As independent writers, we have the liberty to write at our pace. After all, writing a novel is a long and carefully calculated process; some of the best authors take years to pull out their best books. Sometimes, you may come across a situation that forces you to put in a little extra effort and try to get the novel done in a shorter period. Let’s say you have only a month’s time to complete the said novel, you may think this is a ridiculously short period, but the reality is that if you put your heart and soul into completing the novel, you should get it done on the dot. A lot of authors, both established and budding, enjoy the challenge of speed writing as it gives them the chance to flex their creative muscles. If you are up for the challenge, prep yourself with these tips on how to write a novel in 30 days.
Make a plan
No matter the time you have to write your novel, everything starts with a plan. In this scenario, you must create a to-do list and a strategy that will help you write and finish the novel in 30 days. Here are a couple of things you could try out when setting up a strategy.
- The size of your novel: You’ve got 30 days, so it’s clearly a bad idea to think about writing a big novel. Keep the size of your novel short (preferably between 150-200 pages). When writing, it is best to split your novel into chapters early on, and also make sure you’ve got the characters and plot line figured out in advance. All these elements help construct the skeleton of your novel, which will ultimately be easier to write once you begin.
- Story type: Picking a theme for your novel is a crucial part of the strategy. Since you are working with a time constraint, it is best to stick to your comfort zone. Choose a genre that you are fairly familiar with and don’t have much trouble writing; this should save you some time and effort. Worst case scenario? Go for the horror genre, as writing horror novels are easier than other genres; you simply have to jot down your worst fears and develop a plot around them.
- Per day word limit: No matter what you are writing and how many pages you have decided to write, nothing will work out as planned if you don’t set the most important goal of all — a commitment to writing on a daily basis. Think about the scenario; you’ve got just 30 days, so wasting even a minute of a day could lead to an incomplete novel. You don’t have to spend all day with a pen in your hand. Instead, work with a time frame; set a writing goal of 2000 words or hourly goals of five to six hours of dedicated writing. If you stick to your writing plans, you may even finish before you hit the 30th day mark.
- Seize the day: As we said earlier, every minute counts — and to get the most out of the time you have you need to prepare yourself mentally. Wake up every morning with a positive mindset and tell yourself that you are a great writer and today is going to be a great day. When you start positive, you will get more inspired to write.
- Go distraction free: Distractions hinder the creative flow and can result in you not achieving the set targets for your novel. The best thing to do is to isolate yourself from all possible distractions when the creative clock strikes.
Use writing tools
Technology is a wonderful thing, and as a writer you must know how best to use the technology on offer to enhance your writing experience. You can make a quick work of your novel if you utilize certain tools that take care of essentials like line spacing/paragraph spacing, text alignment and sentence case/grammar correction.
- MS Word: The holy grail of all writing tools available today, MS Word will set right all the nitty-gritty of writing for you in a flash. With MS Word you can adjust the layouts, check your word count and even do a little editing and grammar checking on the fly. The constant updates Microsoft puts into their dedicated software only helps you further. Pick MS Word as your trusty tool to start things off.
- Evernote: Evernote is a paid tool, and if you are willing to splash a little cash, you will get your money’s worth. The expansive writing and editing features this tool offers are unmatched and very professional. You can even download the Evernote app on your phone, and use it whenever an idea for your novel strikes while on the go.
- Grammarly– Grammarly is a handy editing tool to purchase and download on your phone and desktop. Since you’re writing with a strict timeline errors are unavoidable. Grammarly will save you the trouble of a poorly edited finished novel with its many sentence and grammar suggestions.
These tools should help you complete the 30-day challenge, but if you are working on a more serious novel with a larger time frame, check out our extensive list of the best tools for authors:
Yes you are on a tight leash, and every minute counts when you’ve a 30-day deadline; but all creative people know that the best ideas come when they aren’t in front of their creative tools. There are many ways you can amp up your creative juices, and doing this is especially important because you need all the creative ideas possible to get your novel done within the timeline. Here are a couple of things you must try.
- Reward yourself: Stuck to your plans? Finished the set target of your word count for the day? Hooray yourself! A little reward given by you for you makes a world of difference. Maybe you could go and catch up on the latest movie or binge-watch a TV show with some comfort food; anything you do to catch a breather will refresh your mind and restart those nerves that pump ideas from your brain to your fingertips.
- Step out: Taking off on a retreat is essential for every writer. If you feel like you need a whole other perspective for your novel, use some spare time during your weekends to take short trips to any place of your choice. If you have no particular place in mind, simply step out of your home and take a long walk around the neighborhood. Stretching your legs is essential, as all the creative nerve endings begin from the soles of your feet.
- Hang out with peers: Two creative minds are better than one, so if you’ve got the opportunity to co-write your novel with a friend, take it. Group discussions often lead to the most ingenious story ideas, and one of the best places to have a long discussion is a book café. Also make sure to enroll yourself into a book club, as a reader’s perspective is one of the best viewpoints for a writer.
- Exercise: Exercising is, in no particular sense, a relaxing experience, but it does give your creative juice a massive adrenaline rush. Since you are working against time, keep your exercise routine short and mentally focused. Also, do any form of physical exercise in the peak hours of the morning; this will give you ample time and energy to pull more creative words out of your head.
- Read: The golden rule of building great writing skills and the first thing any aspiring writer should do is read. The greatest of authors know that creative ideas aren’t something you can invent; it’s something you need to borrow and eventually convert into something original. When you read, you develop better ideas that can be applied to all the elements that go into your novel. Here are some must read books to improve your writing.
Enroll yourself in writing competitions
If you are still feeling demotivated to write and require a little push, take up a writing challenge. One of the best 30-day writing challenges is the National Novel Writing Month (popularly known as NaNoWriMo). This challenge occurs every year during the month of November and encourages writers to write any content within the 30 days of November. Once you set up an account, you can track your writing progress on your personal profile. Writers who publish their novels in the given time are rewarded with unique gifts.
Are you ready to take up the 30-day challenge? Once your book is complete, do contact Notion Press, a reputed self-publishing agency that will help you transform from regular writer to international best-selling author.