An aspiring author recently called me to explore writing coaching to help him write his book. He wondered about hiring a ghostwriter. Generally, Im all about writing your book yourself. Ive met too many people whove hired ghostwriters and been disappointed.
And most relatively smart people can develop an engaging (or even compelling) style and find their authentic voice as a writer by learning a few important skills with the help of a writing coach or editor. The only reasons to hire a ghostwriter is if youve gotten solid expert help and you still cant write or you just dont have the time.
This person didnt have much time. His question was critical. Could he find the time to write his book?
It can take years to write a book and I know people whove written books in a matter of weeks. In my book writing classes, some students have a first draft within eight or ten weeks. Some never finish at all; others can take months to write their book.
Writing a book as quickly as eight weeks assumes that either you dont need to do much research for the book, or you write your first draft without doing much research and then you do the research afterward (or have someone else do some of the research for you).
Youll write faster (and youll write a better book) if you spend time before the writing to clarify your goals in writing a book, the audience or market for the book, the book concept, including features, tone, how the book fits in with whats currently out there, and the outline of your book.
How fast you write a book also depends on how much time you commit per week. However, just because you devote yourself full time to writing doesnt mean youll have your book any sooner than someone who has a full time job. Sometimes the people with demanding jobs are the best at making the most of the 30 or 90 minutes a day they devote to writing a book.
While I cant tell you how long it will take you to write your book, I do know that those who consistently make writing appointments in their calendars and hold themselves to it (often with the support of a writing buddy, book coach or a book writing class) can often predict, after a few weeks, how soon theyll have a first draft.
This proud author wrote his book in record time. And he swears he didn’t hire a ghostwriter.
If youre wondering how long it will take to write a book, I suggest you spend time to clarify the market and book concept, outline the book and then write for two to three weeks. Be consistent about your weekly commitment and see how much you accomplish in that time. At that point you should be able to project how long it will take you to complete writing your book.
If, in that time, you get little accomplished, youll also realize its a good idea to reach out for more help in whatever form works best for youwriting buddy, writing group at a local library, a book writing class, an editor or a writing coach.
Just get started and your answer will become clearer. And, at some point, youll know exactly how long it takes to write your bookyoull be holding that book in your hands.