February 28, 2024

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK IN 40 DAYS

Your Blueprint for Success

By Carmen Greger

At one time or another, many of us have dreamed of writing a book. Yet, for most, the thought of penning an entire manuscript in a short timeframe seems nothing short of daunting. If you’ve ever contemplated such a challenge, we invite you to consider this: many great works of literature were crafted in mere weeks. Think of it as a marathon – challenging, yet imminently achievable. And if you show up with clarity, purpose, and strategy, your dream of write a book in 40 days can indeed become a reality.

“The first draft of anything is just you telling yourself the story.” Ernest Hemingway

Understanding the Power of 40 Days

In many cultures, the number 40 holds deep symbolic meaning, often representing a period of trial, testing, or transformation. It’s an ample span, long enough to form habits and see tangible progress, yet short enough to feel urgent and manageable.

  • Sylvia Plath is said to have written “The Bell Jar” in a mere month.
  • John Boyne, author of “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,” crafted his masterpiece in just seven days.

What sets such authors apart isn’t merely talent but their tenacity, discipline, and an undying belief in their message.

Map Your Journey

To pen a book in 40 days, preparation is essential. Before embarking on your journey, envision the finish line.

  • Day 1-5: Brainstorming and Outlining. As J.K. Rowling once said, “I always have a basic plot outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write.” In these first few days, allow yourself to dream. Identify the central message, plot points, and structure.
  • Day 6-35: The Main Draft. Aim for a minimum of 1,500-2,000 words daily. This consistency will get you a manuscript of 45,000 to 60,000 words – a typical novel length. Remember the words of Stephen King: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
  • Day 36-39: Review and Revise. Perfection isn’t the goal here; clarity is. Let your words breathe, then refine.
  • Day 40: Completion and Celebration. By now, you have a full draft. Celebrate this milestone, knowing refinement and publishing are the next steps.

Align Actions with Intentions

Your book is a manifestation of your intention. Allow that intention to guide every word. By aligning your actions with your deepest intentions, you’ll channel a message your readers need to hear. As you embark on this venture, consider the words of Muriel Rukeyser: “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Your story, unique and profound, is what the universe craves.

Show Up for Your Dream

Consistency is crucial. Setting a fixed time to write every day creates a ritual. This sacred time, even if just for an hour, becomes a beacon, pulling forth words and ideas from the depths of your mind.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

Writing is a dance between creation and critique. While critical analysis is vital, don’t let it paralyze your progress. Many get stuck trying to perfect every sentence in the first draft. This isn’t the stage for perfection; it’s the stage for creation. Editing will come later.

Your Readers Await Your Unique Voice

Your readers don’t just need any story—they need your story. They’re waiting for the insights, emotions, and perspectives that only you can provide. Believe that your message has a destined audience.

“Each person has a literature inside them.” Anna Deavere Smith

Writing a book in 40 days is a remarkable journey, a blend of discipline, passion, and strategy. But remember, at its heart, writing is a profound act of sharing—a gift to your readers and to yourself.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Louis L’Amour

Let this be your clarion call. Embrace the challenge. Turn on the faucet, and let the words flow. Your story awaits. Let’s get started:

Crafting Your Book: A Deeper Dive into Structure, Strategy, and Self-Care

Writing a book is much more than just penning down words—it’s a holistic experience. A successful journey requires not just creativity, but consistency, strategy, and self-care. Here’s a comprehensive overview of what you need to consider:

1. Commitment and Consistency:

Same Time, Same Place: Like any commitment, writing thrives on routine. Select a dedicated time and place for writing. This ritual conditions your brain to get into a creative flow at the same time each day, making the process more intuitive and less forced.

Set A Daily Word Count: Aim for a minimum of 1,500 words daily. It’s substantial enough to make progress but not so daunting that you’ll feel overwhelmed. Remember: “Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” Ayn Rand

Daily Revisits: Scan the Outline you created on day 1 daily, and notice how it has both evolved and stayed on point, yet likely has rearranged itself at least to some degree. Some authors like to title all of their chapters based on focal story points for use as an outline before writing even a single word, some writers feel called to put the main ideas on sticky notes or full sheets of paper so they can be reorganized spontaneously and visually, as the book-in-the-making requests. Do what works for you and honor the process.

2. Environment Matters:

Peaceful and Inspiring Surroundings: The ambience of your writing space affects your productivity. Choose a space that feels inviting and free from distractions. Personalize it with inspiring quotes, art, or anything that ignites your creativity.

Limit Distractions: A crucial factor is minimizing interruptions. Turn off social media notifications. Consider apps like “Freedom” or “Focus@Will” to limit distractions and enhance concentration. A clean workspace can also minimize mental clutter.

3. Self-Belief and Vulnerability:

Believe in Yourself: Before you can convince readers of your story, you must believe in it yourself. Writing requires a blend of courage, vulnerability, and conviction. Embrace the process, trusting that your unique voice holds value.

Accept Imperfections: Your first draft is not about perfection, but progress. Let go of the notion that every sentence must be flawless from the outset. As Jodi Picoult wisely said, You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

4. Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Well-being:

Sleep: A rested mind is a productive mind. Ensure you get 7-8 hours of sleep, refreshing and preparing your brain for another day of creative output.

Exercise and Fresh Air: Physical activity is not just good for the body, but the mind too. A brisk walk, a short workout, or simply some stretches can enhance creativity and focus.

Healthy Nutrition: What you eat affects your cognitive functions. Consume a balanced diet, hydrate adequately, and consider foods known to boost brain health, like nuts, berries, and fatty fish.

5. Commit to the Process:

Honor Your Commitment: Treat your writing time as sacred. If you’ve allocated two hours for writing, honor that commitment. Over time, this builds discipline and integrity towards your craft.

Embrace Vulnerability: Understand that writing is a deeply personal act. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change,” notes Brené Brown. By allowing yourself to be vulnerable on paper, you invite authenticity into your work.

Seek Critique: Invite a trusted friend, fellow-writer or mentor to offer an honest critique of a handful of pages; this could be a lightbulb moment and inspire a new or deeper insight for readers yet to come, were you not to share excerpts prior to print.

6. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize:

While it’s important to be present in the process, don’t lose sight of the larger goal. Envision your book on shelves, imagine readers engrossed in your words, and use this as motivation.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” -Neil Gaiman

Your journey to write a book in 40 days is indeed challenging, but with commitment, strategy, and self-belief, it’s well within your grasp. Embrace the challenge, trust the process, and let your story come alive. Your readers await.