Write A Book In A Day

Peter E Taylor ©2003

Please print this article.

When visiting schools I have found that children believe that all authors sit for weeks and weeks, often years, working on their latest masterpiece.

Certainly some books do take a long time to complete, but there are many that can be written in a day. Some of these quickly written books may be suitable to be published, but not all books have to end up in bookshops. We write because we enjoy it …well …most of the time. If the words cease to flow on the trilogy of novels you're working on, take a break and write something short for fun, for profit or as a gift.

Here are some ideas :

· Retell an old story in modern or simple words suitable for a picture book - for example an Aesop's Fable or a Bible story, or retell it in slang or a regional dialect.

· Write a short non-fiction book for children or adults - 'Flowers and Folklore', 'Chemical Names, Formulae and Equations', 'How to Render a Brick Wall', 'How to Photograph Ferns'. If you're handy with a camera, and plan your topic, you need very few words to accompany, for example, a collection of photographs of 'Fences with Style'.

· You may find that by asking, shopkeepers would love you to write a short book for them that they could give or sell to their customers, and maybe all you would have to do would be to interview them with a portable tape recorder - 'How to Choose the Glue You Really Need', 'Looking After Your Violet Plant', 'Ten Greetings Card Designs Using Sequins' …

· Many short books are valuable to add to the family archive - 'Our First Car', 'Holiday in Hell', 'When Sam Went to Grandma's', 'My Father's Workshop', 'The McIvors that Lived Next Door'. Little books of anecdotes and descriptions like these could easily be written in a day and be bound simply and singly. They may also become useful character or setting reminders, or stimulation or bases for other books you write. Similarly, if you need a special gift for someone, a small book of recollections of times shared could be the answer - holidays, sports-field incidents, mischief made… . Most libraries hold books on simple bookbinding methods, and you will find instructions for a simple 'Single-section Binding' amongst the 'Illustration Techniques'.

· A story spontaneously made up for a child at bedtime could become a successful publishable story. Write down what your child has enjoyed. It can take several re-writes and edits over an extended period for even the simplest story to be considered 'finished' - picture books are not as easy as many think, but the first draft may only take a very short time to write.

· Simple bound books can also be used to win competitions. An example could be, in a competition asking why you want to win a xxxx brand camera, you write your answer as a poem and bind it as a book shaped like the camera you want to win. You'll find more ideas for 'How To Win Competions' in the excerpt from my book in the 'Books In Progress' section.

· There are a large number of information ebooks available on the web, from people's own websites. If you haven't done so already, consider writing one. I paid $20 for one book which was only 4 pages long, and then most of what it contained was irrelevant self-promotion. Yours, of course, and hopefully mine, will be far better value, but what I'm trying to get across is that they do not have to be long.

I hope I have given you a few ideas and shown you that writing a book in a day is possible.

There are a lot of short books published for adults and for children. Just think how long it takes to read some of them. Not long at all.

Though you may feel self-conscious at first, instead of writing, you could try telling your story, or describing your technique, using a tape recorder. The secret is to imagine that you're talking to a friend - you don't re-record and edit as you go along, you just keep talking. Editing can be done after you have transcribed it. You will find that you have the making of a significant book after only an hour's recording, and if you could keep talking for a day …well, after it's been typed up, you could have a very substantial volume.

Happy writing!

Please tell me about what you write and achieve in a day …or longer.