Writing Wednesdays: How I wrote a book in just a month

Last year, I finished a book that took me only a month to write - here's how I wrote it so quickly.

Sometimes writing can seem like the most daunting and impossible task in the world, and other times, it feels like the easiest of things.

It definitely felt more like the latter when I wrote one of my most recent books in just a month. (Oh, and stay tuned for a little exciting news from me later in the post...)

About the book

I started writing a new book - we'll call it Book X - in December 2017, and finished writing it exactly a month later, in January 2018. 

(And please don't think I'm only calling it Book X to not give anything about it away: I genuinely still am not completely settled on a title. My agent and I picked one between us. but I feel like it'll probably change. I'm not trying to tease you all, I promise.)

There was, of course, a whole heap of editing after that month of solid writing, which I spent a fair few evenings and weekends doing during the summer last year, but the first draft was complete and sent over to my agent within just that month.

I will say that the book is technically classed as a novella, rather than a novel - it clocks in at just over 45,000 words in the most recently edited version I have. (And novels are classed as 50,000 words or more.) But it's close enough, as far as I'm concerned, for having written it within a month.

I don't really have a title to share, like I mentioned, but what I can tell you is this:

It's a Christmas book.

OH YEAH. I WENT THERE. I WROTE A CHRISTMAS BOOK. You know I'm a sucker for all things Christmas, don't act so surprised there.

I mention it here because it's pretty relevant to the whole 'I wrote a book in a month thing': I believe the major reason I managed this was because it was so in-keeping with the whole festive season, and I am all about that. I mean, I was cleaning the shower last week and found a piece of tinsel. In the shower. I don't know how it got there and I'm not about to question it, because somehow I wasn't even surprised. 

I wrote the book I wanted to read

I've said so many times in interviews, talks, on social media, and right here on my blog that I write the kind of book I like to read

That was exactly what I did.

The December I started writing Book X, I think I must have read about a dozen Christmas-themed romances by that point already. They're one of my favourite sub-genres, so it was easy to feel inspired and motivated to write something of my own.

Giving myself a deadline

I spent several evenings or weekends wrapped up in a cosy jumper on my sofa, a festive Hallmark movie on the TV, writing avidly. I was travelling a fair bit through December, too: I had a trip to Germany and a flight back up to Newcastle, to get back to my flat in Durham after I'd been home for Christmas. Plenty of dead hours in an airport to occupy myself with some writing.

I got a good way through writing the book in just a couple of weeks - which, when I realised, made me very determined to see if I could finish it within a month.

Structure in my day is something I need, if I'm going to be productive, and it always helps me to have a deadline in mind. Giving myself a deadline helped me be a lot more dedicated to finishing that first draft.

And, admittedly, I wanted to get it finished before the Christmas spirit started to wane. 

(I say that as though I didn't sit there during the heatwave in July, the curtains shut to block out the blazing sunshine, with Love Actually playing on loop on my DVD player while I edited it furiously.)

Knowing my ending (for once)

It was hard work towards the end of the month. With that deadline looming, I was worried I'd not be in the mood enough to write - and that if I forced myself to write anyway, it'd come through in the writing. I made time in my evenings after I was back in work after Christmas to spend that last week rocketing through those last few thousand words and final chapters.

Weirdly, though, they were the easiest part of the book to write. I'd come up with the whole idea of the book based solely on how it would end, so that part of the storyline had always been clearest in my mind. I've said plenty here on my blog that I'm rubbish at plotting, and the climax of the novel isn't always something I find easy to write. This book was a refreshing change of pace!

So how did I write a book in just a month?

A whole lot of passion, a deadline, and a seasonal theme to keep me fixed on that deadline.

Do you have any advice to share on writing to a tight deadline, or a time when you wrote a book in record time? I'd love to hear in the comments, or you can Tweet me @Reekles!

PS. What do we think of the new image for Writing Wednesdays? It's only slightly refreshed - same image same colours, just shuffled round a bit to look a little brighter! Let me know your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Love your new post! I also like to know my ending first which is something I have just recently started doing!


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