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The title of the article says it all. I wrote a manuscript of a novel in less than a year. “People do way better than that all the time,” you say. “In fact, some authors write full length novels in a month.”
The thing is, I am not a full time author. Actually, I did not write regularly after I published my first novel.
Here is how I wrote the manuscript in less than a year.
1. I chose an idea to write about. I had many ideas, some of which I wrote down. But I had to choose one. The final idea was inspired by the stories my grandmothers told me.
2. I set a goal. My overall goal was to write a first draft of the novel in one year. I broke that goal down into smaller goals. I challenged myself to write at least one page a day. Writing a page a day meant that I would attain my goal. It seemed easy and doable. Why? I did not plan to write 365 pages!
3. I wrote an outline. Outlining the story was easy. I wrote down in a notebook any idea that crossed my mind. Eventually, I organized those ideas into a chapter by chapter breakdown to form an outline for the novel.
4. I established a schedule. I decided to write for one hour every day, at least five days a week. It did not matter at what time I wrote, so long as I wrote.
5. I used a notebook. Yes, pen and paper! I pulled out my notebook whenever I got an idea. I knew that I could not rely on memory to write down my ideas later when I sat down at the hour designated for writing.
6. I wrote a first draft. The name says it all: first draft. Anything and everything went into the first draft. I wrote the story bit by bit without editing until I got a substantial chunk of copy that was even incoherent in some areas.
7. I followed my schedule. I made sure that I wrote every day. What made writing even easier was that I had bits of first draft copy. On days when I lacked motivation—yes, there were days when I did not want to write—I edited sections of the first draft.
8. I was accountable. I told family and friends that I was writing a manuscript for a second novel. I also announced it on social media a few months down the road. Then I told myself, “You’ve got to finish what you started!”
9. I read about the writing journeys of other authors. This helped for inspiration but it also reminded me that I was not alone; other authors face similar problems, including writer’s block.
10. I took time off. I took two weeks off to think about other things and to relax. When I resumed writing, I felt fresh and ready to complete the project.
I am planning to publish my second novel in the first quarter of 2017. Please like my page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for updates.