may not know this but Nina—whose last post here was How to Test Market Your Book Idea with a Blog—is also the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, which brings the opportunity of writing a book in 30 days to nonfiction writers at the same time each year that millions of aspiring fiction writers are engaged in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s all starting in a few days, so Nina is here to tell you that yes, it’s possible to write a book in 30 days. (And don’t miss the notice below the post about the promotions that we’ll be running for NaNoWriMo on the BookDesignTemplates.com site.) Here’s Nina’s article.
November hits and the writing world goes crazy. It seems like everyone hustles to produce a book in a month, but is it really possible to create a good manuscript in 30 days?
Actually it is.
Whether you choose to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or in National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), also known as the Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, truth be told, you can produce a good book in a month. However, I contend that doing so takes a good bit of planning prior to the beginning of November as well as some tenacity.
Plotters vs. Seatsers
In the world of fiction, there’s a debate between the plotters and seatsers about the best, or maybe the most creative, way to write a book. One group likes to plot out their ideas before they write; the other group likes to write by the seat of their pants—to just let the book unfold as they write.
Nonfiction writers aren’t much different. Just as many like to create a solid table of contents or outline for a book prior to writing a word as prefer to sit down and begin writing with no set plan for how they will get from point A to point B; they just know they will get there in the end.
If you want to write a full-length book, or even a short ebook, in 30 days, however, you’ll do so more quickly and easily—or lets say efficiently and effectively—if you’ve done some book planning. By this I mean actually brainstorming your idea or story line, fiction or nonfiction, until you can create a table of contents.
With this done, if you flesh out your table of contents further you’ll be prepared to write quickly and easily during the course of the month, which means you will, more likely, turn out a good book efficiently and effectively.
I suggest going so far as to produce chapter summaries or chapter-by-chapter synopsis. This helps you know exactly what you will cover in each and every chapter. If you don’t want to write these in detail, create a bulleted list of items or scenes you plan to include in each chapter.
To produce a really good book in 30 days, you also must conduct two types of business planning before you begin: market and competition. A good book is directed at a specific market, or group of people you think will be most likely to purchase your book.
First, determine who those people are, and if there are enough of them to make writing your book a viable project. Once you’ve identified your market, you can decide if you need to re-angle your idea or story to their needs, desires and interests.
If the book is not one they will want to purchase, it won’t sell. That means it won’t get read. So, how good will your book really be if it doesn’t have readers?
Second, to help you produce a good book in 30 days determine if the book you want to write is different from those books already published in the same category. Look at books that directly compete with yours, or that are written about the same subject matter or that tell a very similar story. These books represent your competition.
This takes a bit of time, so set aside a day or two when you can “look inside” books virtually on Amazon or take a trip to your local bookstore. Study these books’ table of contents, back cover copy, and first chapter or two.
Do you propose to write a better book? Will your book be unique compared to the others in your category? Be sure you can answer “yes” to these questions. If not, determine how to change your idea, your story, or the structure of your book so it is unique and necessary in both the bookstore category and the market you plan to target.
Ready to Write
With these two exercises completed—book planning and business planning (market and competitive analysis)—prior to November 1, you are ready to fly through the starting gate when the gun goes off. You can begin writing immediately with focus and clarity. No staring at the screen wondering what to write. No trying to decide what your character will do next. No determining what topics should be covered in your chapters. No wondering if your story or idea is good enough.
You can simply type as fast as possible from the start of your project until the end and produce a great first draft of your book.
Meeting the Challenge
The WNFIN Challenge is just that—a personal challenge. Why? Because it’s an opportunity for you to prove to yourself that you can actually write a book. That’s all NaNoWriMo, or any other such writing event, really provides, even if it says it’s a contest with “winners.”
These contests also offer you a deadline, which you might not set for yourself or keep even if you did set one, and a community of accountability partners, other writers trying to meet the same goal.
Just as it’s easier to start an exercise routine with someone else or stick to a diet with a friend, it’s easier to plunk your butt in the chair and write your book when you know other aspiring authors are doing the same thing at the same time. You are more likely to commit and show up daily when you feel the energy of the group.
That said, as with any type of challenge or goal, to accomplish it you must have tenacity. That means you must have a never-give-up attitude. You must be determined, perseverant, and persistent. If you get behind on your word-count, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to catch up.
If you have a full schedule in November already, you must find a way to make time for your additional writing tasks during the month, even if that means getting up early, staying up late, or recording your favorite television show and not watching it until December. This type of “Author Attitude” will get your book written in 30 days.
Do it Again and Again
And once you’ve completed the challenge, you’ll know you can do it again. And you will—any time you set your mind to it and set you’re a deadline for yourself. Or every November, if you choose.
If you also take the time to prepare for the challenge, you’ll produce a good book in 30 days. That’s a much better feeling than just being able to say you “won” or completed the challenge and then putting your not-so-good manuscript in the “circular file” or starting the slow and painful process of trying to make a bad book into a good one during December.
With a good book written in a month, you’ll truly have risen to the challenge.
If you write nonfiction, find out more about NaNonFiWriMo here. If you write fiction, find out more about NaNoWriMo here.
Nina Amir, the author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books, 2014), inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results in work and life. She motivates people to create publishable and published products and careers as authors as well as to achieve their goals and fulfill their potential.
The founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), aka the Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, Amir is a developmental editor, proposal consultant and author, book and blog-to-book coach with 35 years experience. Some of her clients have sold 230,000+ copies of their books and been published by major publishing houses. She writes four blogs and has self-published 12 books. www.ninaamir.com
Special November Promotions at BookDesignTemplates.com
To help the authors who will be working during November on their novels and nonfiction books, we’re pulling out all the stops to offer our support.
With big discounts throughout the month, and by giving away prizes like free templates and, for a few lucky authors, a whole handful of Kindle Fire HD tablets, we’ll help you whether you want to Pitch your book (with our Book Proposal and Manuscript Bundle) or Publish your book (with our collection of 15 print book and ebook templates for Microsoft Word). Either way, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re not on our mailing list, head over to BookDesignTemplates.com and sign up today to learn about all our November goodies.
Photo: bigstockphoto.com. Amazon links contain my affiliate code.