This Quick Exercise Proves You Can Write a Book
Do you want to be an author?
If you write for Medium, chances are you’ve dreamed of publishing a book someday. I know I have. This morning I remembered that “someday” comes and goes pretty quickly. Our dream will wither and die on the vine if we don’t figure it out, pronto.
Knowledge is power and inspiration.
If we knew for a fact that we could write a novel beginning to end, we would get it done. What holds us back is the unknowns. We need to eliminate the unknown to make our dreams real.
Medium only showed you this article because The-All-Seeing-Eye of the Algorithm knows that you are an aspiring writer. You almost certainly have published material sitting on your account. Or maybe you’re the type that fears the publish button and you have dozens of files saved on your computer.
That material is proof that you could write a whole book beginning to end in a known period of time.
Do this quick exercise with me.
Open up everything you’ve written in the past month and copy-paste the contents into this website: https://wordcounter.net/
I’m doing it right now. If you want to be a real stickler about it, don’t count any quotations or your copy-pasted article footers.
Ok, have your total? Hold your breath.
The average word-count of a published novel is approximately 95,000 words.
That number may feel impossibly high, but it isn’t. Divide 95,000 by your word count for this month. Top off the word count if you like since April isn’t over yet.
You now know how long it would take you to write the first draft of a novel at your current rate.
This April (so far,) I have written 15,400 words by writing for at least 2 hours every day. If I quit Medium right now and only worked on my book, I would have the first draft in my hands within 6 months.
You can get even more precise if you divide your word total by the estimated number of hours you spend writing this month. I seem to produce a piddly 300 words per hour — when I’m writing for Medium.
Publishing on Medium sucks time away for formatting, image searches, tag research, etc. We probably produce more words per hour when we only have to think about the writing, but I’ll stick with the 300 number.
Now divide 95,000 by your words per hour.
I need 316 hours to produce the first draft of a novel. That’s 6 hours per week. 1 hour per day if I take one day off. Do this math for yourself. Knowledge is power and inspiration.
I don’t have to quit Medium and put all my eggs in one basket. If I split my writing time between Medium and a novel, I’ll be done with my first draft in a year.
Now that I know how quickly I could write a book, I want it even sooner.
A year is a whole lot sooner than “someday” but still a long way off! Six months appeals to my impatient nature. Is it possible I can bootstrap the process by finding an extra hour to write on “novel” days?
I’m not sure. But knowing that every additional hour I invest shaves down that 316 hour total gives me a serious kick in the pants.
Instead of a novel being an ethereal goal trapped in the eternal void of “someday,” this is something I could accomplish within my lifetime. Within a year!
I’m going to write down “316 hours” on a page in my writing notebook. Every time I invest an hour into my book, I’ll add a tally. It may take longer than a year, but my progress will be tracked and visible. I’ll know where I’m headed.
I’m going to chip away at this thing like a prison escape tunnel, and you can too.
Thanks for reading. For more articles like this, follow me on Medium, or sign up for my mailing list.
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