When was the last time you finished a book? Do you find yourself struggling to get words onto the screen? Is the thought of writing a book a year daunting?
Well relax, it doesn’t have to be.
The expectations of readers for authors have changed drastically since the days of the first romance. Now, not only is it harder to get published and the market tighter to get into, reader expectation (combined with publisher expectation) almost always require that you write at least a book a year if you want to maintain readership and keep your name from fading with the dust. No writer worth their salt wants to be known as a one-book wonder. Or worse – a one book writer.
I’ve never been fond of math, but I’ve discovered there’s a secret formula for guaranteeing a book a year no matter how busy you are – and it has nothing to do with being prolific. It is “Dedication + Time Management = Book”.
The first part of the formula, “Dedication”:
This is the key variable. Decide how important it is for you to finish that book. Where is writing in your list of priorities? Is it in the top two of your priorities? Top three? Bottom three? Only you can answer this. Your decision will reflect your will to finish that book.
The second part of the formula, “Time Management”:
You hear it all the time: Less is More. In this instance, the saying is true. What some writers tend to do (myself included) is crash write. Yes, like crash dieting. It’s never safe and never good. You can achieve the desired outcome (page count) within a short period of time, but you wear yourself out fast. Those 55 pages last week turned into 0 pages this week and next week because you’re burned out. You’ve written yourself sick. Just like dieting, it’s a dangerous roller coaster ride.
What you need to do is learn to pace yourself. Work at a speed that is comfortable to you – and doable. Set small goals, such as one hour a day, or one page a day. A small goal is less daunting and easier to accomplish than a large, broad goal, like 50 pages for the week.
Take small steps. Think of it this way: There are roughly 365 days in a year. If you wrote just one page a day, you’ve written a book at the end of the year at 365 pages. Factor in more “Dedication” into the equation and resolve to write 2 pages day. That’s two books in a year!
What was that? You’re too busy? You can’t find time to write? Not even a page?
Let me ask you this. What’s playing tonight? What happened on the last episode of American Idol? Did you see the last Grey’s Anatomy? Who do you think will be next to go on Desperate Housewives or Lost?
If you can answer at least one of these questions, then you’re not too busy. If you can find time to watch TV, you definitely can find time to write. Again, it comes back to “Dedication”. How important is finishing this book to you? Instead of wasting that hour out of your busy life to watch TV, turn the TV off for the evening and put that hour to good use by writing. Time yourself. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in an hour knowing that you have only that hour and you have to make it count.
One hour a day. A page a day. A book a year. How daunting does it sound now?
You probably won’t be able to answer what happened on the last episode of your favorite TV show, but you finally have that book written and ready to be submitted. There’s no contest there. And just think, when that first sale comes around and your readers are demanding more books, you know you can keep up with their demands by giving them a book a year!
Not bad for someone who’s dislikes math, huh?