• 4 Tips For Writing a Book in Two Months

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Strategies     Comments 7 comments

    In March I had a realization: I don’t need to wait until I’m a better writer to write all the stories I’ve created.

    For years I’ve been procrastinating on my writing by pretending that I needed to hone my craft before I could become an effective writer. I now see that this is a rationalization; a false one. So to make it up to myself, I promised that I would kick it into high gear and write six books before I turn 27. That’s a novel every two months.

    I am now in the thick of writing my first, and I’m making great progress. Here are four reasons why:


    1) Motion & Creativity

    I write during my commute to and from my job. Something about having to wait for, and then being trapped on, a train makes my pen move. Also since I’m by myself, it’s nice that no one is looking over my shoulder, asking me what I’m writing.


    2) Scrips & Scraps

    Normally I’m a slow writer—I torture myself over every word. Why? Because the notebooks I write in have such a pleasing aesthetic to me that I don’t want to sully them with eraser marks, scratchings, Wite-Out.

    This time around, I’m writing everything on small pieces of paper; specifically index cards and the back of guest checks. I’ve discovered that if I worry less about the paper I’m writing on, I also worry less about whether each word is good enough to be written—and my plot progresses that much quicker.


    3) Everything Goes

    Usually I consider every single way a story could go before I make a decision, but with this new program I write the first option I think of. If later I come up with a better idea, I write that too. Since I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo last month, all the words I wrote counted toward the grand total—even if the words didn’t completely sync up with the rest of the plot.


    4) Leave it All on the Page

    I have a bunch of story ideas zooming around my head. Six, to be exact. In the past, I’d sometimes have an errant thought about another story and write it down to save for later. Not anymore. If I have an idea that I think will go well in a different story, too bad, I’m writing this one. The idea has shown up too early or too late, and I’m using it now instead of saving it for this elusive “later.”

    Thus far in the book I’m writing I’ve used at least three ideas I’d been saving for other stories. What’s surprising is that when I stopped idea hoarding, my brain started thinking up new ideas for me to write.


    Discussion Question: Has a new process or realization ever revolutionized your writing? What were the results?



    Jacqui Bryant’s love for reading, ability to create adventure, and general curiosity for all things unconventional in life may outweigh her ability to write well. But she hopes not. 

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    Janice Williams

    I have always done that “idea hoarding,” too. I’m fearful to use up a good idea in THIS story that I know no one will ever read when I can use it later in the AMAZING story that people will notice. I interviewed the songwriter Billy Joe Shaver one time and asked him about whether he ever hoards a great line to use later. He looked at me as if I’d asked if he ever waited a week to eat in order to have a better meal. He really didn’t even understand the question or the concept. I can’t say… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Yeah, I have entire notebooks full of idea hoarding. You know, for the novel. (The “novel.”) If I don’t get them down on paper *somewhere* (in a more organized fashion), those ideas will just die with me. Though maybe that’s for the best?

    If an idea falls in the woods …

    Heather Nelson

    …and there’s no one with balls enough to tear it to shreds, will it still end up a Stephenie Meyer novel?

    Heather Nelson

    Oh yeah. Idea hoarding, all the way. I’ve recently given it up like a bad sugar addiction. I also used an excellent line from an old (not so wonderful) poem in a recent short story. So, I’m now stealing ideas from my own crappy works!

    Jacqui Bryant

    If you’re stealing ideas from your own work, is it really crappy? It’s like you’re dropping muse-like breadcrumbs for yourself to find and use later.

    Heather Nelson

    You know, that’s a good point. It’s not total crap, I suppose, or I wouldn’t be stealing from it. It’s about 90% crap. :)

    Jacqui Bryant

    Thanks for the well wishes! I think idea hoarding maybe a habit that I’ll always contend with because sometimes I do a better job at not holding on to my ideas than other times. It’s like smoking, it will take a while to reroute the brain once you decide to quit and once you do, you’ll probably always be tempted to slip back into the old, comfortable habit.

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