If your book is stalling, it could be because you don’t have a motivating writing schedule. What is a motivating writing schedule? One that makes you sweat a bit!

Map out your project schedule

Publishing is built around deadlines and schedules. It is the lifeblood of the whole industry and they rule everything that happens. If you want to write and publish your own book efficiently, you will need to write (and keep to) schedules.

Before you do create your schedule, though, you need to decide on a publication date. You need to set this as a definite date otherwise you are in danger of never finishing your book.

The next job is to set a schedule specifically for writing your book. The length of your schedule will depend on how much time you have to dedicate to your book. Once you have a date to work towards, you can begin to allocate time to specific parts of the process. Broadly, these are:

  1. Planning and research = 2 weeks
  2. Writing and revising = 4 weeks
  3. Editing and production = 3 weeks
  4. Sales and marketing = 2 weeks
  5. Launch and promotion = 1 week

If you set a publication schedule of 12 weeks you will have around 4 weeks (28 days) to actually write and revise your book. If you split the writing and revising time, that will give you 2 weeks to write your book – just 14 days. Depending on how long you want your book to be, this may not be long enough so you may need to adjust your schedule slightly.

That said, as long as you are committed to the task and can make the time in your schedule, writing your book quickly is preferable to writing it slowly. If you allow yourself to take too long to write, you may well lose your focus, your self-belief and your motivation. If you commit to doing it quickly, you keep moving forward and are less likely to get bogged down in doubts and confusion.

Work out your writing scheduleegg-timer

Devising your schedule is simple from this point forward as long as you have your book structured and planned. If you plan to write a book of around 15,000 words and have 7 chapters, your writing schedule will be simple to work out:

  • Introduction = 1700 words
  • 7 Chapters = 1900 words each

You can either set your schedule based on how many words you can write in an hour or you can simply decide you are going to allow 3 hours to write each chapter. Once you have done this you just need to put eight 3-hour writing sessions into your diary. You might decide to write one chapter a day or you may prefer to shut yourself away for three days and just hammer out the words.

The important thing is that the schedule you set meets your business needs and the needs of your book. If you create a schedule that isn’t motivating or that is so tight that you get exhausted, it won’t be a good one for you.

When it comes to designing a schedule, you might need to use a bit of guesswork to begin with. As you get going, you can adjust your schedule or you may decide to change your approach. If you find your schedule is giving you too much time and you are getting bogged down, speed up. If you have set a schedule that is too stringent (you do need a break now and then!) slow it down a little bit.

You are in charge

Being in charge of your own schedule has its advantages and disadvantages. While you have the benefit of being able to take more time if you need to, you are also at risk of never finishing because you just keep extending the schedule.

One of the solutions to this is to find someone to hold you accountable. A coach or even a community can do this for you. Another strategy is to set up an event for which you need to have your book ready and available. This is a scary option and it would be advisable to get professional help if you go down this route because you won’t be able to do everything yourself.

Any schedule can work. But to make it work, you need to be prepared to stick to it and put in the hours. Support from a coach or mentor will help you finish your book, as will help from an editor and a book cover designer. But it is the decision to set a schedule that is challenging that will ultimately keep you moving forward; you are less likely to get stuck and less likely to get mired in negative emotions like doubt.

Be strict with your schedule, remind yourself of your deadline every day and do something to move yourself towards it. This stringency will buoy you up and keep you moving towards your finish date. If you keep moving forward, you will finish.

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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.