How I Wrote a Book in 70 Days…

This is the face of someone who has just handed in their latest book to their editor – a book they wrote in just 70 days!

Whaaaa??? How? Why?

I’ll go into the details of why I had to write a book in 70 days in another blogpost so for now let’s concentrate on the how!

When I was first told of this ridiculous deadline my initial reaction was “I’ll never do that, there’s no point in trying.” But then the competitive side of me kicked in. “Maybe you can’t do it, but it wouldn’t hurt to try would it?”

Now as you know I work full time so I have a limited amount of time that I can dedicate to writing. My first drafts are usually somewhere in the region of 70,000 words so somehow I had to find time to write 1,000 words a day – fairly easily done at the weekends but what about Monday to Friday?

Morning Person or Night Owl?

I have to admit I’m not really either. I’m certainly not someone who could get up at 5am and get their words for the day done before breakfast (I salute all of you that do this). Equally I’m usually exhausted by the end of the day too so I decided that my 1,000 words a day would have to happen at lunchtime. My lunchtimes are usually spent going for a walk and/or mooching about the shops spending too much money on stuff I don’t need. When you take on a new challenge it’s pretty inevitable that, for the length of that challenge you have to give something up. I wasn’t willing to give up my yoga practice and I don’t watch much TV as it is….but my lunchtime walks/spending sprees? Yes, I could give those up for 70 days.

Every lunchtime I wrote my 1000 words. Sometimes they were good words, sometimes they were not so good. But gradually over time they grew into what might be a book.

Caveat: I’m a planner when it comes to writing books. I know what will happen when and I (mostly) know how I will get my characters from A to B to Y to Z. I do not think I could have taken on this challenge if I hadn’t already planned the book out quiet meticulously. If you write books without plans I’m in awe. If you write them without plans in three months or less you are my hero.

Then I was given the gift of time.

At the beginning of March my work told me that I had five days of holiday I had to take before the end of the month. I took a week off and wrote 4,000 words each day. Then two weeks later the UK went into lockdown and I had to start doing my job from home (which I love, they are going to have to drag me kicking and screaming back into that office when this is over). This gave me the gift of 1.5 extra hours a day that I usually spend commuting to write my book.

And on Thursday 10 April I wrote THE END.

I have no idea if I would have met my goal without that week off and without that extra 1.5 hours a day for the last couple of weeks. I’d like to think I’d have done it anyway.

Maybe I’ll try again and see!

Posted in Blog.