How to Write a Book… Without Losing your Mind

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, writing a book is hard! Writing a book takes discipline, dedication, motivation, and inspiration. It’s not something that you just jump into and bang out in two weeks.

Okay, so that’s not entirely true in this case. The Defender started as one of our Mystery Escape Room games, but as I was writing and the story started to unfold, I realized the potential that my characters had. At the time of writing, I was just starting to enter the recovery phase of a major depressive episode. To say that I needed a win, was an understatement. Enter, Alexia Harmon.

But this post isn’t about her, it’s about how I wrote her story… without going insane. When I started writing The Defender, at that point known fondly as ‘book’, I was in a pretty unstable place mentally. But there were some pluses to where I was at,

  1. I wasn’t working. This meant I had dedicated time for writing
  2. My daughter was in daycare. Again, this gave me the time I needed to sit down and focus
  3. I desperately needed a creative outlet, queue creative writing.

When I started, I found that I could sit for 6-8 hours straight and write. The words just poured from me. Before I knew it, I had an 85,000-word book. But let’s be real, that’s not how it works in the real world. In my ‘normal’ life, I am a mother, employee, student, author, small business owner, and wife. If all those things had overlapped, I would have been slowed down to a snail’s pace. So, when I started writing books two and three, things were different in my life.

Writing switched from full-time focus to an afterthought. So to keep my progress going, I had to set goals. Here are a few of my more successful tips;

  1. Set a time limit. I could only spend about 45-60 minutes a day writing, otherwise, I found myself feeling guilty for missing out or neglecting the other parts of my life. By having a goal, I could carve out the time I needed, and then happily shut my computer when it was over.
  2. Be consistent. I wrote every day for months. It may not have always been for 60 minutes, but I always made time to write at least a page. It kept the creative juices flowing.
  3. Write when passion strikes, or take a break when you hit the wall. This one is tricky. For me, passion could strike in the middle of the night, so I would get up and write for a few hours until I felt tired enough to go back to sleep. On the flip side, I had my fair share of writer’s block and this meant I had to take breaks. Don’t worry, I didn’t break tip number 2, I still wrote every day, but sometimes I would write a page just to come back the next day and delete it. This brings me to my last tip.
  4. There are no mistakes in writing. I never looked at those deleted pages as mistakes. If I had, I may have gotten discouraged and given up writing altogether. Instead, I looked at them as ways to decide what was the best future for the story. “Well, that didn’t work, let’s try another direction”.

Back to the main topic, how do you write a book without losing your mind? Truthfully, no one can tell you exactly what will work for you, but I can tell you that it can be done. Sure, you will hit bumps along the road, but I promise you it will be worth it. If you are consistent and dedicated, anything is possible.

Good luck to all you amazing writers! May you continue to write epic stories that make your soul happy!

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1 thought on “How to Write a Book… Without Losing your Mind”

  1. What great advice! I particularly like your point about working your writing into the rest of your life and finding balance instead of guilt.

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