My favourite month of the year is close at hand, and it might surprise you. November, or National Novel Writing Month, as it’s known to myself and many writers world wide, is the one month in the year I really indulge myself. It’s a great time to get writing, work on your fiction, OR (if you happen to be an entrepreneur) to write a business book. Using National Novel Writing Month to write a business book is the best idea you’ve ever had! Here’s why…
During November, I write.
This isn’t new, I write every month. I write every day. But in November I write for myself – whatever novel is swirling around my head, whatever story is itching to bleed out through my tapping, typing fingers, I let it. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or simply NaNo for short) is a time of blissful indulgence and mild insanity for me. Writing a full book in a single month, especially when you have a full time job to deal with, is no easy feat.
If you’re a business woman, however, it’s the perfect time to write the business book you’ve been dying to pen.
Why Write a Business Book?
That’s a blog post in itself, and one I’ve already written over on The Huffington Post, so do check that out.
Can You Write a Non-Fiction Book for NaNo?
Yes. Despite the use of ‘novel’ in the name, NaNo is a time for writing a new book, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s a work of epic Fantasy (as my NaNo projects tend to be) or a non-fiction book to help you market your business and earn some passive income.
What Exactly Is NaNo?
For the month of November, those of us inclined towards writing feverishly, spend thirty days doing our best to complete an entire book in the space of a single month.
It Sounds Like A Lot of Crazy Hard Work…Is It Worth It?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer goes something like this…
Writers all around the world come together in an incredibly supportive, creative community, both online and in real life, to write. We write our little hearts out. It’s quite a competitive environment, with many people trying to write as many words in a day as possible. It’s great fun, and also makes you insanely productive. The support of the community, the desire to WIN, the urge to hit your word count goals, and the fact you are a member of a region, which is itself competing with the rest of the world, all adds up to a lot of incentive to write. Not only do you want to do well yourself, you want your region, and your writing buddies to do well too.
It’s a very social affair and you will make a bucket load of new friends.
More than that, the writing process itself is very therapeutic. I’ve written a lot before about the benefits of writing for your mental health, and NaNo is no different. You get to spend a lot of time doing something for you.
You might be sat there thinking, “But, it’s for my business, it’s work!”, and you’re absolutely right, it is. But it’s also for you! It’s impossible to write a book and not get a great deal from it, personally, even if it is ‘just’ a business book:
- It will boost your business.
- It will boost your confidence in your abilities.
- It will allow you to add ‘author’ to your resume (and believe me, that’s a major ego trip!).
- It will introduce you to a whole world of new and interesting people you would never meet otherwise.
- It will get you out of the home office and into places filled with real people, warmth, and friendly banter, just as winter is setting in and you’re about to lose the will to live. Do not underestimate this one.
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]The benefits as an #entrepreneur of #writing a #NaNoWriMo #book are huge! Your #biz & #MentalHealth will thank you![/Tweet]
What Do You Have To Do To Win NaNoWriMo?
You need to complete a book. By ‘complete a book’ I mean finish a first draft. There is no way in hell you can write, edit, polish, and produce a full length book (fiction or non) in 30 days. Not if you want it to be good at least, and we want it to be good!
Technically speaking the only thing you have to do to ‘win’ NaNo is write 50,000 words. I know, it sounds like A LOT, but when you break it down it’s actually only 1,666 words a day. That’s the length of a decent blog post. In that sense, participating in NaNo is the equivalent of committing to writing one blog post a day, for 30 days. Except it’s so much better, because at the end of the month, instead of having 30 random blog posts, you actually have a bona fide book to play with.
There are two ways to look at NaNo: it’s either a competition to see who can write 50,000 words (or as many words as possible) in 30 days, or it’s an opportunity to make real progress on a fully fledged book.
Your goal is either to write a lot of words, or write the first draft of a book.
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]#Writing 50,000 words in 30 days sounds insane, but it’s a blog a day & you have a #book at the end of the month![/Tweet]
Why 50,000 words?
The original intention of National Novel Writing Month was to encourage people to do the latter. The 50,000 word minimum requirement for ‘winning’ was a way of defining, in a reasonable manner, what constituted a finished novel. The notion being that anything under 50K wasn’t long enough to be a full-length book. Unfortunately, this changed the nature of the beast somewhat. Many people consider their projects finished as soon as they hit 50K, regardless of whether or not they’ve finished the draft of their book. Unfortunately, many then abandon the project and never make anything of it.
This is not what you will do. You are not aiming for 50,000 words, you are aiming for a finished draft of a business book.
I advocate the use of National Novel Writing Month to do this because it’s an organised event with a community and a lot of support for you, as a writer. This is extremely important, especially to keeping going. NaNo keeps you motivated, and ensures you just get on with it. It cuts through the procrastination and faffing about. You might not need 50,000 words for your business book, but having worked with a lot of women writing books for their business, in my experience a good business book – i.e. not a collection of blog posts that have been re-purposed, but an actual book with a theme, narrative, and specific intention – takes around 40-70K.
That seems to be the average, if ‘average’ can really be applied to a thirty thousand word margin.
The reason it’s such a wide difference is because the length of your book will depend greatly on several things:
- The format – for example, a book of tips is, by nature, far fewer in words than a book structured with chapters of long prose.
- The subject – some subjects require a lot of explanation, technical details, or case studies and examples, others don’t.
- Image content – if your book is largely image based (such as a photography book), the words needed will be considerably fewer.
- Costs – the longer your book is, the more expensive it is to produce, print, and distribute. Don’t be fooled into thinking this doesn’t apply to eBooks, it does. You still have to edit, proofread, and format them – that’s all priced by the word!
- Your writing ability – you may not have the knack for saying things succinctly. You may be inclined to indulge in purple prose (flowery, elaborate language). You may really like to go on, or you might like to get the whole thing over and done with as quickly as possible.
- Your audience – some audiences require more or less words. Young children for example can’t deal with wordy books. Educations books and text books by nature require a lot more words because they are instructional. Guides and ‘How To’ books are often similarly long, for the same reason – their aim is to educate. That requires words!
Don’t be put off by the 50K goal. That’s all it is, a goal. If you don’t need 50,000 words to finish your draft, you may not technically have won NaNo, but you have still won – you finished your book! That’s a HUGE achievement!
Likewise if your book needs more words, 50K isn’t the finish line, it’s just a pit stop.
National Novel Writing Month is the perfect time to write a book for your business. There is a massive community of writers on hand and eager to help you. There is a lot of information available on the NaNo website, as well a ridiculous number of blog posts – just like this one – getting published to tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. At no other time of the year will you have as much support in writing a book as you will in November!
Just imagine yourself, sitting at your computer on December 1st, staring at the complete draft of your book, you BABY, and thinking, “Damn, I actually did it! I’m an author!”
I promise you, nothing beats that feeling. You will feel accomplished, proud, and a little astonished that you were able to do something that seemed (at one stage) impossible. You will also have a lot to show for your efforts. Writing and publishing a business book is a huge undertaking and an incredible achievement, but the hardest part is writing the first draft. Once you have that draft, everything gets easier.
So, take the rest of this month to prepare, and set your intention to write that biz book next month!
Keep an eye out for a behind the scenes video that will be coming out shortly, showing my own NaNo prep. I will also be making available to you some exclusive planners to help you prepare!