Today, I am pleased to have Patrick Snow as our guest blogger. PATRICK SNOW is an international best-selling author; professional keynote speaker; and publishing, book marketing, and speaking coach. We’ve had the privilege here at Superior Book Productions of helping hundreds of Patrick’s publishing clients get their books edited and published. To schedule your complimentary consultation with Patrick, call or text him at (206) 310-1200. To learn more about Patrick, visit https://www.becomingabestsellingauthor.com/ or www.PatrickSnow.com.
Let’s face it; virtually everyone on earth wants to write a book, but few have the discipline to do the heavy lifting, day in and day out, to actually write the book and then go through the steps to get it in print. More and more people are using speech recognition software to speak their book. But for whatever reason, it seems like the majority of people prefer the old-fashioned way: writing it.
The word “diet” means “to do without,” so how does it apply to writing? Actually, these six options are more of a “writing plan” for authors, but that doesn’t sound as catchy as “author diet.” In writing and publishing several of my own books, and coaching more than 1,200 clients to do the same over the last twenty-five years, I have come up with six options you can choose from to get your manuscript completed and off to the editor in record time. The cool thing is, depending on your personality, you can choose any of these six because they are all effective and have been proven to work time and time again, not only for myself but also for hundreds of my clients:
- 50-Words-Per-Day Diet: This strategy is meant to trick your mind to get the momentum started. How it works is that every day, no matter what, you need to sit down and type 50 words-per-day into your manuscript (which is only 3-5 sentences). Typically, my clients laugh at me when they learn this diet because they realize just how easy it is to write only 3-5 sentences or 50 words. But the brilliance of this strategy is it is all based on momentum. See, often once you start writing, you get on a roll and the juices start flowing in your mind; as a result, you can’t stop just at 50 words. Your goal is only 50, but often you may write 150, 250, or 500 words because you can’t stop. Some days you may be very pressed for time and only write 50 words, but then you are done, whereas other days you just can’t seem to stop and you may write 5-10 times that number. The key is you cannot allow yourself to go to sleep at all at night until you have a minimum of 50 words written. By the way, I have listed this strategy first because it is not only the easiest option, but the one most of my clients select.
- First-Thing-In-the-Morning Diet: Obviously, this diet only works if you are a morning person. The goal is to pick an amount of time you can commit to writing each day. It doesn’t matter how much time; what matters is your daily consistency in execution. For example, some choose 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or even 60-90 minutes. The goal is not to pick too long of a time because you don’t want to make it too hard for yourself. Once you have your time selected, you can’t do anything else, other than using the bathroom and perhaps getting a drink of water or a cup of coffee, until your daily writing target is completed. This means no shower, cooking, eating, laundry, making the bed, running errands, cleaning your house, or anything else that will distract from getting the writing done. Depending on whatever amount of time you select, the key is to go to bed that much sooner the night before and set your alarm to awake that much earlier.
- Can’t-Go-to-Bed-Until-You-Have-Written Diet: This diet is for the night owls who like to stay up late. It is the same strategy as the morning diet, except that writing becomes the last thing you do before putting your head to sleep. So again, pick your desired writing time: 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes, and commit to executing it every day and not sleeping until your daily amount of time and writing goal is complete. I do want to caution you on this diet because often it makes your partner, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend jealous of your book and writing. If you two typically go to bed at the same time and have an evening ritual, and you then decide to do this diet instead, over time, your partner may get jealous of your book and no longer want to support it because they feel they are taking a backseat to it. I share this caution with you so you don’t hurt anyone’s feeling and because it so very important to have your partner’s support for your book.
- Golf-Scoring-Author Diet: This diet only works if you have played golf, or know how you score your play in golf. In golf, the goal is to get the ball in the hole with a certain number of strokes; doing so is “par.” If you get the ball in the hole one shot more than par, it is a “bogey.” The easy way to score it is “+1,” and conversely, if you get the ball in the hole in one fewer shoot than par, it is called a “birdie” or “-1.” So now, knowing these scoring parameters, you pick the amount of time you want to write your book per day, and in doing so, you choose 60 minutes per day to be your “par.” This means if you write your book for 60 minutes every day, then after a week, you are at “par.” But let’s say you then take a week off without writing; then your score would be seven hours behind or “+7.” And if you decided you wanted to catch back up to par the following week, you would have to write two hours every day for the next seven days to get back to “par.” The fun of this diet is you get to score/measure yourself every day; hence, writing your book becomes more of a game and less of a task. If you are already a golfer, you will love this. If you have never played, it may be easier to select one of the other diets outlined here.
- Sixth-Business-Day-of-Week-to-Write Diet: This is one of my favorites, and I have used it frequently over the years with much success. This one is for those writers who have a spouse and children and are pulled in all directions (and often do not have time to write). It’s also for those who have an arduous day job, leaving them with no time or energy to write anything during the workweek. The way this works is you leverage the sixth business day of the week. (You may be thinking there are only five business days a week.) Here is how to create a sixth business day: Every Friday and Saturday night, eliminate TV, movies, etc. and do your best to go to bed extra early, perhaps 9 p.m. or so. Then set your alarm for 4 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Wake at this time before your spouse and kids and write your manuscript from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. both days. Four hours times two days equals an extra found business day, or eight hours per week. The best part about this is, typically, once your spouse and kids awake around 8 a.m., you will be finished with your writing and can spend the rest of your weekend with your family. I used to achieve this goal by setting the stove timer in the kitchen for 7-8 hours to go off at 4 a.m. This was more effective than reaching over and turning the alarm off because it forced me to get out of bed to turn off the beeper. The key is, once you have turned it off, to be disciplined enough to go to your writing space and begin, instead of turning around and going back to bed. If successfully executed, your writing time will not interfere with your day job, work week, or family responsibilities, and it will allow you to create 32 extra found hours per month. Some weekends, for whatever reason, you won’t be able to do this both Saturday and Sunday mornings, so strive for a minimum of one morning per weekend.
- Recording-Your-Manuscript-in-One-Day Diet: This one is for the busy executive who is also a technology buff. The way to achieve this goal of getting the first draft of your manuscript done in one day is to speak your book into your recording device in your computer using voice recognition software. If you have a PC, you will want to buy Dragon Naturally Speaking. If you have a Mac, you most likely already have voice recognition software built into your computer. The key to being successful with this strategy is beforehand to spend 1-3 hours creating a world-class book outline, summarizing everything you want to communicate in your book. (Obviously, doing so is also very important if you will write rather than speak your book.) Once you have your book outlined, you won’t be rambling or repeating yourself because you won’t remember what you recorded 60-75 minutes earlier. At the same time, speaking your book from your outline will ensure you don’t leave out anything important. Once you have completed this recording option, your words will have been transcribed, and now you will have an unedited first draft of your manuscript that will need some revision, but at least your first draft is birthed, and you did it in one day. If you can speak for three hours, it will be around 250 pages, which is ideal.
More than 20 years ago, I spent 5 years and $20,000 writing and publishing my first book Creating Your Own Destiny (at 140 pages) because I didn’t know what I was doing and was not executing one of these diets. Now 11 editions later, my book is more than 300 pages. Typically, my clients invest 3-9 months and $10,000 to get their books published, and these writing diets are a big part of their manuscripts’ success. Using these diets, I successfully wrote my second book, The Affluent Entrepreneur (at 250 pages), in less than 30 days.
I challenge you to choose the best diet that fits your lifestyle and personality and get busy with execution. Remember, every day you are not published, you are losing money: losing speaking, coaching, consulting, and book sales income. So select one of these six options and get your manuscript completed in record time.