There are plenty of challenges to write a book in a month. I’ve been known to host one or two of them for nonfiction writers and bloggers. Yet, many people believe it takes a long time to write a book, which explains why I’m often asked if it’s possible to write a book, or a good book, in a just 30 days. Today, I’d like to address that question.
My short answer is: Yes. Of course, you can write a book, or a good book, in 30 days.
I know plenty of novelists who write the first draft to their novels in 30 days, and those drafts are not schlock or dreck or any other name you want to give to something you’d put in the circular file (the trash can).
Of course, on this blog we discuss nonfiction because that’s my area of expertise. I know many nonfiction writers who can turn out the first draft of a nonfiction book in 30 days as well.
Can you Only Produce a First Draft in 30 Days?
Although I have mentioned first drafts, it’s also possible to turn out an entire finished book in 30 days.
There are instances when a writer sits down and a book simply flows out of them start to finish in record time. They may feel so inspired that they don’t sleep much, and they eat at their computer and only stop writing when “nature calls.” They may produce a manuscript that needs little to no editing in just a matter of a few weeks, send it off to an editor who returns it in also in just a few weeks, and, viola, the work is ready for publication.
In most cases, to finish a polished manuscript in a month means tackling a shorter book. To actually publish it as well in that amount of time you might also want to take on a short project.
Is the Work Original or Repurposed?
It’s also possible to turn out a book in a month by using repurposed material—at least in part. You may have essays, articles or blog spots that can be compiled and revised or edited into a book in little time. Most likely you will need to add content to produce a good book from repurposed material, but you can do this quickly.
Many book-in-a-month challenges can be completed this way if they don’t “require” previously unpublished material, such as the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge (National Nonfiction Writing Month). You still will produce a good book.
Do You Need Experience to Turn Out a Book in a Month?
Although many writers who produce books—and good ones—in a month are practiced at writing books, that doesn’t preclude you from following in their footsteps if you are a newbie writer. Really, all you need to do this is:
- An idea: You have to start with an idea. You can’t flounder around wondering what to write about for the first week.
- The will: You must really want to write a book in a month. And no matter what challenges come up during those 30 days, your willpower must be strong enough to push you forward to meet your goal. You must have the determination to put your butt in the chair every day for 30 days and churn out those words.
- A plan: The more planning you do before the month begins, the easier it will be for you to meet your goal by month’s end. This is true not only for your book project but for your personal calendar. Be sure you know what you will write, how you will write it and what resources or research you need to write your book as well as how much time it will require and how you will fit this time into your daily calendar.
- The mindset: If you believe it will take a long time to write a book or a good book, that’s the reality you will create. if your thoughts are focused on “Books take a long time to write,” “Writing a book is hard,” “Writing a good book is supposed to take at least a year,” or anything along these lines, that is exactly what the experience will be like for you, and you won’t be able to write a book in a month. You must have the mindset, the belief system or thoughts, that allow you to write a book in a month.
If you have these things, you can complete a manuscript in 30 days. In some cases, you might even have that manuscript ready for publication. I’ve managed to do that a few times myself and produced both ebooks and print-on-demand books.
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