I hope you all enjoyed Halloween, I certainly did. November is now upon us and already today I’ve been busy clacking away at my keyboard and scratching in my grimoire (by which I mean a leather-bound notebook I’m currently using for a novel I’m working on. It’s purple, and very cool, if you missed it in last week’s Halloween Special check out the photos here).
What I’ll Be Up To This November…
Why the sudden writing frenzy? In my world November is National Novel Writing Month. A whole month in the year dedicated to the creation of a novel, or any book. It’s the perfect time to get the book you’ve been dying to write written, and this year I’ve taken on a double challenge: I’ll be finishing my current novel, AND working on my new business book.
Why am I doing both? Well for one thing having two things to work on lets me hop back and forth between subjects. It rests my brain. It keeps me from getting too lost in my fictional world and forgetting how to function.
On a more practical level, I’ve really been struggling to find time to finish writing my next biz book, The Tao of Corporate Storytelling, and NaNo is the perfect kick up the arse. I don’t want to sacrifice writing my novel to do it, so I must do both!
What YOU Should Be Up To This November…
The good news is, you don’t have to write two books this month BUT I would REALLY LOVE IT if you would take the time to write a book for your business. There are many reasons to do this, check out my blog on The Huffington Post which explains all the great reasons for writing a biz book, and this post that I wrote a few weeks ago explaining how to incorporate a biz book into your marketing strategy.
Still not convinced? Take a look at your favourite business gurus, and see how many have their own book(s).
It’s the way forward.
But how exactly do you write a business book? If you missed it, check out my post on Using National Novel Writing Month to Write That Business Book. I did a quick behind the scenes look at my own planning for NaNo. In it, I show you a non-fiction book planner and a day planner for National Novel Writing Month that will keep you on track. These will help you outline your new business book so you know exactly what you’ll be writing and when. You can download them both for free here.
Armed with this killer array of content on exactly how and why you should be writing a business book this November, I expect you to do what everyone does in their first year participating in NaNo: panic, then slowly go insane…
The panic sets in when you recognise the enormity of what you’re about to attempt.
The insanity comes as you dive in, realise you LOVE IT, and find yourself giving up food, sleep, socialising, and basic brain function in order to pour yourself into a book.
But not just any old book. THE BOOK.
The book you’ve been toying with writing for ages, the book you know goes perfectly with your business, the book you can see yourself handing out at networking events, and ‘accidentally’ leaving on your coffee table when important people come over…
Are You Up For A Challenge?
I am always up for a challenge (as evidenced by the fact I’m attempting not one but two projects this year). The question is, are you?
The thing with NaNo is, if you write 1667 words a day, you WILL win. You will get to the end of the month and find a 50K manuscript sitting on your desk. It might be a mess, it might not be finished, but it’s the big huge first step towards having a bona fide book for your business and calling yourself an AUTHOR.
Not a writer.
I have to tell you, that looks damn fine on your business card or bio.
It feels GOOOOOD.
So here’s your challenge – TRY.
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]#NaNoWriMo is ludicrously popular because it WORKS – you start afraid of your pen, you end an author with a #book![/Tweet]
How To Write A Business Book, National Novel Writing Month Style!
Head over to the National Novel Writing Month website. Set up an account. Set up a book, and don’t be put off by the fact they call it a novel – it’s for non-fiction writers too! They couldn’t call it National Novel and Non-Fiction Book Writing Month, the name was already so long the acronym (NaNoWriMo) needs an acronym (NaNo)!
Name Your Baby
Give your book a name – you can change it whenever you want, but giving it a name will make it real. It will start to take shape in your head.
Write 1667 Words
Start writing. Even if you haven’t planned your book yet, you already have the beginnings of an idea. Write it down. Maybe you know the opening. Maybe you have part of a chapter written in your head. Maybe there’s a blog post you wrote a while back that made you think, “Damn, that would make a great chapter for a book if I just expanded it a bit…”
1667 words isn’t a lot. It sounds like a lot, but it’s less than the average length of my blog posts.
Do It Your Way
In NaNo there are three types of writers: planners, pantsers, and plantsers.
Planners are like me at the start of November. They like to have a solid plan, a detailed outline of where there book is going, what their chapters will be about. They know what their themes are, which resources they’ll need, they’ve usually already done a ton of research. At the very least, they have an outline. I strongly recommend this approach for business books because biz book need to have a purpose. You are writing them for a reason – to promote your business – so it’s good to have a plan of attack, to ensure you stay on topic and actually write a book that will achieve your objective. IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE PLANNING, MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD MY FREE PLANNERS!
Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants. They have no plan, no idea what they’re going to write about, they don’t do much (if any) prep. They simply sit down on November 1st and start writing. This is a surprisingly effective method, and while my OCD won’t allow me to try it myself, I know a lot of writers who love it.
Plantsers are somewhere between the two, and usually what I end up doing somewhere around the middle of the month onward (at least with fiction). Planters basically start out with a plan, but either don’t have a complete plan, or find themselves deviating from it. In fiction this is usually because characters have minds of their own and tend to wander off in unexpected directions. Some authors don’t like this, and stick to their plans no matter what. Others (like me) just go with it. I couldn’t keep my characters under control if my life depended on it! So if the idea of sticking to a plan does really appeal, but you feel you need some idea where you’re headed, this is the way forward.
It’s Really Just Like Blogging…
If it helps, don’t think of it as writing a book, think of it as writing one blog post every day for thirty days. If you’ve ever done the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, you already know you can do this! All you need to do is make sure each of those posts is RELATED. That’s the difference between a book and a blog. It has cohesion, a narrative, a beginning, middle, and an end. If it’s a business book it’s usually designed to teach or explain something. Be specific in what you choose to write on. What’s your zone of genius? What’s the one thing you do best?
Write about that.
Write thirty blog posts about that, each on at least 1667 words long.
At the end of the month you’ll have a business book. Granted it will need editing (it will, no getting around that, sorry!) but it will be there. A real life book, that you wrote.
Many a NaNo books have gone on to be an international bestseller (Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and every book in Marissa Meyer’s phenomenal Lunar Chronicles series to name a few). This is a seriously powerful method of writing, don’t under estimate it.
And don’t chicken out!
I’ve successfully written three full novels during National Novel Writing Month, plus two novellas and several short stories that I wrote during the summer camps.