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Are you Ready to Write a Nonfiction Book in a Month?
Nina Amir - Nonfiction Writing, Blogging, Publishing Consultant Nina Amir - Nonfiction Writing, Blogging, Publishing Consultant
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Los Gatos, CA
Wednesday, October 14, 2020


how to write a book in 30 days (nonfiction)

It is possible to write a nonfiction book in a month. However, taking on a 30-day writing challenge requires preparation. And that preparation is what ensures your success. Today, Jay Artale (@BirdsOAFpress), a digital nomad and full-time writer and blogger, offers her best tips for the “training” period before a month-long nonfiction writing sprint.

If youre planning to write a nonfiction book in a month, you cant just turn up on day one and expect to be ready for the challenge. Writing a book in an accelerated timeframe is like running a sprint. You wouldnt show up at the starting line of a race without a period of training and limbering up first, so why would you show up unprepared for a writing sprint?

The lead-up to a 30-day writing event, like the Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, aka National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), is a training period. Use that time to get yourself in the right head-space and establish a habit that will maintain your momentum.

This training period is where you can allow yourself to fail. The only way to find out what daily writing approach works with your daily schedule is through a process of elimination. Theres no room in a sprint for trial and error; thats what your training period is for.

When I tried my first NaNoWriMo event, I was wholly unprepared and gave up on the challenge by the end of the first week. The next year I did a bit of planning but still didnt see the challenge through to the end. Earlier this year, I wrote my first draft of a nonfiction book in a month, and I just self-published it.

What made the difference? My preparation.

Develop a Writing Habit

To meet your nonfiction writing challenge goals, youre going to have to write every day. If you miss a day, that increases the pressure to perform on successive days. For example, if youre planning on writing a 30,000-word first draft within 30 days, your target is 1,000 words a day, but your daily target increases as soon as you miss a day. If you miss too many days, that target will seem unachievable, and youll give up.

how to develop a writing habitCommon wisdom says it takes 21 days to create a new habit (some studies say it takes much longer). That means your training period needs to start at least three weeks before youre due to start your writing sprint. You dont have to begin by writing 1,000 words a day—you can work up to it over the training period.

Or just use this time to establish a daily writing habit. Simply, write for the same amount of time every day.

Making Time to Write

During this run-up to your writing sprint, you can write anything. Its not important what you write; you must get words onto a page and train your writing muscles to perform consistently. You also want to develop the mindset and identity that you are someone who writes daily.

Do you know what time of day youre most productive? Experiment by writing at different times and see which works best for you. I love getting up earlier than usual and starting my day with a writing session. That way, nothing competes for my time, and Im not trying to juggle other tasks to make room to write.

Before I abandoned my corporate career, I used to write in the cracks of life: A quick writing session before work, half of my lunch hour, stay at work late, squeeze in a writing session while making tea, type on my phone in the coffee or supermarket queue, or swap my gym workout for a power walk around the building while using my voice to text to capture my content.

Discover Your Distractions

Its easy to find an excuse not to write. There are multiple opportunities throughout the day to write. Still, its much less effort to jump onto Facebook or scroll through pretty pictures on Instagram.

By doing trial-and-error experimentation before your writing sprint starts, you can pinpoint your distractions and the time of day when youll write successfully. Then block out that time in your calendar.

Dont obsess about what to write or meeting a daily word count target during this training stage. Just focus on creating a consistent writing habit. This new habit will serve you well when it comes time to write your nonfiction book in a month.

Know What to Write

During this training period, you also want to locate the starting line and determine how to know when you’ve crossed the finish line. For these two things, you need a content map, which will keep you on track.

Writing nonfiction takes planning. You need to know your books topic and your content goals. Plus, you need to know your target audience. The more planning you do before your 30-day sprint, the better prepared youll be, and the easier it will become to meet your daily word-count target.

Theres nothing more demoralizing to a writer than facing a blank page and having no idea what to write. And doing that often during a 30-day writing sprint is a sure way to fail.

Your Book-in-a-Month Success Plan

However, if you plan out the content for your book’s chapters before you start your sprint, you can use these as your roadmap. Consider these plans a guide, not immovable or set-in-stone.

As you write, other ideas and topics will spring to mind, and you have the flexibility to incorporate new ideas into your project and even cut topics that become irrelevant. But you need to start out with a plan, or else youll waste precious time wandering in the creative wilderness. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, to write a nonfiction book in 30 days.

Create a Book Outline

Before I begin a new nonfiction project, I always identify the needs of my target audience. What do they need to know? What fears are they trying to overcome? What goals do they have? What problem are they trying to solve?

WNN Guide to writing a book in 30 daysThen I create a book outline that leads them to where they want to go. At a minimum, the first draft of my book outline is a series of chapter headings. More often than not, it also includes a jumble of sub-headings for topics I know I need to cover.

Writing a block of content is much less overwhelming than writing a book. Once I have my chapter headings and sub-headings identified, I use these as my prompts during writing sessions. I dont have to write them in order, so if the next topic on my list doesnt inspire me, I pick one further down that does.

I like this approach because Im cherry-picking the topics that inspire me the most, which helps keep my momentum going. When its time to circle back to the topics Ive skipped, Im so far into the sprint Im less likely to abandon my writing challenge. Ive invested so much time and effort into it that I become determined to finish.

Use your writing time during the 30-day sprint to commit words to a page. Roll the organization and content structuring tasks into the editing phase that follows. But a good plan will make this final step easy.

Overcoming Procrastination or Writers Block

Just because youve set a writing schedule and know what you need to write doesnt mean your success is guaranteed. Even with the best plan in the world, youll need willpower and motivation to nudge you into the writing zone and help you cross the finish line.

There are a few different techniques you can use to increase your motivation to write. I’ve successfully used meditation to increase my word count and freewriting to clear my writers block.

It took me a couple of misstarts to complete my first nonfiction book during a 30-day sprint. If youve tried this approach and failed, dont let that discourage you from trying again. This time, success is within your grasp if you put in the training before the race.

Are you ready to start your writing sprint this November? Let us know whats standing in your way of writing your nonfiction book in a month. We’ll respond to your comment with our best tips! And, if you found this article inspiring, please share it with your social networks.

About the Author

Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.

Nonfiction Writers UniversityDo you want to learn more about becoming a nonfiction author? Check out the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Get the basic education you need and the coaching to help you succeed as a nonfiction writer. Take advantage of monthly live educational and group coaching events. Enjoy a 30-day trial membership for only $1.

Do you want a more advanced approach to your nonfiction writing education? Join the Nonfiction Writers’ University MASTERS program. Receive ongoing live Certified High Performance Coaching, Author Training, and Authorprenuership Training as well as monthly educational and group coaching events. Learn all the steps to becoming a successful—and profitable—author. Discover how (finally) to write consistently, boldly, enthusiastically, and productively. Develop the mindsets, strategies, habits of the world’s most successful writers. Click here to learn more.

Photo courtesy of romsvetnik.

Nina Amir, the bestselling author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, is a speaker, a blogger, and an author, book, blog-to-book, and high-performance coach. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she helps creative people combine their passion and purpose so they move from idea to inspired action and positively and meaningfully impact the world as writers, bloggers, authorpreneurs, and blogpreneurs. Some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, National Book Blogging Month, and the Nonfiction Writers’ University. As a hybrid author she has published 19 books and had as many as four books on the Amazon Top 100 list at the same time. Her most recent book is called Creative Visualization for Writers, and tomorrow her 19th book will be released, The Write Nonfiction NOW! Guide to Creativity and Flow. Find all her books at booksbyninaamir.com or find out more about her at ninaamir.com.

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Dateline: Los Gatos, CA United States
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