In this week’s episode of The Law Practice Doctor, Sam Gaylord interviews Morgan McDonald, who is the founder of Paper Raven Books. Morgan is a writing coach and non-fiction editor, who helps writers get clear, take action, find their message, put it on the page, and shape their words so they resonate. Morgan has coached many entrepreneurs publish everything from e-books to full-length manuscripts, and during this episode talks about the benefits of being an author, mindset, the mechanics of writing, common issues, systems of writing, and finishing the first draft.
Main Questions Asked:
- How does one get past the mindset of ‘how am I going to write a book?’
- What are the first steps and the mechanics of writing a book?
- What are the common issues when someone starts writing a book?
- What is the purpose for having written a book?
Key Lessons Learned:
Benefits of Being An Author
- Writing a book isn’t necessarily about the money. It’s about the leverage to get clients, lead generation, speaking invitations, professional connections, business opportunities, and being seen as an expert.
- Writing a book will add a level of prestige, and people will turn to you and ask for your expertise.
- It doesn’t take years to write a book but rather a season of your life.
- We can make time for anything that is important, but we have to convince ourselves that it is important enough.
- Create a ‘why’ statement.
- Write out in 3-5 sentences how it can change your life and the reader’s life.
- The sooner you write your book, the sooner you will feel the positive effects.
- Look two weeks in advance in your calendar and ‘chunk’ out writing time.
- Once your writing time is scheduled in the calendar, it’s ‘real.’
Mechanics of Writing
- Start to use a timer whenever you write. This is key in getting quick focus.
- The Pomodoro Technique of productivity is about working on one task for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break before continuing with another 25-minute chunk of time.
- Track your writing progress in an Excel sheet and share the results with an accountability partner.
- On your Excel sheet, track the time, day of the week, and number of words you write in each session.
- Aim for 25 minutes of writing a day when starting out, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done.
- By the time you get to the boiling point where you are ready to start writing, you have already done a lot of thinking, reading, and research, so you’re ready to start the first draft.
- Once you start working on your book, spend the first week ‘free writing.’
- The best way to do this is to start your timer and write as fast as you can without hitting backspace and re-reading what you write.
- Free writing allows all the thoughts that have been percolating to get out on the page.
- You’ll start to see the patterns emerge from your free writing that will go into the first draft.
- People are unsure in how long it takes to write a book.
- The reason some authors take years to write a book is because they aren’t writing every day.
- If you write every day, you can turn out 3-5,000 words per week.
- In 5 weeks, you’d have a 25,000 word e-book.
- In 10-20 weeks, you have a full-length 60,000 word manuscript.
- Another common problem is understanding the best writing routine. People wait for inspiration, but that doesn’t always hit, so you have to set up time to let inspiration come to you.
System of Writing & Finishing the First Draft
- Follow one focus until success.
- Choose two devices at most to write on.
- Select a primary and back-up writing times.
- When you sit to write, turn off your phone and shut off the internet.
- People have a difficult time finishing the first draft, but you don’t have to use the perfect words. It’s just about getting the thoughts in your head written in order.
- The best way to finish your book is to get accountability. This can be through a person or via social media.
- You don’t have to make progress every day, but you do have to make progress on a weekly basis.
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Links to Resources Mentioned
The Slight Edge (book)
SpeakWrite (mobile app)
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