You spend your week working a full-time job, taking care of your kids, making sure dinner’s on the table every night and somehow managing to stay on top of the piles of laundry and dishes that seem to never end. You’re good at what you do, but you know in your heart that what you would really like to do is make a living as an author. Most people who have this dream start small, writing on the side, or on the weekends. Once they start writing on the weekends, some novice writers will toy with the idea of writing an entire book in one weekend. While this might sound like a wonderful way to get your book out to the publishers quickly, there are a number of reasons why you should take your time when writing your next book.
Reason # 1: Research Takes Time
If you are writing a work of fiction, especially one with an entire world and characters that you create, it’s essential that the reader can relate to them in some fashion. In other words, they must have a sense of realism about them. This realism comes from inserting ideas, facts, geographical descriptions, even hair and eye color that people can recognize. It takes research to get the facts and details correct, and research takes time. For most authors, the process of researching a single book can last anywhere from a week to two or three months or even years! I don’t know of any author who can do the minimum amount of research necessary to provide a complete and accurate picture of a world, and write it all down in one weekend.
For non-fiction, much of the time research is still necessary, especially if you are giving references to your readers or making sure you have your dates and times for events correct. By making sure you do your research right, your book will become a go-to resource for your target audience and showcase you as the expert in your niche.
Reason # 2: Revision Time is a Necessity.
Nearly every editor will tell you that the majority of books they receive are in need of a great deal of editing, either for grammatical mistakes, content, or voice. In truth, the majority of books you see on the market today were not written in one weekend, but rather over months and years. It is collaboration between the author’s ideas and words, and the editor’s expertise and experience. This time of revision and collaboration could never be successful if rushed through a weekend.
There are times, of course, when an author will chose to self-publish his or her book, and forego the use of an editor. One may think that if the editor is not utilized, the time used for editing is no longer needed. Unfortunately, this simply is not true. In my experience, for every hour that is spent writing, at least 15 minutes is needed for the revision process. So, if a writer would work for eight solid hours, he or she would have to add at least two more hours onto their day to revise their work. Add to that fatigue, the need for breaks, to eat, to deal with the everyday life of your weekend, and the weekend can become even more exhausting than the workweek.
Reason # 3: Making the Writing Your Own
For many novice authors, the idea of writing a book in a weekend seems doable because all the information they want to write about is already out there in the form of blogs, web pages, other books, etcetera. After all, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The idea that an author can quickly transform what has already been written or recorded into something their own in a short 48-hour period is a very dangerous one. For starters, authors who make a practice of re-hashing information quickly in a weekend run the risk of committing plagiarism. Whether they do it intentionally or not, the result is the same. If they’re using their own information, writers often have fragmented text where chapters don’t seem to resolve and the book does not flow properly. This leads to a very poor product and the reputation of the author will be that of one not willing to do what it takes to get their book done right.
Instead of trying to quickly recycle old information or ideas, take the information and ideas you’ve learned and use them to highlight, prove or empower your new writing. Incorporating and crediting the ideas and concepts you have learned with your own ideas takes time. Rushing through this process leads to mistakes in accreditation, misunderstood concepts and perhaps even a misrepresentation of the ideas you’re trying to convey.
Now, all that being said, I wrote a book called Financial Survival: A Lifestyle of Freedom in three and a half days. I had all my research books and notes with me, no distractions, and did nothing but write during that time. I got everything down on paper, but was it publishable? If I had published what I wrote, would I have been proud of it? Absolutely not! During the next six weeks, my writing coach and I (every coach needs a coach) took my manuscript line by line and ripped it apart. The result is a book I was proud to publish.
Writing during a weekend is a great way to get started on your new book, whether it’s fantasy, historical fact or a book to bring you business. However, in order to produce a quality book you can be proud of putting your name on the cover, it’s essential to take the time and allow the process of writing, revision and re-writing to work. By learning to take the time necessary, you’ll see that a book written in a weekend wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.
Kristen Eckstein is a highly sought-after publishing authority, two time best-selling author and award winning international speaker who has started 45 publishing companies and published 133 books and eBooks. She is founder of the “I am Published!” Ghost Publishing program, the Self-Publish On Demand training program and the “21 Ways” book series.