Writing a Book: A Thousand Points of Right

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One of the great things about being a book-writing coach is that I get to tell people there are no rules. There’s no one best way to write your book or market it. Instead, I’m inspired by President George H. W. Bush’s Foundation to Promote Volunteerism. When you’re writing a book, there are a thousand points of right.

There is no one best way to write a book. There’s only one best way for you.

I’ve written books for almost 50 years.  For almost 20 years, I’ve coached other people as they write nonfiction books. I’ve learned that there are lots of ways to do things. I’ve learned that some ways work for almost everybody and some only work for a few.

If you’re writing a book, quit hunting for the best way. Think about things to try. Look for them in books like Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals. Scour the web and writing tip blogs for ideas. Listen to other writers and try some of the things they do. In the end, you need to find what works best for you. Here are some places to start.

How Should You Write?

Most people I work with write their books on a computer. Some people write in longhand. Some people dictate their drafts. Others use a typewriter. What do you want to try?

How Long Should You Write?

Most people write best in blocks of about 50 minutes, followed by a break of 10-20 minutes. That’s the most common way, but it’s not the only way.

There are people who write in 20-minute spurts. Some use the “Pomodoro” technique. Others catch snatches of time to write from obligations that set their schedule. I worked with a mom with small children who only wrote during their naptime. That’s not all there is, either.

Some of my clients set aside a day in the week or the entire weekend as their time to write. Two clients write in huge chunks. They go away to a place where they can be alone and uninterrupted and write for days until they finish the job.

When it comes to how long to write, there are certainly no rules. In fact, there are probably almost as many styles as there are writers. What do you want to try?

Where Should You Write?

Some writers have a “writer’s cave.” That’s a special place where they do all their writing. Usually, it’s a room in the house with a door they can close.

Writers who learned their trade as journalists can write just about anywhere. Maya Angelou rented a hotel room to use as a writer’s cave. Tom Wolfe dressed up every morning to walk down the hall to the place where he worked. There’s no one right place to work, only a place that works for you. What do you want to try?

Bottom Line

There is no one best way to do anything when it comes to writing. There is only one best way for you. The way to find it is to try different things. What do you want to try?

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