50 Tips on How to Write a Book in 30 Days or Less

Anyone can write 50,000 words in one month and I’ll show you how.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Tips and tricks I learned from National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo):

  1. Like any goal break it down into smaller milestones. For this project take 50,000 and divide it by thirty. That equates to 1,666 words a day. That’s how I have done this four times. At first, it seemed utterly impossible. It is for many because they believe they can’t do it.
  2. As with any goal, when you break it down into bite-sized pieces it is easier. Literally, break it down into something you believe you can do.
  3. Stay above the line. Meaning there will be days when you don’t write. That’s OK. Just write more the next day to keep your average above 1,666 words per day—above the line.
  4. Goals are merely benchmarks to remind you where you are in relation to where you want to be. They are not a destination. They are measures. Innocuous. They do not define your worth.
  5. Work with what you have. How many words do you speak in a day? Research says that on average we speak about 7,000 words in a day. We hear 20,000–30,000. We think about 6,000 thoughts in a day. So volume is not the problem.
  6. Belief and organization is the problem. So are a slew of other excuses.
  7. Writing is s function of slowing down long enough to hear, and capture some of these 6,000 thoughts, or extending what we say throughout the day into a recording device or through writing to see where this conversation we have in our head leads.
  8. It’s not necessary to know where it’s going or to even have a clear destination in mind as we begin
  9. The most important thing to writing 50,000 words in a month is to get started.
  10. Capture 200-300 words into bite-sized thoughts. Don’t worry about connecting the dots or editing, just write them down.
  11. Keep writing. You will likely find that writing 200–300 words is not that difficult at all.
  12. If you don’t want to type speak them into a note app and then copy and paste them into a word document. Before you know it you will reach 200–300 words faster than you can imagine. How can I say this so confidently? Because the average person speaks at a rate of around 140 words per minute. Expert typists can reach speeds of 65- 95 words per minute. On average 40 wpm is really good.
  13. So how long would it take you to speak 200–300 words into a recorder? Two minutes, maybe three. Some people may be able to do that in 1–2 breaths.
  14. So the word count is not the problem. Your mindset is. Your need for perfection for being right is the problem. Your lack of confidence to believe that you actually have something of value that others may find helpful or interesting is the problem.
  15. How do you overcome that? I’ll give you one guess—Write. Speak. Copy. Paste.
  16. Keep at it. Let go of your attachment to clarity, punctuation, and perfectionism. Just barf all that shit up on a page and keep going. When you hit 300 words, write some more. Keep writing until you have exhausted all the thoughts feelings perceptions and attitudes you can think of for that particular train of thought then take a break.
  17. Go for a walk. Bring your recorder with you. Why? Because you will likely find more information or new inspirations.
  18. Pay attention to all the details around you. The smell of fresh-cut grass. The way the trees sway in the autumn breeze. See how the maples stand like paint brushes loaded with crimson, vermillion, or cadmium red how bright they stand against clouds of titanium white and the cerulean sky.
  19. Listen to the quail chick scraping for bugs, skittering behind their mother beneath the blackberry bush.
  20. Hear the crows yakking away on garage day scoping out the best unprotected overflowing garbage cans for easy snacks.
  21. Smell the dirty diapers in the gray refuse bin as you meander along your neighborhood street.
  22. Feel the nippiness on your ears and nose as a chilly gust ruffles the falling leaves sending them scratching along the pavement.
  23. Take it all in in a giant deep breath. Feel your chest expand and exhale the stress you have felt from trying to do too much. From trying to be all that you think others want you to be. At this moment just be present/ alive. Feel grateful for all your senses and the air that fills your lungs and the thoughts of being alone fully present to experience these ordinary but magical moments and capture them in your mind. In your recorder. And write about them.
  24. That is all writing is—paying attention to your five senses and seeing where they lead, then memorializing them as a photograph to remind you of a moment in time. And to invite others into that moment so they can relive it as you did. That’s it.
  25. Now with the recorder in hand, dictate all you have just heard observed, and felt, and when you get back to your desk open up your word doc and begin to copy and paste.
  26. Copy and paste.
  27. When you are done highlighting all that you have just put down in a brief stroll you will likely be amazed that you have more than 2500 words.
  28. Many thoughts will become seeds of future stories. You do not need to decide what to do with them at this moment but if you feel inspired take one and plant it. Water it. Watch it grow and see what it becomes.
  29. Remember to pay attention. No book will ever be completed without first collecting seeds. They will not grow into a story or book unless you invest the time to nurture them. So collect. Capture. And write.
  30. Go with the flow. You do not get to choose what it becomes your job is to gather the essence and present it in a way that makes some sense. You trust the direction your inner muse wants to take you. To take the story to those it may touch.
  31. The rest is not up to you. That is for the universe to decide. Your job is to be the pen and the paper to record and create. Record what comes through you. What you see. Hear. Feel. Turn your experience into something that has more powerful before the moment slips away.
  32. You will find as you practice this that one idea or thought or phrase can become seeds for many other ideas.
  33. On some occasions, you may want to brainstorm what those are. Then pick the one, two, or three that seem to matter to you at that moment in time and go with them think of writing as a treasure hunt. You are collecting pieces for something important even though you don’t know what that is, yet.
  34. That takes the pressure off it. It allows for your creativity and the inner muse or spirit to flow through you. Think of this process as Ex-lax for writer’s block and a tonic for your writer’s soul.
  35. The more you do this you will soon find that it can become an obsession. Your mind gets on a path like a runaway locomotive gathering momentum. You write till your wrist cramps and your fingers bleed and when the thoughts keep chugging along you grab your recorder and speak them until you have nothing left/ Then you pause and take another break. Perhaps for the day.
  36. But before you do you look quickly to see how far you have come. 4,000 words and it seemed effortless!
  37. Put this experience into a folder called “confidence bank”.
  38. Save this and many other moments of accomplishment to review on those days when you feel stuck, depressed, or an imposter.
  39. Read them for inspiration. They are your accomplishments, things you did when you find think you could. Cherish them. Know that you can do this anytime you decide to.
  40. Know too that you can stop when you want to.Gove yourself permission to pause.
  41. The point is to let go of your attachment to performance to achievement to need something to be fully thought out, clear and concise. Write a shitty first draft. Puke all over the page. Then clean it up later.
  42. As Mark Manson would say you need to learn the subtle art of not giving a fuck.
  43. Just fucking write—a little bit every day.
  44. And like any goal broken down into small bite-sized bits, you will reach the destination you set for yourself and most likely find that there is way more where that came from
  45. You may even have another 50k words to say on the topics you have already covered.
  46. You do not need to tell everything in one book. Break up your ideas and think of a specific audience you want to speak to.
  47. Give space to what you share. Allow time for the words to breathe.
  48. After each writing session, whatever you decide it to be, walk away for a bit. Leave a hanging thought of where you want to take your writing next and when you return, pick up from there and keep writing. DO NOT Re-Read what you have written. Do not put on your editor’s hat. That will derail your creativity. They are two separate parts of your brain. Stay in creative mode. And keep writing.
  49. When you reach a point where you feel you have completed a thought as far as you can take it, write for 10 more minutes. This is usually where the magic happens, at least for me. It is after I have coughed up a slurry of green gunk from my brain that I am left with the real nuggets and epiphanies. Do not quit before these miracles happen. When they come you will know.
  50. Congratulate yourself for pushing through all the normal resistance, procrastination, and excuses to complete something you before only dreamed about. You did it! Even if you did not get the full 50k words in 30 days. You likely learned more about what you can do and became acutely aware of the mental obstacles that have proven ted you from accomplishing all that you dream and want to do. Writing is as much about finding ourselves as it is about sharing a story to entertain or inspire others. That makes it so valuable. The world needs to hear your stories, so what are you waiting for? Go fucking write them.

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