Can You Write a Nonfiction Book in 30 Days?

Write a nonfiction book in NovemberYou’ve probably heard stories of authors whose books took them years to write. You may also have heard of writers who mulled over their manuscripts for a few months or more before deciding to finally publish them. You may believe good books take a long time to produce. So why would you think you can write a nonfiction book in 30 days?

It’s true that some writers struggle to get their books written. They may not find (make) the time. They may rewrite excessively. They may lack confidence, which leads to constant doubt and questioning that slows down the writing process if it doesn’t leave them with the dreaded writer’s block.

It is possible, however, to write your book—especially your nonfiction book—in a month. You even can write a good book in a month—or less. You definitely can produce the first draft of a good nonfiction book in 30 days.

Deadlines Are Your Friend

The best way to accomplish this task is with the help of a deadline. I am a trained magazine journalist, and I love deadlines. I consider them my friends. I use them to help me accomplish my writing goals. You can do the same, even if just once a year for the sole purpose of getting your book written.

In November, many fiction writers take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a contest to produce 50,000 words, or the first draft of their novels, in 30 days. This contest inspired me to begin National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), probably better known as the Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge. During NaNonFiWriMo nonfiction writers write nonfiction books, as well as shorter projects, in 30 days as well. Both events offer a deadline: Start writing your book on November 1 and finish on November 30.

Use a Deadline to Write Your Nonfiction Book in a Month

The reasons to set a deadline, especially short ones (like 30 days to complete a book), is simple:

  1. A deadline gives you a sense of urgency. Studies show that we get more done when we work in short bursts of time. When we feel compelled by the clock, we are more focused, and therefore, productive.
  2. A deadline ensures you don’t prolong the process. It is easy to extend book writing or even article writing out over a long period of time. Most of us tend to lose interest and focus if prolong a project. It’s best to get down to the writing and complete it in a condensed time period rather than to tinker with a piece of writing for months or years.
  3. Deadlines motivate us. If we know we have a deadline approaching, we inevitably put our attention on the task at hand. The pressure of the deadline motivates us and keeps us moving forward, thus helping us reach our goal by working faster and harder. We make or find time for what is important to us. We may even get inspired by the looming deadline.
  4. Deadlines help us push through fear. More often than not I hear writers talk about feeling afraid—that they aren’t good enough, that their ideas aren’t adequate, that they will fail, that they will succeed. Once you commit to starting when the clock goes off on November 1 at midnight and to finishing on November 30 at midnight, your fear gets pushed somewhere to the back of your mind. Instead your attention moves to the task before you. Like #1 on this list, you focus on what is most important and become more productive.
  5. Deadlines force us to meet a goal. If you truly commit to meeting a deadline, you have no choice but to do so. Thus, you do whatever it takes, including making the time, pushing past personal challenges, and dismissing your self-doubts. You don’t let yourself down.
Use Community Write a Nonfiction Book in a 30 Days

Both NaNonFiWriMo and NaNoWriMo also offer participants the support of a community via forums and/or Facebook pages. The reason for this is simple: the energy of other writers also writing books in a month helps you get yours written in that amount of time. Knowing others are writing books at the same time and have the same goal—to finish a book by the end of the month—helps you keep your energy going.

Plus, the other writers serve as accountability partners.  You can actually go into the forums and state your intention and then report in on your progress. If you make friends in the forum, for example, you will have other people to cheer you on. This helps bolster your morale when you feel you are struggling. Also, the knowledge that these new friends will know if you don’t complete the challenge affects your progress; you won’t want to fail publicly and will be more likely to plow through to the end and succeed instead.

The Role of Attitude in Completing a Book in a Month

Those who choose to participate in NaNonFiWriMo, just like those who participate in NaNoWriMo, have a certain attitude, however. And this helps them complete their books in 30 days. You will need this Author Attitude as well if you are to start and finish your book in a month.

The primary characteristic of an Author Attitude is tenacity. A tenacious person is persistent, perseverant, and determined. Would you describe yourself that way?

You need this quality to make it through a month-long writing marathon. It will make sure you don’t give up, see obstacles as opportunities, retain a positive attitude, and keep moving forward no matter what. It will help you stay energized and ready to make some sacrifices for your end goal.

Why Take the WNFIN Challenge

One simple reason exists to take the WNFIN challenge: If you commit to its deadline, at the end of the 30 day period you will have completed a nonfiction book manuscript. You might not have finished (or even started) that nonfiction book project otherwise. Instead, you might still have a work in progress or an idea in your head.

That’s why so many writers love November and the NaNoWriMo and NaNonFiWriMo events. At the end of the month you may only have completed a draft manuscript—not a perfect, polished or published book, but it’s done. And it can still be well written and conceptualized. And you are still a good bit farther toward publishing a book than you were 30 days prior.

So, use the 30-day deadline to help you start and finish that nonfiction book you’ve been thinking about writing. There’s no time like November. I know you can do it.

To learn more about WNFIN/NaNonFiWriMo, click here. To take the WNFIN challenge, click here to register. You’ll be taken to a forum where you can “sign in” and introduce yourself and your project.

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