A few notes before I tell you today's tip:
First, this is a non-fiction book. There are some fiction writers on the planet who can churn out a novel in 20 days, but I'm definitely not one of them. It took me 2-3 years to write Born to Fly and I'm still recovering from the trauma. (Feel better, Valerie??)
Second, I'm writing this book for a client and this is my day job. Maybe you can't devote 5 or 6 hours in the middle of the day to write your book -- but can you find 5 or 6 hours a week to do it? Can you write it in 20 weeks instead of 20 days? Sure you can!
I wrote 2 more chapters today so it's time to share today's tip. It's what I did yesterday before I wrote a single word and it's part of my left-brain get-myself-so-organized-I-can-hardly-stand-it activity:
1. I start with a blank computer document.
2. In that doc, I make separate pages for all the sections and chapters:
- Title page
- Copyright page
- Table of contents
- Chapters (1 new page for each)
- Contact info
So what if there are barely any words in the document? Now all I have to do is...
3. Start filling in the blanks.
For example, since the author already sent me his outline for the book and the chapter titles, I immediately filled in the table of contents with those...and then added the titles to each blank chapter page.
I filled in the copyright page, the working title, even the contact info at the back -- anything I already knew so that I could start filling in the blanks.
You'll notice I don't write each chapter as a separate document. That's just more work and more files to flip through. I have 28 chapters so I sure don't want 28 different documents. Just put everything in 1 doc (you'll have to eventually anyway). That way you can scroll through and find what you want, do 1 search and replace instead of 28, etc. etc.
OK, so I spend an obsessive amount of time setting this up...
But it REALLY helps me see what I have to fill in. Suddenly "the book" is not bazillions of pieces of paper on my desk and weeks of emails. "The book" is a nice clean document sitting on my computer screen just waiting to be filled in.
So much of book writing is emotional and mind stuff, so whatever you can do to make the process easier for you, do it.
And please share your tips with the rest of us by leaving a comment. We want to know what works for you -- because maybe it will work for us, too.