Writing a book can be a daunting prospect. Many more people begin a book than those who complete one. What can you do to help assure your memoir or family history will go to print? Get over any notions about artists and inspiration. Instead, approach the task methodically and systematically.
Melissa Butler in the Writing, Self-Publishing and Book Marketing Blog offers some sound advice. She addresses it to novel writers, but it is equally applicable to someone writing non-fiction. Says Melissa, “Writing a novel is a huge task, but looking at the big picture makes it appear much larger than it needs to be. Think of writing as a process, rather than an end product.”
She recommends that you think not about writing 300 pages, but about writing one page – today. By committing half an hour to an hour a day, five days a week, you can plan and create your book in a year. If you don’t have quite that much time, that’s okay. Commit to what you do have and recognize that it will eventually lead to a completed book.
Drawing upon ideas in Bill O’Hanlon’s article Baby Steps, which appeared in The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, Butler offers two methods to organize your time.
What both come down to is committing to a month or so to plan your book, and then to write 250 to 500 words a day. The specifics are less important than the consistency of output.
Remember that despite our best intentions, life occasionally gets in the way of our plans. When it does, return to your writing schedule as soon as possible.