by Angela Lauria June 8, 2015
In this episode Dr. Lauria talks about how long it actually takes to write a book and why so many people take so long! She’ll teach you how to identify if you are a burster or a plodder and how to create a schedule to write your book that you will be more likely to keep. Many bursters think of themselves as procrastinators and many plodders think of themselves as dull or uncreative. You are neither. This is just the way you create. In this episode you will learn how to hardness that.
Listen To The Show:
In this episode you will learn:
- 2 ways to identify if you are a burster or a plodder
- Techniques for optimizing your writing schedule to your preferred style
- Why taking advice about writing can be dangerous
- How to harness your non-dominant mode when you need to
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Listen To The Show:
Full Episode Transcript:
You’re listening to page up with Dr. Angela Lauria Episode 10. Write your book in three days.
Welcome to page up a podcast for authors and transformation, featuring advice on the basic fundamentals of selecting a book topic and overcoming writer’s block to advanced techniques for publishing and marketing nonfiction books. Now, get ready to press page up on your book with your host, best selling author and publisher, Dr. Angela Lauria.
Hey everyone, Dr. Lauria here, super excited to talk to you today about whether or not it makes sense for you to write your book in three days. I call this episode write your book in three days, or don’t. And the reason why I wanted to call it that is because I don’t think this is necessarily the right way for everyone to write their book. But I do think that it is great for everyone to know that it is, in fact possible. So one of the things that I have come to discover is that in terms of actual writing time, most of our authors are writing somewhere between 16 and 24 hours to complete their book. Now, here’s what’s fascinating. You can take between 16 and 24 months or years if you want to write your book, because people do all these other things. They do research which there’s nothing wrong with research, certainly, but a lot of times people are doing research subconsciously to avoid actually writing their book because it’s scary. Or you could check Facebook that seems to expand to fill time pretty dramatically. The need to organize your home or neatly fold blankets that seems to come up a lot during the writing process. So there’s all this other stuff that comes up really the number one thing I see most is just like people who are trying to like learn more, gather more information or interview more people or get more transcripts made of something or other instead of just creating their book. So a lot of the busy activities are usually just a way to not write your book. And you would be surprised that how hard people work to not write your book. So when you stop trying to not write your book, and you actually just commit to writing it, it often takes between 16 and 24 hours to write a book, the script for Rocky, the first rocky movie that was written in 20 hours in about three days. My book, which is about a 200 page book, that was written in three days. So there are lots and lots of examples. I’m going to give you some more Later in the podcast, there are lots of examples that it is more than possible. At least once a quarter, I get together with four or five authors, and all of them write their book in three days. And they, they never leave. They never leave without having finished their manuscript. So are three days to done participants know this is true. But there’s another way to write a book too. And there’s there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, this is the way I was taught how to write a book. When I worked with New York Times bestselling author, David wise, he very meticulously wrote five pages every day. And when I first started coaching other authors, that’s what I would actually recommend to people was to write five pages or it’s, it’s somewhere around 1500 to 3000 words, and he would write that every day, no matter what, five days a week. And he he was the type of person who is extremely consistent. I had a client who wrote her book in 15 minute increments three times a week. I’ve had lots of clients who write their book in about an hour a day. Most of the clients in my year delicious book program write their book in about four hours a week for a six week period. And that could be 30 minutes a day, or it could be for an a four hour chunk that they’re writing a little bit every week to get their book done. So Steve pavlina, who runs a great blog on productivity, he talks about this phenomenon as bursters and plotters. So bursters are like the guy who wrote the rocky script to did that in three days, right?
Or me with my book or three days to den participants, and plotters are the folks like David wise or For my clients who write in four hours a week. So what we’re going to talk about today is let’s identify if you should write your book in three days or not. Because one of the things I find is we always want what we don’t have, right? So my bursters really feel like procrastinators. And they often feel bad about not keeping up with a regular writing practice, like they are somehow flawed. And my plotters, they can keep a regular writing practice, but they don’t feel as creative or excited. They feel like they’re dull and they’re kind of boring. And neither is true, right? They’re both great attributes. But I want you to figure out on this call on this podcast today, what is your dominant mode? Which one’s more comfortable for you? How can we leverage that and then also when you do need to work in your knowledge dominant mode, how do we make that work for you instead of against you? So that’s some of the stuff that we are going to be covering today. I want to talk to you a little bit more. Because a lot of people don’t believe that you can write a book quickly. That is good. And I don’t want to convince you that, that just Rocky and my book are the only examples. So I want to talk to you about some other examples of books that were written really quickly in days or weeks. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, it’s an amazing American Gothic novel, magnum opus, really. And what’s interesting about his book that I think has a great lesson for you in it is at least what he says and I’m going to see me stretching the truth a little bit here, but what he says is From the time he wrote it until it was published, he didn’t change a single word. Now, here’s why I think that’s interesting. What I find with our three days to done books, is that the authors who write their book in three days are so clear on the voice. And it’s not written in the choppy way that when you’re writing an hour a day, you know, you, you write for an hour, and then you go away and you get a flat tire and you get, I don’t know, check in the mail from your grandmother, and then your kid stubs his toe and then you come back the next day to write, you have changed, like all that stuff happened in that slightly changes your energy and vibe. And so very often those books need to be smoothed out in the editing process. So with the books written in three days, your voice is so clear and clean and consistent. That they often need a lot less editing. And so I think it’s really great to point out that that As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, who says he didn’t edit at all. A Clockwork Orange was written in about two weeks, and then edited in enforce. So it was finished within a month. And A Clockwork Orange obviously became a cult classic. But the film version, the the actual script, took months to translate into a script. Well, that is because Anthony Burgess, who wrote the book is a burster. But Stanley Kubrick who wrote the film, he is more of a plotter. So it’s not about the topic. It’s not about the content. It’s about who who you are the prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, they is a very successful novel. And Muriel Spark’s has. She wrote it very quickly. I think she said she wrote it in about a month. But she says her cat helped. Now that might sound a little bit crazy. But I will tell you that I have found for many of my authors who are bursters, that having animal energy can be very helpful. Because very often you’re not really leaving your house very much or doing other things that what I say with our three days to done event is it’s like you’re living inside your book for three days. So having that animal energy can be really helpful.
The other thing that can be helpful is inspiration. So the gambler by deskey, yes, he was written, Dostoevsky was written in about three or four days. He wrote that book so quickly because there were literally people beating down his door to beat him up. So he really only had days to turn in the manuscript or he would lose the rights to all of his past works. So he not only, he not only would not have money off of this book, but he would lose any royalties from any of the Dasi ASCII books that were already written. So sometimes authors are inspired. So do you have an inspiration like that, hopefully, nobody’s coming to beat you up or take your rights away. And then, we’ll talk a little bit about jack Kerouac on the road. Now that was written very quickly, probably because of all the drugs. But drugs aside, what I like about this book that could relate to you is the structure of your book can actually dictate how long it takes to write so I had one author Microsoft ski, who wrote a book called August And the concept of the book was that he would write for an hour a day for the month of August and turn that into a book. So it was going to take him 30 days and 30 hours to write that book because he wrote it in the month of August.
So depending on lots of circumstances going on for you, your your inspiration to write how quickly you want or need to be helping people. Um, and then what your personal style is, you can write your book very quickly, or you can decide not to, and, and neither, neither is the right or wrong description, so or decision I’m sorry. So let’s start with a description of whether you are a Berserker or a plotter. So I want to give you two ways to identify this because there is the project or the circumstance Which might lead itself to bursting or applauding. And then there’s you and your natural preferences. So here’s way number one that I want you to identify is when you have think back to when you have had projects in the past. And these could be school projects, preferably not group reports. They could be school projects, maybe a PowerPoint presentation you had to put together for work, your annual report. For me, it’s doing taxes is a great example of this. And if you think back to any of those things and look at how you naturally do them, like clearly, taxing taxes have been sold to us as a plotters dream. So what you should do is, every time you get a receipt or once a week or once A month, you should rectify all your checks. And you should know at that time, if they’re tax deductible expenses, you should be preparing a folder each, you know, each month or each week. And then when the end of the year comes, you need to gather a couple more forms. Usually in the month of January, someone send you your, your W nine or your, your 1099 or your W two, you know, you get that tax information. You add that to the folder that you’ve nicely spent a few minutes each week on, and then you send that to your tax person. Well, that my friends is not me. The way it works for me is sometime after January 31 out after I’ve collected all this tech stuff that I don’t know where to put it and I’ve lost half of it. Then I spend about a weekend gathering all that stuff I should have been gathering all year, and I used to feel bad about that. And then I just realized that’s my process and I put a week on the calendar usually in February or March, where a weekend where I just take two days and do that because that’s how I do my taxes. Now that’s changed a little bit now that I have brought a bookkeeper onto my team and he is so delightfully does just a little bit of work each week. But here’s what I love about about my bookkeeper is that he is a plotter. And he not only does a little bit each week on my taxes, but he loves it gets all excited about it. And that’s fantastic. So again, I don’t think one method is more or less suitable than another Although I will say if you are thinking about being an accountant or bookkeeper, it would be awesome if you are pretty naturally a plotter that will not be my career path for those of you taking notes. Okay, so how do you do these things? How do you do taxes? Do you carve out a weekend? Or do you do a little bit each week? How did you do papers in school? How did you do your your big annual report? You had a big project? When you’ve had a big project in the past? How do you find yourself naturally getting it done? Now I’m not asking how are you most effective? I’m saying how does it just seem to end up? How does it seem to happen? What about home projects like? I’ve got a list of home projects that I’d like to do I have a door downstairs, I’d like to change. I need to tar my roof outside. Get someone to turn my roof I will not be doing that myself. I’d really like to melt mulch my flower beds. I should be doing that this weekend.
When you do home projects, do you find that you make a huge run to Home Depot and then spend two days doing 10 minutes projects or do you like to do you know, one project a week or a project a month that might take an hour or two of time? You Blitz and paint the whole house? Or do you just do like a bathroom one month and then maybe kids bedroom the next month? How do you find yourself actually naturally working? Now the second test I want you to run is a little bit more active. And in the second test, what I’d like you to do is, think about your book. A map, imagine you needed 24 hours to write it. Just decide that just decide I’m going to spend 24 hours writing my book and look at your calendar. And I want you to schedule right now. You can put these a year from now if you want you can put them next week. I want you to schedule 24 hours for writing your book. Tell me where these 24 hours come from. So some of this is your lifestyle. Some of it’s your natural inclination. Do you want to write an hour a day for 24 days? Do you want to write an hour a week for 24 weeks? Do you want to write for 24 hours straight and rent a hotel? A couple towns away with without giving your, you know, your family, the key, the room key. But what happens? How do you want to put 24 hours on your calendar? Now there are 10 steps to writing a book that makes a difference in six. The first six do not include writing. So if you have not done the first six steps, and you can, you can pick up a copy of my book if you don’t have one. at Amazon, it’s called the difference. If you have not done the other six steps yet it will not take you 24 hours to write your book. So I do need to warn you about that. But if you have done those six steps, then you can put this on your calendar for now, if you haven’t done it, give yourself I would say give yourself at least at least a month to do the first six steps. So schedule it a month out, but even looking a month out, do you want to do a weekend? We have three days to done events coming up. You can go to three days to dunk calm. And check those out and see if one of those weekends fits on your schedule. Or would you rather do a little bit each week? We have new dates starting for your delicious book, you can do it obviously with us you can do it on your own. Your delicious book is a more of a plodding approach, although they’re both pretty bursty. And then and that’s because I’m bursty right. So if you’re somebody who wants to work super slow and you don’t have a burning desire to get your message out quickly and start earning more income and making more of an impact quickly I honestly I’m probably not the best book coach for you unless you’re looking for someone to inspire you to go quickly. But if you’re trying to write your book as slowly and carefully as possible, find someone who is a natural plotter that you can tap into that’ll help keep you at that slow pace. That is definitely I was not built for slow. Okay, so now hopefully you have identified Are you a natural burster or a natural plotter? The next thing I want to talk about is what happens if the way you need to write your book is different than your traditional preferred way. And no, I am not going to recommend drugs here. But if you know that you’re not somebody who really likes to, let’s say, burst, you don’t really like to work for a full 24 hours straight with only short breaks, you need lots of air and space and time in your work. So how can you deal with that? First of all, I’ll just talk quickly about why you might need to deal with it. And the answer there is that sometimes in life, there are deadlines. Maybe you got invited to be a TED speaker and you need your book done in time. Maybe you have a birthday, and you just personally want to get it done. And so there are lots and lots of different circumstances that might come up that may make you want to harness one of these other modes. So step one is to just acknowledge this isn’t my preferred mode. And then step two is to really borrow any of the aspects of the other method that help you feel safe because our goal is to make your inner author feel as safe as possible. So she feels like you just threw her into the deep end without a without a life preserver. Your inner author will rebel on you. So what I recommend, and we do this in our three days to done event, what I recommend if you’re going to burst us some techniques of the plotter. So what I do in our three days to done events is you write for two hours, we give you a page goal, or word count goal for those two hours. I give you lots of warnings as we’re getting close to the end of those two hours. But then I have a forced break. And most people do not want to take this break. They feel like they’re in the zone and they want to keep writing. But I actually make you take the break because this is a continuum from burster to plotter and what I find is the part of you that is a plotter. really needs a brain refresh and sometimes bursters and when you are in the process of bursting, you lose sight of the fact that you are not being as productive as you could be. Another thing is, plotters tend to be better at self care ladies and gentlemen. And so if you are burster building lots of self care, make sure that you have friends that are scheduled to come bring you healthy snacks we have a personal chef who is bringing healthy snacks and we also make sure that we have unhealthy snacks. So if you know that you are motivated by Mountain Dew as one of our writers was she went through a case of Mountain Dew and a weekend. Then go ahead and stock up on Mountain Dew. This is not the weekend we’re going to break our addiction to soda. Um If you are naturally More of a burster. And you need to find those. Find those situation where maybe you’re very, maybe you’re very busy. Maybe you have a full time job, you have kids, you’re taking school part time and you decide you want to write a book. And so you have to do it, you have to break it up into an hour a week. Well, if that is not who you naturally are, how can you bring in some elements of bursting into that. So one thing is to set your goals and rewards to be much smaller, so that you’re getting that rush of finishing a project. That’s one of the things that firsters really thrive off of is they want to feel the project done. So instead of thinking of yourself as working on your book, think of yourself as working on a chapter or even part of a chapter or a section of a chapter. So that easily In that short plotting session, you’re actually thinking of it as bursting. I banged out this whole section an hour and then build in rewards. So bursters are really think we’re a little bit addicted. But we are really satisfied by finishing and then rewarding ourselves for that. So if you’re a bursar and you have to plot on something, what you want to do is set up a series of rewards now the rewards could be small. Maybe you have maybe you have a favorite Oh mascara. Let’s say it’s a Lancome mascara and it’s $60. So you could actually build in when you have completed three of your plotting sessions, that you’re allowed not to go to the store but actually to go to Amazon or Neiman Marcus online and buy that mascara. So I actually have a chart of rewards and when I can access those rewards, so you actually use a concept of gamification. So actually gamifying your work so that when you hit certain goals, you have payoffs. Now they don’t have to be monetary. I’m guilty, totally guilty confession. But one of my rewards is really bad reality TV. So when I wrote my, when I wrote my three days to done book, my book that I wrote in three days, the voice was I had a whole season of The Voice. And every time I finished three chapters, I was allowed to watch an episode of The Voice. So these don’t have to be things that you pay for. Sometimes I reward myself with novels because I very rarely read novels. And so I will set those aside for when I accomplish a certain goal. So if you do You have to plod and you’re naturally a burster decide what those end points are. And give yourself some rewards that again, don’t have to be expensive. They don’t have to be food, but they do have to be something that truly in your heart, you would feel super excited about getting to that goal. So, um, so I just really want to encourage like, Don’t Don’t make up rewards that don’t feel like a reward. And don’t lie to yourself like Dude, you know, watching the voice that was that was a reward for me and it was and that’s fine. Um, don’t make things that you should be doing to care about yourself or reward like sometimes I’ll let myself like get a haircut or something when I finish something you should be getting haircuts anyway. Now, maybe you could get a little splash of pink in your hair. Or maybe you could go to a salon that does a scalp massage instead. Going to hair cuttery, but don’t deprive yourself to hit your goals. So whether you’re a burst or a plotter you each you have natural skills, but you are able to access the other side. And you may need more of a coach to help you with the other side. But I am going to encourage you check out the show notes for this show. So you’ll find it at the Author Incubator comm slash 10. Comment on there and let me know if you’re a burster or a plotter. So we could do a little informal survey My guess is I attract mostly bursters because I’m a burster. But there is stuff we can learn from plotter. So come out of the shadow and share your techniques with us go to the Author Incubator calm for the show notes. I will also include my schedule for writing a book in three days. So if you want to write a book in three days You can do that you can download my actual writing a book and three day template. And I’m going to give you a link to the Steve pavlina blog post that taught me a lot of this stuff, which I found to be really helpful. And then I’ll send you also, or I’ll include on that page, a link to my book. So if you aren’t going to bang your book out in three days, I do have to tell you, if you don’t have the groundwork set up, it won’t work. So if you haven’t done the first six steps in my 10 step process, then you should at least look at them or find some other process that will prepare you to write because you need to be able to go into those three days ready to write. So that is my hope for you that you have on this show identified if you’re a burst or a plotter, and then you make a decision for your book. Do you want to write it in three days? Or do you want to stretch it out over 90 days or longer, and really schedule that now. Get that on yourself? Calendar so we know when your book will be done. Put that in the comments to the author incubator.com slash 10 is the show notes. And let me know when you’re going to be done with this thing. Really excited for you all. Looking forward to our next episode.
This has been another episode of Page Up, where we help nonfiction authors write a book that makes the difference. If you like the show today, be sure to tell a friend and leave us a review on iTunes. Check out houses to show book Johnny’s also on iTunes. And don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list at WWW dot att incubator.com where you can learn more about how you can get your book.
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