We all have twenty four hours in a day, 365 days in a year. And in theory, how we spend that time is entirely up to us.
In practice? Not so much! I bet you find that most of those hours are filled in for you. We have childcare, and work, and food prep, and bill paying, and housework, and yard work, and myriad other tasks that eat up bits and bites of that precious time, until there is very little left.
And so most would-be novelists never write their books, because they "don't have time". They simply cannot figure out how to add anything else in. Many of us have trouble finding the time to brush our teeth more than once a day - fitting in a novel, too? It looks too big. Looms too large. It's a mountain of a task, and there seems to be no way to confront something that will chew up that many hours in the small bits of time we have available.
In this newly enhanced second edition of a bestselling book, we'll address that lack of time, and we're also going to look at the novel as a set of smaller bites. By the time you are done, you will have all the tools you need to finish your novel - to fit that important work into your already busy life. With about twice the content of the first edition, the new Coffee Break Novelist is filled with tips on making your passion into reality!
✓ Are you tired of not having the time to accomplish your dream of writing a novel?
✓ Have you written a book before, but it took forever, and you don't know how you'll ever finish the next one?
This book is for you!
"This book focuses on how to write in the little time you have daily, and I love it for that because that's what I find myself doing a lot of times. I like that he mentioned various ways to pull off such feats, such as including voice recognition and using programs on your phone. That was pretty neat."– Reader review
"My $.02? Doesn't matter who you are, or how good at this game you are. There's value here."– Reader review
"McLaughlin takes the time to show you how it's done. So many actionable bits in this book, it'll keep you learning – and improving – for ages!"– Reader review
Who Is This Book For?
Originally this book was aimed at people who had limited time to write. That's still the primary focus: finding time to write in the middle of a busy life. When I first wrote this book, I was working crazy hours and managing a family. Finding time to write was hard! I wanted to help other writers get over the hurdle of not having time to write, so I created this book.
What I discovered over the process of writing this second edition was that I learned a lot from re-reading the book. I'd forgotten - or at least, wasn't putting into regular practice - many of the tips I'd laid out in the first edition. I decided to work my way through all the steps and write down that process for you.
As a result this new edition is geared toward a wider variety of writers. It's still going to be incredibly useful for the newer writer who is trying to scratch out a few hours a week to get words down.
But it also has a lot of information that even a full-time writer (or someone who's getting close to going full-time) can learn from. Those process chapters will help you bring your game up to the next level, whatever your current level might be.
Why A Second Edition?
Why a new edition? That's a question I asked myself, often. I've wondered if this was something really worth doing. I've thought a lot about what I might have to say that other writers would want to listen to. After all, there are a lot of books about writing out there. One more voice in all the noise is just more noise…isn't it?
But for some reason, writers come to me asking for advice. I guess it stands to reason. I mean, I've made all the mistakes. Well, darned near all of them, anyway. I wrote across genres. I put out short serials right when they were dying out. I listened to the popcorn kittens and dropped a series that was still performing so that I could go follow something new and shiny. I used mediocre covers. I can go on here, but you get the idea. If someone wanted to read a book about mistakes in indie publishing, I'd probably be the right author.
I've also learned a lot from all of those errors. Along the way, I've begun having more and more writers listen to me when I speak. I'm an admin and post regularly to one community of over forty thousand writers (waves at the 20Books crew!), and I like to think that I make a difference with my suggestions and advice there.
Maybe I can do the same for you.
The publishing world has changed a lot over the last few years. People are getting a lot more polished about the books they put out. The bar for success is rising, and we need to improve our own efforts to meet it. The ebook market has matured a lot, bringing big changes to how we sell and market books. Some people see that as a challenge they want to rise toward. Others get frustrated. A lot of writers have quit.
For whatever reason, you haven't quit. I think that's awesome. But if you're reading this, you probably face the same challenges that many writers do today. You have a busy life. Maybe you've got kids. You probably have a day job. You're tired when you get home. The idea of fitting in an hour of writing a day into a schedule that is already packed to the gills is brutal, frustrating, and seems futile. Meanwhile you're watching people put out a book a month, every month, and wondering how on Earth you can ever reach success as a writer with so little time to write!
I'm here to help with that.
I started off right where you are. Three kids, a job that was always at least fifty hours a week, a marriage, a house, friends, and other activities that ate into my time.
Today I write full time. I quit the job. I've sold hundreds of thousands of books. I write pretty near every day. I've made the USA Today bestseller list. Twice.
It's an awesome life! Oh, and I quit the "Procrastinating Writers' Club" on Twitter, too. It didn't seem to fit anymore. Instead, I surround myself with highly productive people who work daily at achieving and living their dream.
I'm here to say that you can have those things too. But you're going to have to work for them.
This book will help you learn how.
Who Wants to Write a Book?
Lots of people. In fact, surveys have shown that something like 80% of the US population wants to write a book. That's a huge number of people – many millions of them! And of course, that's just in the United States, which is a small slice of the overall population of would-be writers worldwide.
Since you're reading this, I'm going to work under the assumption that you're one of those people.
Do you want to write something just for yourself? For your family and friends? Do you plan to self publish, or submit the work to a publisher? That's all up to you, and other writers have addressed those decisions at enough length that I don't feel like I need to rehash those things here.
But before you can make any of those decisions, you have to write the book.
Finding time to get the work done is challenging! A novel is a huge undertaking. It's a work of at least forty thousand words of fiction, but most are much longer. How do you find the time and energy to get all of that writing done?
What we're going to look at in this book is how to get your book done, in lives that leave little time for extras. I'm going to talk about fiction specifically, although many of these techniques can be applied to nonfiction – and indeed I have used the techniques outlined in these pages to write this book!
You decide what you want to write about, and what you want to do with it after.
I'll show you how to fit your writing into your already busy life – how to be a "Coffee Break Novelist".
Writing in the Time We Have
We all have twenty four hours in a day, 365 days in a year. And in theory, how we spend that time is entirely up to us. In practice? Not so much! I bet you find that most of those hours are filled in for you. We have childcare, and work, and food prep, and bill paying, and housework, and yard work, and myriad other tasks that eat up bits and bites of that precious time, until there is very little left.
The essential stuff really can't go. You can't pay the bills without going to work, for example. And you can't maintain a family or a home without taking care of the dishes, or whatever other chores you have to get done at home.
And so most would-be novelists never write their books, because they "don't have time". They simply cannot figure out how to add anything else in. Many of us have trouble finding the time to brush our teeth more than once a day – fitting in a novel, too? It looks too big. Looms too large. It's a mountain of a task, and there seems to be no way to confront something that will chew up that many hours in the small bits of time we have available.
So what we're going to do here is address that lack of time, and we're also going to look at the novel as a set of smaller bites. Both aspects are important! Without finding blocks of time in which to work, we'll never get the words on paper. But without breaking the novel down into manageable chunks, we can feel too daunted by the prospect of writing.
So take this book a step at a time. Read each chapter, then implement the plan outlined there. Feel free to tweak things a bit – every writer is different. But try not to skip any steps. Read the sections more than once, if you need to.
Then, do the work.
Nobody is going to make you write your book – except you. What you have in your hands are instructions and tools. It's up to you to take them and do the work of writing your book.
Work the plan, and you too can get that novel completed!