Can You Write a Book in a Month?

Do you think you could draft a book in about 30 days? Two authors say you can, and I plan to find out how effective each of their methods are.

I'm currently in the process of reviewing Karen S. Wiesner's First Draft In 30 Days and Victoria Lynn Schmidt's Book in a Month. When I finish reading and evaluating each, I'll be posting head-to-head reviews here.

After reviewing each book, I'm also planning to put each process to the test personally. I've been itching to work on a fictional project, and had been trying to come up with something that had series potential first. A friend recently inspired me on that front, so I have a general idea which will keep the stories at least vaguely similar (which I think will help to make it a more effective test).

I've outlined a novel in the past using The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing. That outline and related work is shelved (and has been for a few years) until I decide whether or not to pursue it further. I have a feeling from first quickly looking through these two books that I'd consider the finished project more of an outline than really writing a book or draft as the titles suggest, but we'll see. I'm interested to see how they compare to the Marshall Plan when it comes to keeping me motivated to finish (I spent about 3 months I think on that outline, working almost entirely during lunch hours at an old job, so I definitely think with some more daily time, you can outline a book in a month... as for a "draft," I'm not sure yet).

I'm curious to know if any of you have used either of these books yet, and what your own feedback is - or, if you've written and published a novel (or even nonfiction book), what some of your own tips would be for staying motivated and hammering out that first draft or detailed outline.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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4 thoughts on “Can You Write a Book in a Month?”

  1. I’m currently working on a book (on top of my regular freelance duties) and I should have the first draft done soon. I’ve been working on it for about 3 or 4 weeks now. If I didn’t have my other work to do, I probably could have finished the first draft a lot sooner than that. This is non-fiction, by the way.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience Michael. 🙂

    I’d actually be really interested, when I get a chance, to see if there are books or systems suggested specifically for non-fiction drafts. These two books I’m reviewing now both deal with novels. So if anyone can recommend a resource for non-fiction authors, please do. 🙂

  3. I’m interested in your review of both of these books. I’m going to go ahead and purchase the “Book in 30 days” to try it myself. I too have the Marshal Plan book, and workbook but I just haven’t been able to start it. Not sure why.

    I recently bought a book titled “Damn! Why didn’t I write that?”. by Marc MacCutcheon. He writes several non-fiction books each year.

    It may just be the book you’re looking for as a guide to writing a non-fiction book, but it makes no pretense on the amount of days it would take.

  4. Thanks for the reference JP. I’ve added it to my “books to buy” list. 🙂

    The Marshall Plan was incredibly easy for me to work with once I got started. I don’t think everyone would fall into the structure as easily though (something true of all of these types of books I imagine).

    As for the review post on both, it’s coming soon (next week with any luck). I’d purchased the one up front, and checked First Draft in 30 Days out from the library while I waited on it to be shipped. I finally received the copy of that one too, so now I just need to spend some time marking it up to take some notes before reviewing. lol

    And with any luck I’ll start putting them to use in June – that’s the plan anyway. 🙂


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