As a business owner, self-publishing is a path to recognition, passive income and a boosted profile. But writing a book is no joke. From the first spark of inspiration to the first draft, you’re going to go around the bend and back again getting your book in order. If you want to write a book, you’re going to need to find extra hours in the day.
The initial investment of time could quickly pay off if you have a switched-on audience waiting to buy your book. But so many business owners struggle to find the time to write their book.
The average business book manuscript is roughly 50,000 words. If you can write around 500 words per hour, you need to find at least 100 hours to write your book. And these hours will be your most productive hours. You also need to factor in the times you stare at the flashing cursor for hours on end because the words just won’t come.
If you have the ideas waiting to spill onto the page, perhaps all you need is a little structure. Writing a book in three months could be achieved if you have the self-discipline and motivation to get it done.
In this blog, I’m going to outline some of the top tips for writing a book, including finding the time to write and streamlining the editing process. If you want to publish your book, read on to learn how you could write a book in three months or less.
Outlining your nonfiction book
Many fiction writers (Stephen King, Terry Pratchett) don’t start with an outline. They let the story take them where it wants to go. But when you’re writing a business book, you need an outline.
Your book is a resource, not a story. You want a cohesive outline that will allow you to impart your wisdom over 50,000+ words.
Creating an outline for your book will also enable you to create your writing schedule. Finding the time to write your book won’t be easy, but with an outline in place, you’ll at least know if you’re on track.
The best way to outline your book is to break it down into chapters, and then determine the key takeaway for each chapter. Make your outline specific and create the chapter headings and subheadings so you can set due dates for each section.
An outline will also allow you to see if you have a small eBook of a full manuscript on your hands. It will help you determine if you’ll be giving it away as a freebie, or self-publishing on Amazon. If you plan to sell your book to a publisher, you’re going to need an outline, synopsis and the first chapter as a minimum.
Ask for feedback
Now you have an outline, look for feedback on the work. Trusted colleagues, family members and even a test audience will be helpful for this step.
Feedback will help you to avoid plunging time and resources into chapters that don’t fit or aren’t helpful. It can also help you to spot glaring gaps in your outline.
Ask for feedback from those in your sector and those who might find your book helpful. If there are skills that your audience are dying for you to share, they will let you know if you take the time to ask them.
Finding the time to write
The outline is ready to go. The hard work is done, now you need to put flesh on the bones. Writing a book is hard work not because stringing together words is hard. It’s hard because you have to stay committed and enthusiastic about your ideas. Be prepared for some self-doubt. Be prepared to want to throw in the towel.
Making the time to write your book is just one part of the struggle. I imagine if you’re a business owner, you’ve already got a packed schedule and your spare time is in short supply.
The easiest way to determine if you have time to write a book is to avoid trying to carve out large blocks of time. It won’t happen and you’ll end up frustrated with your efforts. Something more pressing will always come up and chip away at your time. Or you’ll have an entire morning to write and plan to get through 5,000 words but the mood won’t strike you.
Developing a writing routine
Instead, look for ways to reclaim lost time. Could you wake up 30 minutes earlier and cram in a thousand words every morning? Maybe you could you cut your lunch break and chip away at your daily word count? Or perhaps you could add an extra 30 minutes to your schedule at the end of the day?
Whatever method you choose, make sure you guard and protect this time. The moment you identify and carve out time in your life, the temptation is always to put it towards business activities. So shut down your email account, turn off notifications and let your word processor of choice take centre stage.
If you know you want to write 50,000 words in 3 months, that’s roughly 60 business days. That means that every day you need to hit 834 words. The average person will take around 1-2 hours to write this. Can you commit to at least 1 hour per day? Can you make this your writing process for three months?
The 3-month goal is only to get your first draft finished. You’re not even going to look at editing the content yet.
Editing your nonfiction book
At the end of the three months, there is a good chance you will have 50,000 words of disconnected thoughts that need to be joined up.
Editing your work will require meticulous attention to detail. You’re not just looking for typos, you’re also looking for quality of the writing and a cohesive structure. When you write a book using borrowed and stolen time, you might struggle to keep the thread running. This can lead to disjointed and awkward writing.
An editor can help to spruce things up, but the amount of work required might meet or even exceed the time spent writing it in the first place. If you’re working with a publisher, this step will be taken care of. But if you’re planning to self-publish, you’ll need to invest in your writing and hire an editor.
How can I write a book for free?
Writing a book for free will require considerably more investment on your part. If you remove the editor and helpful second opinions, you’re going to spend a lot more of your own time working on the book.
If you aren’t a professional writer or editor, it will take you longer than it takes a professional. You have to think about how much your time is worth to you. Would that time be better spent elsewhere?
If I have the choice between writing a blog (with no immediate or guaranteed payout) or completing an hour of work for a client (worth at least £50) I have to decide if the potential payoff or the blog is worth more than the client work. And if I can’t make a direct comparison, I have to decide if the blog is worthwhile for growing my business.
And I’m talking about a one-hour time frame. If you need 100 hours to write a book, you have to consider if the investment of your time will be worth the payoff.
The benefits of hiring a business ghostwriter
If you’re thinking about writing and book and wondering how you will ever fit it all in, a business ghostwriter could help. A common misconception about ghostwriters is that they are only for people who can’t write.
This is wrong.
They’re also for people who don’t want to write. Or who don’t enjoy writing. Or who don’t have the time for writing.
The book is still yours, but your business ghostwriter helps to bring the ideas to life. If you’re wondering how to write a book in three months or less, you should seriously consider a business ghostwriter.
Paying a professional to work full-time on your book is one of the best ways to improve the results. A good ghostwriter will lean on you for insight and to capture your voice. The result will be a first draft that contains everything you hoped to achieve, without all of the stress and self-doubt.
If you’re curious about how you could bring your book to life with a professional business ghostwriter, head to my ghostwriting page to learn more about my process.