I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I’ve spoken with who say they want to write a book. They often ask how ‘quickly’ they can get it finished and how ‘easy’ is it to get published.

These people have incredible stories and they know that by sharing their words, they will make a difference in the world.

For me, it’s not about how ‘quickly’ the book can be written and it’s definitely not about how ‘easy it is to get published.

There are adverts popping up every day with formulas, secrets and strategies that ‘promise’ a publisher will beg you for your book. That’s a whole other rant but the only ‘secret’ to getting published is to do your research, write something worth publishing and then pitch, pitch and pitch some more.

Let me get back to the ‘speed’ of writing a book. I have said this hundreds of times, but nobody has ever written a positive review of a book saying ‘this was written in a weekend.’ It takes time. It should take time because your reader deserves the best that you can offer them.

One of the mantras at my running club is that we need to ‘slow down in order to speed up.’ Have you ever decided to start running, bought the gear and then gone out, all guns blazing, only to collapse in a heap at the end of the road? Slowing down, enjoying the fact you’re outside and respecting your body’s energy systems means that it’s much easier to make progress, remain injury-free and return home feeling super-proud of yourself. That, in turn, leaves you wanting more and eagerly planning your next run.

Writing is, usually, a less sweaty version of this. Slow down. Take the time you need to create a writing habit and close your notebook (I’m old school when it comes to book planning), excited to return to it the following day. Trying to bang out 5000 unplanned words because you have to write the book in a weekend is not conducive to creativity. Your reader deserves better.

To get started and maintain your motivation, I have a couple of tips for you. The priority isn’t speed, it’s doing your best for your reader and enjoying the process:

Decide on your mission for *this* book:

If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?

What is the ONE message that you are going to focus on for this book?

The aim isn’t to write down everything you know; the aim is to share something of value. Usually, there’s more than one book

Your reader:

Who will be changed by this mission and message?

Create an avatar of your reader. Grab your notebook, make yourself a drink and get to know them. Your reader is the priority.

If you want to be creative, you can write a letter to yourself from your reader. Imagine this is the letter they write to you, thanking you for sharing your story.

As long as you know who you’re writing for, you can write in a way that draws them into your words. That’s how you make a difference to them.

What next?

Once you’re clear on your mission and who you’re writing for, it’s all about the planning. It’s much easier to spend time planning what your reader needs to understand from your book and how you’re going to share that message than to sit with a blank page and start with all of the ideas swimming around your brain.

Identify the most important messages you need your reader to receive, how to share them and the order in which they need to read them. That’s the start of your structure.

Scheduling in some time each week, or better still each day, to work on this will build the momentum in a way that motivates you, because it’s fun!

Writing a book does take time, so it makes sense to me that it needs to be enjoyable and the sooner you start, the better. After all, how is your current plan to write your book working out for you?!