Can you really write a book in a week?

May 26, 2020 | Writing A Book

Tweets and ads promise that you will be able to write your business book in a week or even a weekend. Is that possible?

The short answer is, “Yes.” The long answer is a little more complicated. The long answer requires you to consider the answers to three questions. The most important one is the first one.

Can You Do It?

It really doesn’t matter if “someone” can write a book in a week. What matters is whether you can do it. So, let’s lay out the challenge.

I’m giving you a six-day week. After all, the Bible says you should rest on the seventh day. It also makes calculations a little easier.

If you’re going to write a full-sized book, you need about 60,000 words. That’s 10,000 words a day. Can you write that much? Have you ever written that much?

Let’s say you don’t feel the need to write a full-sized, 250-page business book. Let’s say you’re going for a Kindle Short Read of 12,000 words. Then, you’ve got to write only 2,000 words per day. Can you write that much? Have you ever written that much?

I have clients who can do a couple of thousand words a day. Not many. I don’t have any clients that can do 10,000 words a day. I can’t, either.

But I said there were people who could. Who are they? Most of them are journalists. They learned to write quickly and well.

There are some writers like my client, Blaine Strickland. I call “burst writers.” They rent a hotel room, or go to a cabin in the woods, or a condo by the sea. Then, they write without interruption for a few days until they’re done.

Do You Have Everything You Need Before You Start Writing?

Before you start writing, you should know your subject cold. That’s easy for speakers and trainers who have been using the material on live audiences for years. It’s harder for other people. If you don’t know your subject cold, you must do some research.

You must organize the material. You need to know what stories and examples you’re going to use and the order you will use them. If you’re asking the reader to do exercises, you should know those before you start.

What Will You Have When You’re Done?

When you’re done with your week of writing, you won’t have a book. At best, you’ll have a first draft.

You must revise that first draft. Most of my clients revise their book three or four times. If you send it out to beta readers, you may need to add a revision after you get their feedback. Then, you’ll send the manuscript to a professional editor, who will suggest more changes.

The important thing to remember about first drafts is that they aren’t any good. Seasoned writers expect their first drafts to be awful. Some use more colorful terms. I like Ernest Hemingway’s statement. Like all his writing, it’s short and to the point. Hemingway said: “All first drafts are crap.”

More Questions

I think you should write a book you can be proud of, or nothing. If you can crank out a book in a week, you’re going to be a long way from that standard. Do you want to launch a book into the today’s intense competition if it’s just okay?

Let’s turn the issue around. Would you want to read a book that someone wrote in a week?

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