Being Realistic and Flexible [more lessons on writing a book]

Did you read my blog seven weeks ago?  It was about how I failed to finish my end-all be-all how to get a job in a creative industry book.  I wrote about how I failed, learned from it and was moving on.  My goal was to have the first published copy of my NEW BOOK in my hands by Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.  Seven weeks to write a book….

I promised to keep you updated.  So, do I have the first published copy of my new book in my hands this week?

:::drum roll please:::

No.

Have I failed (again)?

No.

While I didn’t hit my initial (and uninformed) deadline, the first published copy of my book will be in my hands in a matter of weeks.  I will achieve my desired outcome.  What’s important in reaching my goal is to be flexible with extending my timeline to a more realistic date and to keep pushing my progress.  Here’s what happened:

At around week three of writing I realized that not only was my printed book going to be 75-100 pages but also what my writing speed was.  If I were to finish my book in time to give the printer time to approve the proof, print it and deliver it to my door by the last day of September, then I would have to spend 54 hours a week on my book.  That’s 54 hours on top of my regular workweek coaching and consulting advertising creatives.  That’s laughable!  Coming from someone who has worked 90-hour weeks in the advertising world, I know better than to do that to myself again.

I have no problem admitting that I set an unrealistic goal for myself.  Sure, it sucks to have set my expectations (and possibly your expectations) so high and fallen short.  Let’s be honest, I didn’t know what a realistic goal would look like in this case.  I’ve heard of people taking 30 days to write their book and people taking three years to write their book.  What I’ve found is how long your book takes to write depends on the type of book (e.g., a novel, book of tips, workbook, instruction manual, short stories, etc.), how many hours a week you can crank out quality words and the rate at which you write – and that’s after you’ve organized the content.

For me, I’ve found that I can write for two hours before my eyes and my brain start to lose focus.  Looking at my calendar, you’d see five two-hour blocks of time scheduled throughout the week.  If I write more than two hours, great.  If I write more than five days a week, awesome.  As a creative person, I need that rhythm with its rest breaks.  And now I know what is realistic and still ambitious for me to complete my book.

Think about this: If I hadn’t have set my initial goal for my published book so high, would I have gotten as much done?  Seven weeks in, would I have made this much progress?

In seven weeks, here is what I have accomplished on the way to publishing my first book for creative people:

  1. Organized the content of the book using 57 Post-Its and the back of a door in my office (It’s an evolving work of art.)
  2. Sent the first portion of my book to my editors
  3. Decided on a working title
  4. Revised the timeline twice
  5. Created a preliminary marketing outline
  6. Secured two blogs to promote my book to their more than 50,000 followers
  7. Written 66 pages!

You may be wondering what my revised-and-much-more-realistic timing goal is…  My printed book will be in my hands the first week of December.  It may even be in your hands in December. *wink*

To give you an idea of what that means- my writing needs to be complete within the next 3.5 weeks in order to provide the editors and printer enough time to do their parts.  This timeline accounts for holidays and time I’m away for a conference.  It will be a push to hit this updated goal but it’s realistic this time.

From start to finish, I will have organized, written, edited & had edited, proofed, printed and marketed one heck of a book in 16 weeks.  I can hardly wait to share it with you!

I’ll keep you posted.

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