How To Write Your Book in a Month

I’m taking a 6-week course called, Book In a Month. I’m not trying to write the entire first draft during the class. I’m shooting for about half a book in a month. Kinda ruins the title of the class, doesn’t it?

Your reaction might be, “Don’t you just write x number of words per day, and after x number of days, you’re done? Why do you need a class for that?”

Because I’m weak willed, that’s why! I need someone to hold me accountable to a word count or else I’ll make the lame excuses all writers make:

“I have writer’s block” or “I don’t have any inspiration or motivation today” or “I found a really good TV show!”

It would be hilarious if I pulled that crap with my boss.

“Ben, where’s the report? It’s due today.”

“I know you told me to write the report, but I didn’t get it done because I have writer’s block, I don’t have any inspiration, and I found a really good TV show!”

Is writing your novel less important than a work project? If your boss would be infuriated with a reply like that… are you mad if you don’t meet your deadline because you have writer’s block?

I’m definitely guilty of it.

We don’t need inspiration to write. We need deadlines and accountability.


I believe that vulnerability is powerful.

So I’m going to be open with you. The first week of class, I set my week-long goal to be 10,000 words. And when I wrote 3,500 words that week, I realized it was much more difficult than I thought.

Yes, my life outside of work has been pretty busy lately, and I can easily make excuses for why I missed my goal. Instead of making excuses, I realigned my goals to be more realistic given other obligations I have.

So I assigned myself 7,000 words for last week. So far, I’ve written about 4,000 words and it’s due tonight at 6pm.

This week I’ll change my goal to 5,000 words. Yes, there are a ton of writers who are way faster than me. But that’s fine. There’s a girl I follow on Twitter who said once she wrote 18,000 words in a day. While I am not striving to become that, I would like to write 1,500 words a day comfortably in the midst of a tight schedule.

I just need to find a consistent pace that’s still challenging and sustainable.


That was a lot of word-count numbers you just threw out. Calm down!

Not many other writers have been open with me about their struggles of the craft. That’s one of the things that sets this blog apart. Because you can find the top 10 tricks for any aspect of writing virtually anywhere on the web, but rarely can you find someone being open about what’s really difficult, and what they’re struggling with.

I hope you find it encouraging to hear that someone else also struggles to hit deadlines. At the same time I will never say, “Oh, you missed your deadline? Me too, let’s feel sorry for each other!”

I say, “Hey, you’re human. It happens to me too. Now pick yourself up and don’t accept missing deadlines and breaking promises to yourself as normal, kick some ass!”


I want to have my cake and eat it too.

Do you ever feel weird saying no to social outings? And when they ask you what you have going on, you feel like it’s insulting to tell them you’re writing your novel?

“I can’t hang out tonight, I have a deadline.”

“Oh, you’re working tonight? Your boss is demanding!”

“Well, it’s just a deadline I set up for myself… It’s the book I’m writing.”

Then there’s the second-too-long-pause. “Ohh, so you’re writing instead of hanging out with me? Friendship over.”

At least that’s how I imagine someone reacting if I say no so I can write, as if sticking to my deadline isn’t serious.

As if it’s okay to flake on your promises to appease others.


I’m reading this blog so you can kick my butt! I’m ready for the butt-kicking!

What’s your writing goal this week? (Mine is 5,000 words)

What distraction are you going to remove from your everyday life? (Mine is Netflix)

Who is going to keep you accountable? (My friend Avery. He doesn’t know that yet)

What are the consequences if you miss your deadline? (I pay Avery money and publicly declare on social media that I slacked off and missed my goal)


Tell me your answers in the comments below. I’d love to be part of your success this week!


  1. Um, it’s not okay to use that excuse with your boss? Uh-oh. I better stop that.

    I’m right with you…in the struggle to find time around a day job (and The Bachelorette) to write.

    Ok, seriously. My goal this week: to write a guest post, to submit two calendar listings for a client, to give feedback on a fellow writer’s short story. Wait, none of those are even touching my fiction writing. Ok, my goal this week: spend 15 minutes a day rewriting my short story. Starting tomorrow.

    • bdschmitt

      July 20, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Hahaha! My show is Friends – rewatching it on Netflix. And almost done with it.

      Who is going to keep you accountable to those goals, and what are the consequences if you don’t complete them?

      • No one kept me accountable, and I did not complete them. Well, I completed all of the goals except the one where I work on my short story. Funny, I’m able to complete writing projects required by other people. Hmm.

        Thank God The Bachelorette ends tonight! What a colossal waste of time I’ve spent watching. Ye gads.

        • bdschmitt

          July 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm

          Good job for completing all your other goals, though! You set the bar high for yourself!

  2. Wait…”6-week course called, Book In a Month”

    Is this really a thing?

  3. I actually wrote half of my second novel in a month (and I’ve since stalled big time). I don’t know how I pulled that off. Now I have to get to work finishing after taking a break for a week. I usually set a goal of 5,000 words per week. I tend to be fairly good with not getting caught up in Netflix binging when I have an actual goal, although I’ll watch an episode of something during lunch. I see it as a competition to reach word count goals, and so far, I’ve always made it. My boyfriend helps with that, cause I’ll keep him tuned into my progress.
    I’m gonna try and hit at least 50,000 words with novel two by the time novel one is back to me after being in the hands of a very capable freelance editor (mid-August). I try and just write, no matter what. There will always be time to go back and turn the shitty first draft into something better. That’s where I get caught up, wanting the first writing to be the “perfect” one. I can’t be the only one that does that, right?

    • bdschmitt

      July 20, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Hi Laura – I can totally relate to wanting to have a perfect first draft. This week I’ve begun to accept more and more that it will never happen. Although I’ve known that, I’m starting to be okay with it.

      Good for you, that’s impressive to get half your novel done in a month! What’s held you back lately from writing at that pace?

      • I think I just needed a mental break. I love writing, but I needed to live in my own head for a bit before going back to my characters world. That and I’m moving out of state in three months, there’s starting to be a lot more planning for that.

        • bdschmitt

          July 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm

          Did you say the break has only been a week or so? That’s not bad. Breaks are healthy.

          I’d encourage you to set a date on the calendar to begin writing again or else it will be easy to let it slide in the midst of life happening, especially in the moving process.

          • About a week break yeah, and I’m already back to work on the novel. Just have to remember to keep plugging along at it when things start getting really crazy in a month or so. 🙂

            • bdschmitt

              July 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm

              In busy seasons like that, I tend to lessen my word count to around 250 or 500 words a day, just enough to stay active, but nothing that will wear me out if I’m focusing 90% of my energy on something like moving.

              • I’ll have to weigh my incredibly stubborn nature against the practicality of finishing a novel while moving to a different state. lol.

                • bdschmitt

                  July 20, 2015 at 12:19 pm

                  It’s usually a better place to be than on the apathetic side of the spectrum. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself out in the process =)

  4. I wrote my first book in 21 days. A book in a month is doable. I have faith you can do this. Let us know how it is progressing.

  5. My goal now is about 2500 words a day. With that speed I can finish my current first draft in 31th of July. I have nobody to help me, so I just push myself, because if I fail, it will be just an endless story. I try to finish this draft for many months and i am really determined to do it in time now. I have many distractive things: work, family, TV, books, but I am stil able to resist. Wish good luck to you too!

    • bdschmitt

      July 20, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Taecelle, that’s a great goal! Willpower is a depleting source – so if you spend a half an our resisting the desire to watch TV, then it will be more difficult for your to will yourself to hit your word count. The book “willpower” is great, and goes into the psychology of decision making, but it helps your goals to remove any potential distractions.

  6. I wrote the first draft of my novel in a month and have spent the last nine months agonizing over various drafts and revisions… lesson learned – just because I *can* do it that fast doesn’t mean I should. For me, it makes editing a nightmare. For others, it might work just fine.

    • bdschmitt

      July 22, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Kaylin – that’s a good point. It works for some, but can make editing much more difficult. Did you have a story structure planned before you started, or did you just wing it?

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