By Jennifer Blanchard
You’ve wanted to write your novel forever–but you just can’t seem to sit down and write. It’s going to take so much time, right? You’re going to have to write during every free hour of your days to get it finished, right?
What if you could complete your 250 to 300-page novel in about 10 weeks (give or take a couple days) without giving up fun activities or spending every second writing? Would you finally sit down and do it?
I finished my first novel in only 10 weeks and you can, too. Here’s how:
- Have a Plan–You don’t have to plan out every single page or chapter in your book, but you should have some idea of where you’re headed. Plot sheets and character sheets will help you with this task. You can find these online. Or read Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks. Having a novel plan is a good way to stay on track and make sure there aren’t any holes in your plot.
- Commit to Your Writing–In order for you to successfully write a novel in 10 weeks, you need to be committed to your writing. You need to make your writing a priority. You need to sit down and write. No excuses. (Isn’t about time you did this?)
- Write 2 Chapters a Week, No Less–In order to stay on task and complete your book in 10 weeks, you have to write an average of 2 chapters a week. Some weeks you might write more, some less, but to get it all finished in 10 weeks, you need to write about 2 chapters a week. It doesn’t matter if you write your chapters all in one day or over several days, as long as you get them written.
- Get a Reliability Buddy–If you’re serious about writing your novel in 10 weeks, you need to find someone to be accountable to. This can be a friend, family member, writing coach, significant other–anyone who will keep you on-track and accountable for your chapters. You should pick someone you trust and someone who will hold you to your commitment.
- Believe in Yourself–Throughout the 10 weeks, you will go through a series of emotions: happy, sad, angry, depressed, “blocked,” excited, at a loss for words, motivated, etc. Knowing this ahead of time will help you deal better when it happens to you. When I was writing my novel, I had days where I wanted to throw my computer out the window and give up writing all together. That’s when I took a step back, walked away from the computer for a little bit and re-gathered my thoughts. (I also leaned on my reliability buddy.) Try doing the same.
- Take One Day Off Each Week–I highly recommend doing this. Although it may seem like wasting time, even the best writers need to take a break every now and then. You don’t have to take one day off a week, but you still need to make sure you have fun in your life, otherwise you might burn out on writing.