You’ve decided to write a book. Congratulations! Now you have to go from blank page to completed manuscript. When we build a non-fiction book project plan, I give my clients a daily word count goal. If they achieve that goal, they’ll complete their first draft in the timeframe we have planned. It sounds great but writing to a quota and writing every day is one of the hardest skills for new writers to acquire. Here are five tricks that will help build your writing muscle and create momentum.

1. Schedule an accountability event:The authors I work with plan to self-publish. They don’t have a publishing house deadline looming over them and forcing them to finish their manuscript. Instead, they create their own accountability by picking a date that they plan to launch their book and announcing it publicly to their mailing list and social media. Going public with your publication date gives you a deadline that you won’t want to miss.

2. Write out of sequence: I recommend using a mind map instead of a traditional outline when planning the book’s content. During each writing session, you pick one or more of your mind map topics and create the content. If you get tired of the section before your writing time is up for the day, simply jump to another topic. Worry about chapter sequencing after you get the bulk of the content out of your head and into your writing tool

3. Track your daily word count: Count the number of words you write each day. Reflect on the time of day, the day of the week, and the amount of time that you spent writing. Use that to calculate the average number of words you write each day.  You may find that you write more words on certain days of the week or at certain times of the day.

4. Develop a writing ritual: Based on your findings in number three above, figure out the time of day, and the location that is most conducive to your productivity. That might be listening to music on your headphones to block out distractions or going to a library for peace and quiet. You may find that brewing your favorite cup of tea or coffee will put you in the mood to write. I like to write as my first task of the day before I get caught up in other priorities. Some people find it easier to write in the evening after everyone else is asleep.

5. Make daily writing a priority: Schedule your writing session on your calendar and keep it sacred. Treat it as you would a meeting with your best client. If you consistently keep those appointments with yourself, before you know it, you’ll have your manuscript completed!

Linda Griffin
Linda Griffin

Linda Griffin is the author of the book, Maximum Occupancy: How Smart Innkeepers put heads in beds in every season and the founder of She is currently working on her second book, Book Smarts: The ninety day guide to writing and self-publishing for busy professionals.

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