If I can write a novel in a day, you can surely write a book in the next six months – Here's how

You want to write a book, but you can’t find the time to get started? I’m not impressed. I’m going to write an entire novel in one day, sitting in a bookstore. If I can do that, then you can surely write your book! I’ll share seven keys to getting started, but first let me answer the question I know you’re asking right now: why am I writing a novel in one day in a bookstore? I’m doing it as a fundraising effort on behalf of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to support my April 15 Boston Marathon run . People will come by the bookstore or visit my race website, MikerRunsBoston.com. In exchange for making a donation to cancer research and prevention, they will be able to dictate a plot change, a new location, a character name, or pretty much whatever they want. IN A WORLD DOMINATED BY TECHNOLOGY, EMPATHY IS BECOMING A LOST ART. THAT’S WHY THIS PROGRAM MATTERS SO MUCH This Sunday, you’ll find me at the Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Massachusetts from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., pounding away on my laptop, with the goal of creating a novel based on the suggestions of the donors, by the time the store closes. I’m a New York Times bestselling author, and that’s my idea of a good time. But what about you? You’ve always wanted to write a book – a memoir, a novel, a family history, a business book. But you’ve never gotten started because you weren’t exactly sure how to start. Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve taught new writers on and off for the past 30 years at the UCLA Writers’ Program, at New York University, and around the world. Let me share with you some suggestions about how to get going: 1. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. People say, “Michael, do you ever get writer’s block?” and I always respond, “No. That’s because I’ve got writer’s mortgage.” Seriously, there’s a very simple way to eliminate writer’s block from your life…forever. It’s simply to recognize that organizing, whether a novel or a nonfiction book, is a left-brain activity, while actually creating and writing is a right-brain task. Your brain does not like to shunt back and forth between left-brain and right-brain tasks. When you do that, it triggers a pain message, which writers misinterpret as “being blocked.” You aren’t blocked, you’re just asking your brain to do something it doesn’t want to do, and it’s rebelling. So to eliminate writer’s block, start off with a plan. If you know where you’re going, then your brain can settle comfortably into its right hemisphere and you can create to your heart’s content. 2. Low quotas are the key to success. I always tell my writing students that they are obligated to write two “rotten, stinking” pages a day. Why just two pages? Because that’s manageable. Anybody can bang out two pages. And why “rotten, stinking?” First, because it’s impossible to say those words […]

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