Welcome to today’s episode. I am Janine Bolon and we are going to discuss how-to-write-a-book-in-a-year. This is a plan that I came up with for myself so I could crank out one book a year because the writing process was so enjoyable for me. It did not always start off that way. I have to admit that when I was much younger writing was a chore and it was not until I started allowing myself to create what I wanted when I wanted that I started to understand I was actually pretty good at this thing called writing. But believe it or not, I had been writing for five years before that really clicked into place for me. I know you’ll be able to warm up to writing much faster than I did.
Originally, when I first started my writing career, I was a wife, mom and had four children. They were all under the ages of 10. I was writing because of my master’s thesis. I had to create a master’s thesis and my wonderful mentor at the time turned to me and said, “Janine, you have got to write this into a book this thesis cannot sit on the library shelf and the university library” and I went, “Oh my gosh! I had no idea.” Because back then self-publishing was called vanity publishing. This is back in 2005 and life is not what it was is today. So I encourage you to start focusing on the book that you want to write.
Now, how do you do this in a year? The reason I give you a year is; because you have several habits that you need to start creating if you want to accomplish your task. Realize there are people out there in the world that want to hear what you have to write. Now, you are going to have a lot of head trash that tries to tell you differently. So you just keep listening to this episode or several other episodes of the writers hour and you could be inspired by others and you keep writing. I don’t care what your head trash says. Do not use it as an excuse. I want you to find a way to write a book a year. And when you put yourself in the mindset of writing a book a year. It is amazing what ends up happening to your goal setting and you are targeting for yourself. So we’re lucky it’s easy to do because if you give yourself a full year to do something then you can start creating a plan.
So step one is, create a plan. Now, what are you going to do each month and one of the things I do and I know this is very old school for some people but I print off the twelve months and I have one of those big, you know, wall calendars. And if you happen to have a free calendar you were given or something use that. But I tear out all the pages and use them. It just helps me to line up all twelve months on my floor because then I get a better idea of what I am doing that year. And then write down the stuff that you know is going to happen. If you are in school or a graduate student or you are a professional or you are working for a living, you know that there are holidays and stuff around that and start building your writing around those holidays around those times when you have ability to relax.
The other thing is; write out what you are going to focus on each month. And what I encourage you to do is give yourself the last four months of the year to not be writing but actually creating the book from your writing, but relax, calm down. You know, basically, what this is, is you are going to go ahead and give yourself nine months to write the book. And you need those last four months of whatever your year is, to actually do the process of building the book itself. So, for the first several months decide when you are going to actually write and I encourage that you get into the habit of writing every day. And what I mean by that is you set up a schedule where you are writing at least five times a week. Like, get yourself into the habit or that there are times during your weekend that you are going to write but set a schedule and then stick to that schedule. I do not care if you are sitting in front of your computer, your hands are hovering the keyboard and all you are typing is the song lyrics that come into your head.
There have been times where I have been so stuck, now, I didn’t have writer’s block. It is just I knew where I wanted to go with my writing and I could not seem to get it unstuck. So I would do these warm-up exercises. Warm-up exercises are, you take songs and one was like the “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, another one was, “Old MacDonald had a farm.” You know, I would write out the lyrics to the songs to get words to flow in the direction I wanted to go. And what was fascinating is after writing one or two pages of total trash where I am writing song lyrics and I am just talking about how I hate writing and I have never been any good at this are just venting, and ranting. What is funny is after a period of time the log jam releases and then I am on a roll and I can write for three hours straight. And it is amazing how you get into the habit of doing stuff like that. So that is what we are really forming. Here is the habit. The Write Habit 😉
Break down your year into those separate months and then create your schedule of writing. Then, the most important thing to do to get your book written in a year is get support. Now whether you join a writer’s group online or you talk to a friend and this is actually something that I do, is my friend and I, we meet on zoom and we meet every day, and we write. And during that time of writing on Zoom, we are not talking to each other. I mean, the first four or five minutes, we may chat with each other but we are really there to write. We both have that very intense focus of writing and what we ended up doing was we would set for ourselves one hour. And so we would meet at 6:30 in the morning and we would write until 7:30 in the morning. And during that period of time, we would not talk, we say good morning. We had have a cup of coffee and she started this little tradition of she goes, “All right,” we had held up our coffee cups together on Zoom and she goes, “salute,” and we would just start. That is just, this little silly thing we started and that is what we do. And so I encourage you to find a friend.
Now, if that does not work for you because you do not know anybody in your world that is also a writer. Then, I would recommend that you find one online or better yet. You are welcome to join my writer’s group. Now, mine is a paid plan. Okay, you can go to JanineBolon.com/BookaYear The reason I charged $37 a month. It is amazing how once people start paying to write with us. They actually move forward with their book. And so, I also teach while we work on our manuscripts. So we meet twice a month and during that period of time I lay out the plan for the year and we all start working on our plan and asking one another, How are you doing on your book? How is it working? What is happening with you? And we hold each other accountable. It is been a very good group. And what is fascinating about that is people are getting traction in ways they never have before. So if you are like Jenny and I cannot afford 37 dollars a month. Then I recommend, the next best thing is that you go to “nanowrimo.org” and the way that is spelled is, NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month,” and it is N-A-N-O-W-R-I-M-O so, nanowrimo.org. And they have a national novel writing month is, every November and the idea is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Basically, I was inspired by this program because it helped my daughter to start her writing. And once my daughter started writing she saw how she was a very good fictional writer. And so she and I would have attended these events and pretty soon, I got very involved with the organization. It is doing great work. And so this is a community online that can help you.
One of the things I encourage you though, is you need to have somebody that can literally hold you accountable to your writing. If you know, you are going to have an appointment with that person, Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning, that is much more effective than just trying to force yourself with self-discipline. Does that make sense? So it is very important to get support. This is the biggest thing about writing though, whenever you are in a creative process of any kind, whether it is writing, sculpting, painting, it does not matter. If you were in the creative process, believe it or not. It is very solitary.
Please realize, most of the greatest musicians and greatest creatives were inspired in solitary environments, Why? Because that is where you actually are able to “hear” your inspiration.
Now, we have become so social so many of the different aspects of modern life. There are new ways of being able to collaborate and new, and exciting ways. But the challenge of trying to collaborate before you have learned your own style is this. You will swamp out your inner voice and so it is very important today that you get very good at your own style of writing and what you write being good at what you do before you start collaborating with others. So that is why I encourage people, write your own story. And I have had some people say to me but my life is sore, so boring. I cannot imagine anything more boring than writing about my life. And that is when I turn to them and say, “But my dear friend, I do not know anyone else in my life who I have daily conversations with.” That was number one arm wrestling champion when they were in high school, you know, you were number one in the state there. Yeah, but that is just one time thing. I said, “There is several things in your life that are different.” I was even talking to a person who is a college coach who had just said, “There is all these other coaches that run their book.” I, you know, what am I going to be able to offer? And it is fascinating to me how quickly a person will discount themselves and their life. And I just want to share with you that what you have to offer, no one else on this planet has that perspective and that is why it is so important that you write your story. And if you want some help with that reach out to all these different groups that I have talked about. And if that is not going to give you traction then go ahead and sign up for my program.
My point is simply this: I really want you to start writing your story. It is imperative. There is a reader out there who will be inspired by what you write and you will help solve a situation for them through your writing. Okay. Have a great day. Sit down at the keyboard and just start writing. Schedule it today for yourself. How long are you going to write for? If you want just start with 30 minutes. If you want just start with 20 minutes. But make sure you sit down at your keyboard everyday and type. Happy Writing!