write your book fast

Write Your Book Fast: How to Write a Great Book

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien

May 8, 2024

Want to write your book fast? Whether you’re a speedy writer or a slow one, you may have decided that it’s time to write a short book in the fastest time possible. There are many reasons you might decide to write your book fast:

  • You’re tired of talking about it and want to get it done.
  • You have pages of notes and sketches but no complete manuscript.
  • Someone has challenged you to finish it by a certain time.
  • You have major commitments coming up, and you want to get the book written before they hit.
  • You want the sense of accomplishment you’ll get from finishing it.

Whatever your reason for wanting to write your book fast, it’s an attainable goal.

Figure Out Your Exact Word Count

Before you can start writing, you’ll need to know what word count you’re aiming to reach.

What do you mean by a short book?

A short book is one that’s on the shorter word length of the average novel. You might call it a novella or a novelette. In publishing terms, a novella is more like a long short story and typically runs from 8,000 to 17,000 words. A novelette is a short novel that runs from 17,500 to 40,000 words.

You can write a short book in any fiction genre. You can also author a short book that’s a memoir, biography, how-to guide, or other nonfiction book type.

Obviously, a shorter length will make it easier to write your book fast. If you can say what you need to say in fewer words, set a smaller word count as your goal.

Calculate the Time to Write Your Book Fast

A word count of 30,000 translates to about 100 printed pages.

Let’s assume you’ve settled on 15,000 to 30,000 words for your short book. How long will it take you to write that much?

Every writer works at a different pace. Some writers sit down, and words begin pouring out through their fingers. Others spend hours agonizing over the right words before they begin. You should also take your typing speed into account. Writing your first draft by hand—which many authors do—will add to the time you’ll need.

Given these factors, it’s possible to come up with an average length of time it will take to write your book.

Set Your Goals to Write Your Book Fast

To figure out how long it will take to finish your book, first, figure out how many words you can write each day.

A writer who makes a daily, dedicated effort to work can produce 1,000 words a day. That assumes you commit to a full-time writing schedule with no interruptions. For those with jobs or other responsibilities, a goal of 500 words a day is more realistic. A small goal of 250 words daily is easily attainable.

Is your book 30,000 words in length? If you can write 1,000 words a day for 30 days straight, you’ll have your book finished in a month. You probably won’t hit that goal every one of those days, so figure it will take you one to two months to finish a 30,000-word book.

At that 1,000-word daily goal, a 15,000-word book will take you less than a month to finish.

If you write 500 words a day, you will complete your 30,000-word book in about three months, and a 15,000-word book in about two months.

What If You’re Slower?

You may think “Yes! I’m going to commit to a high daily word count!” when you begin your book writing project, but life and other commitments get in the way. To give yourself a better chance of success, plan to write 250 words a day. That’s about half of a printed, single-spaced page.

If you write 250 words a day, every day that you sit down to write, it will take you around four to five months to finish a 100-page, 30,000-word book.

Write Your Book Fast with Writing Sprints

Use writing sprints to help write you book fast. To do it:

  • Set aside about 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to write your book fast.
  • Use a timer, and set it for 20 minutes.
  • Start writing. Don’t stop until the timer goes off.
  • Take a 10-minute break.
  • You can intersperse writing sprints into your writing day, or spend a few days just doing one 20-minute sprint after another.

During a good sprint, write your book fast without pausing to edit, clean up, or even correct misspellings. Don’t break the flow of your writing.

A writing sprint is a good technique for getting a lot of words onto paper, and doing it quickly. You’ll be amazed at how productive they can make you.

A Writing Schedule Will Help You Write Your Book Fast

The most successful authors rely on writing routines and writing schedules. Carve time out of your early mornings, late nights, or weekends to focus on writing.

Use the time you have available every day. If you can only carve out one hour of free time, you can probably bang out 250 words in that hour.

Here are some tips to help you write your book fast during your scheduled writing sessions.

  • Set small, attainable goals. Thinking about 15,000 or 30,000 words seems like a massive, overwhelming goal. Instead, focus on your daily word count. Don’t worry about the total. Focus on hitting that goal every day, and watch your words pile up. A commitment of five to six hours of work every week will help you write your book fast.
  • Cut out distractions. Close your office door, turn off the phone, and disable email and text alerts. Picking up the phone “just for a minute” can derail your writing for hours. Also, turn down other big work assignments or involvement in other personal projects. You don’t want other commitments to impinge on your writing time—or your energy.
  • Use X as a placeholder. If you come across a fact, like a date or number, that you can’t remember, don’t interrupt your writing to look it up. Place a large X in that spot as a reminder to look it up once you’re finished with the day’s writing. Similarly, if you don’t recall a place name, location, or other detail, mark it with an X. Once you finish the day’s allotment of words, go back and fill in all your marked X spots.
  • Focus on one writing project at a time. Many writers have several book ideas at the same time. That much creativity is great, but you must tame it. Write one book at a time. After all, if you write your book fast, you’ll be free to write your next one that much sooner.

Write Your Book Fast, and Edit Later

You can write your book fast, or you can write well, but typically, you can’t do both. Don’t let that worry you during this speedwriting phase.

Even the fastest professional writers know they must self-edit their draft at least once. When you complete your book, set it aside for a week or more. You need fresh eyes and a fresh brain when you tackle your first round of editing.

Writing fast doesn’t mean you should overlook rules of grammar, word use, and punctuation. Save them for the end, but make sure you clean them up. Don’t let writing fast be your excuse for a messy, unprofessional manuscript.

Famous Authors Who Could Write Fast

While many famous books took years to write, some authors were able to write their book fast and produce best-selling or critically acclaimed books. Here’s how long these authors said they took to complete their best-known works.

  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac: 20 days
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner: 6 weeks
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle: 3 weeks
  • The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins: 3 weeks
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: 6 weeks (he also self-published it)
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark: 4 weeks
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: 3 weeks
  • Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: 4 weeks
  • The Maigret mysteries by Georges Simenon: 11 days for each book
  • The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky: 26 days (and he wrote it while also penning Crime and Punishment)
  • King’s Solomon’s Mines by Rider Haggard: 6 weeks
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: 6 days

Get That Book Written

At Publishing Xpress, we specialize in working with all self-published writers. Once you’ve authored your book—at any speed—talk to us about affordable printing.

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