Rescue Your Unfinished Book

Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again:

Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor
Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content
Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list
Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author
Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits within your business
Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points
Top Tip 7: Create a writing schedule
Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing
Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content
Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content

Below are planning and diarisingdetails of the seventh tip on what you can do to get your book back on track. If you have worked out where your book is going wrong, you may have some more writing to do. If you got stuck early on in the development of your book it’s possible you have a lot of writing to do. Lots or little, it doesn’t matter. What you need to do is work out how long it is going to take you to do it so you can create a writing schedule for yourself.

Once you have a schedule worked out, your writing time will feel more manageable and definitely more defined and achievable. It will also make you feel more organised and give you a definite goal to aim for – as opposed to a rough idea that you realise is all wrong when you get started. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

Top Tip 7: Create a writing schedule

Sometimes we set ourselves up to fail. We set up these incredibly tough writing schedules for ourselves because we want to write a book in 30 days or a weekend or by the end of the month.

When we miss our deadline and we realise our schedule is unachievable for some reason, we have a tendency to drop the ball completely. If we can’t do it in 30 days, or the weekend or by the end of the month, we’re not doing it all. It’s as if we sense our failure and lose our momentum or our reason for writing the book at all so we just let it go.

It’s only a few months later that we suddenly wonder what we did with that book because we can see a purpose for our book again. And we want to finish it. What we need to do is create a writing schedule that we can actually keep to rather than create a schedule that requires us to sacrifice our social life, relaxation time and even sleep. That’s what I call a punishment schedule not a writing schedule. Why would you want to make writing your book like a punishment?

So, how do you go about creating a writing schedule that actually supports you rather than sabotaging you?

  • First, you need to work out how many words you need to write. Multiply the number of chapters in your book by 3000 words (for example). If you’re not sure how many words you need to write estimate 750-1000 for each main sub-heading.
  • Next work out how long it will take you to write that number of words. To do this, write continuously for 5 minutes then count the number of words you wrote. Multiply that number by 12. This is the average number of words you can write in an hour. Divide the total number of words you need to write for your book by the average number of words you can write in an hour. This answer you get is roughly how many hours it will take you to write your book.
  • time to write clockFinally, look at your schedule and work out what time you have available to write your book. Decide whether you want to would like to write it in one go – over several days, for example – or over a longer period of time. Some people like to do things in bite-sized chunks, others like to do things all in one go. Decide what works best for you. Allocate the time in your diary. This is your writing schedule.

Now all you have to do is actually write the book.  Easy!

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Deborah Taylor
Deborah Taylor

Hi, I'm Deborah Taylor and I'm a publishing consultant and book-writing mentor. I work with established business owners who want to share their message by writing a book but are struggling to get started (or finished). I help them write, publish and launch a stand-out, attention-grabbing book that will raise their profile, reach more of their ideal clients and grow their business. I am a trained editor with over 15 years' publishing experience with major blue-chip UK publishing companies such as Hodder & Stoughton, BBC Books, Cassell and Pearson. I have produced books on every subject under the sun and with professinals and experts from a wide range of professions, from chefs and gardeners to life coaches and career consultants. I would love to help you write a book you love and that will raise your profile, attract new clients and bring you exciting new business opportunities.