Site icon Joanna Campbell Slan

Writing a Book In A Week–Can It Be Done?

Twice a year, my friends at RWA put together an experience that they call “BIAW.” That’s short for Book In A Week.

Last time I participated, I wrote more than 22,000 words that week. My friend Beverly Bateman was the word-wrangler, and bless her heart, she kept cheering me on. After the first day, she emailed me to say, “Can you keep up this pace?”

I sure did.

We’re all different. Our goals vary. We’re motivated by different needs. I love competition. I like challenges. So for me, BIAW is a wonderful synergy of all my motivators.

Are you up to the challenge of writing a book in a week?

Here are some tips:

1. Start by doing your rough outline. I had a good summary going in. That meant that each day I knew what I intended to write. Very helpful.

2. Check out your physical environment and get it ready. As you might imagine, writing that many words is tough on your backside. I bought a special seat cushion for my office chair. No lie, at $20 it was a GREAT investment!

3. Work out your kinks offline. At the end of each day, I’d jot down notes about what was upcoming. All through the evening, I’d revisit those notes and make adjustments. The next morning before I sat down to work, I’d also do a bit of rearranging. That meant that my keyboard time was optimal.

4. Turn off the phone and Internet. It’s too easy to be distracted! A five-minute phone call can destroy twenty minutes of available writing time.

5. Set goals for yourself. I wanted to write 10,000 a day. Yup. Ambitious, right? But I’d read an article by a woman who’d done that, so I thought, “Hey, I can, too.” I didn’t hit that number, but having it in mind was helpful.

6. Track your progress. Seeing the numbers grow is an incredibly motivating experience.

7. Be accountable. I told Bev that I’d dedicate the book I was writing to her. And I will. Knowing that I had to report to her added a bit more oomph to my enthusiasm.

BIAW starts on September 22. I’ll report my word count to you each day. Let’s see how I do!

What are your best tips for writing faster?

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