How I Finished a 45,000 Word Manuscript in 6 Months

1. Starting

Masters of the form quake before the page — Dani Shapiro

I’m by no means a master of the form. But when I finished the outline and it was time to get the first words down on paper, I was overcome by a bit of anxiety. “How in the hell am I going to get from this blank Google Doc to a 45,000 word manuscript?”I imagined worst case scenarios like my editor and agent thinking they had made a huge mistake. Then, I remembered these words from Dani Shapiro.

2. Treat Editing and Revising as a Separate Process from Writing

3. Have a Daily Ritual

Structure and process are critical to increasing creative output. And rituals make you more prolific and productive. At a certain point, I had to develop a ritual specifically for working on the book. It’s not much different from my daily ritual.

  • 10 minutes of meditation
  • Listing gratitudes in the Five Minute Journal
  • Reading Before I write
  • Write 1000 words (some of which made it into the book and some of which didn’t)

4. Build in Time for Creative Renewal

No matter how prolific you are, you have to build in periods of creative renewal or the work will inevitably suffer. On a daily basis, I would completely shut down in the middle of the afternoon, go to Starbucks, and take a walk while reviewing the latest episode of the Unmistakable Creative, which often served as inspiration for many of the ideas in the book. Then I would come back and jot things down in a notebook, on notecards, and in Evernote.

5. The Power of Visual Reminders

6. Eliminate the Need for Willpower, Decision Fatigue, and Distraction

I’ve written extensively about how I’ve optimized my life for deep work, and set things up in order to increase my creative output. Here are a few things that might help you

7. Read A Lot

There are some authors who don’t read while they’re writing because they’re afraid they’re being influenced. I was the exact opposite. I read tons of books while writing my own. They all served as sources of inspiration and enabled me to steal like an artist.

8. Working with a Writing Coach

In his post about how he wrote 3 books in 3 years, Ryan Holiday mentions working with an editor outside of the one from his publisher. I ended up doing the same, with an editor named Robin Dellabough and it was worth every penny that I had to allocate from my advance.

  • She caught patterns that I had.
  • She called me out on places where I repeated myself
  • She told me when things didn’t make any sense



Candidate Conversations with Insanely Interesting People: Listen to the @Unmistakable Creative podcast in iTunes

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Srinivas Rao

Candidate Conversations with Insanely Interesting People: Listen to the @Unmistakable Creative podcast in iTunes