There are some hacks for writing and self-publishing when you work full-time.
But Jo, I want to write a book and I don’t know where to begin!!!
Get a small notebook, and take it Everywhere. Yes, even to the bathroom! Number 1-35 in the book, you do actually have to number it otherwise you won’t do this.
Give yourself 2 weeks MAX. Write down a sentence or ideas on every line of your notebook until you reach 35.
Each one of those 35 lines will become a scene, 2k words long. Congratulations’, you’ve just started planning a novel!
You may not need to do this once you’ve written more books, but always keep a notebook with you. You’ll be amazed at how and where ideas pop into your mind…
Let’s look at writing sprints. After that, I’ll go through some things that help and some daily rituals.
With sprints, you set the clock for 25 minutes and you write solidly for the 25 minutes. After that, get up walk around or save your writing and go to work.
But to make sprints work you need to know before-hand what you are going to write, so planning is massively helpful.
For my first book I panstered, that is wrote by the seat of my pants letting the story unfold as I typed. Of course, I had an idea in my head but nothing was written down.
For this and other reasons it took years! Now I can write a book in 6-8 weeks but with a plan!
I might stop in the story re-evaluate the plan, change it.
Plotting/ planning, here’s some useful ideas for you:
Scenes: each scene will be roughly 2k words and you’ll have 35 to make a book, maybe more this is just a guide. I wrote these tips below from watching Chris Fox’s video, I can’t remember which video its from but you’d do well to follow Chris. And check out his books too.
For each scene ask yourself?
1 Pick your point of view?
2 Who has the most to lose?
3 What is the setting like?
4 What are some good sensory details?
5 How can I further raise the tension?
Good resources on plotting.
https://www.blog.yourfirst10kreaders.com/how-to-write-a-novel-in-30-days/ Story Engine by Joe Nassise free tutorial. I use this one and include the info points above.
Morning Writing Rituals…
So getting up half an hour earlier knowing before-hand what you’re going to write and just do it. At first when you sprint it may be crap, it’ll feel weird and you might only get 200-400 words down and they might not be good words. But stick with it! Within a week you’ll improve and will be able to do 700+ of good words, now that’s over a 1000 a day if you do it twice.
I get up at 4:30/ 5AM and I know, yuk right. I use an ancient iPad and spend a few minutes looking over what I’m going to write. I write 25 minutes before I leave to drive to the station and do another 700 ish words on the train.
I used Google Docs so I can also write on my large phone if I’m sardined on the train, and headphones to drown out the chatter/ coughing.
So by the time I get to my job I’ve hit maybe 700, maybe 1500 words, but even if I’ve only done 500 words, I’ve done something for me. And I can tell you, that feels good.
I’ll do the same at lunch and on the train commute on the way home.
What’s helped me?
Morning and Bedtime Personal Rituals and things that Help!
Lumie! Oh my God, getting up so early in winter in the UK is no joke at all. I invested in a mid-range Lumie clock (and no this is not an affiliate link) so that before I wake up, light is produced gently into my bedroom with birdsong helping my body to maintain some semblance of balance to its circadian rhythm. It is a wad of cash, but why make getting up in the dark for months a battle. I also set the heating to come on half an hour before, life isn’t meant to be a struggle and by now you need this!
Before I leave my bed, in my drowsy state I plan roughly the day ahead, feeling it going well and achieving everything easily. This takes 5 minutes- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSl5y1VJl2c
Why this works is because during the drowsy state, your brain waves are in Alpha/ Theta state- the same as meditating. But be sure to feel the outcome in your belly and see the result you want from after having achieved it through your own eyes- i.e. not seeing your body in your imagination.
Now you’re up and moving! I sometimes dip into the 30-breath exercise by Wim Hof, I don’t do the cold showers. Be sure to read the information properly, there are contraindications but this can help immensely to focus your mind and get your body feeling amazing. And do it way before you drive! I do this an hour before leaving the house, just before a shower.
You may annoy co-workers by doing all of the above because you’ve programmed your day, boosted your immune system and written some of your novel.
Info on Morning Rituals.
The State Akin to Sleep takes 5 minutes, the Wim Hof exercise takes 5 mins, these are life hacks.
Remember at first you may feel a battle within yourself doing this, it’s the same if you had a small child and told that child he had to go to bed an hour earlier every night now. The first few nights would be a struggle but after that it gets easier.
Do the PM session State Akin to Sleep too, to revise your day and include the feeling of waking up refreshed and awake.
Visualisation doesn’t work…but it feels nice.
Feeling it Real (SATS) does work.
If you see your body in your imagination that’s weird, but if you see yourself from your own eyes it’s a grounded belly feeling.
It starts in the Head with a Thought, then moves to your Heart producing a Feeling then settles in your Belly- Ease/ Grounded. (Twenty Twenty-18” Adventure.)
You want to catch the feeling of already having achieved what you want, don’t think of the wish, think From it!
This isn’t to make it happen by force it’s to get used to the feeling of having already succeeded.
Don’t look for signs, just get on with your life and have fun. What happens next you could never predict anyway, and you don’t want to! That’s the fun bit.
See- Help for Authorpreneurs on my website - for more info and btw I’m not affiliated with any of this, though Twenty is my coach, I don’t get paid or anything for recommending him. It’s just what he teaches works. I spent years doing stuff that didn’t work!
If you have any questions or want to contact me, I answer all my emails from readers and writers alike. Maybe you’ve found some good hacks you’d like to share?
And finally, Good Facebook groups to join for writers.
See you on the other side x
urban fantasy author