Posted in Writing

Here’s One Easy Way to Finish Your Novel Quickly


You might feel like there’s no easy way to finish your novel.

There are so many ways to write a novel, after all.

I’ve talked about how if you’re pressed for time, you can always find 10 to 20 minutes a day and write a little bit. If you write 200 words a day, you can complete a novel in just one year!

But what if you want to get a first draft of your novel completed quickly and not slowly? What if you could finish your novel in a few weeks time, not a few months time?

I finished my twentieth novel in July. My twentieth novel in less than ten years.

I often spend a year or longer revising these projects, but I always write the first draft quickly. In 4 to 5 weeks typically. Only in rare cases longer than 6 weeks.

Even if you have a full-time job, it can be done. You don’t have to spend a long year slowly writing here and there before you reach THE END.

Here’s one easy way to finish your novel quickly…

Write 500 words in 30-minute sprints.

This is the big one. Especially if you have little time to devote to your project every day.

When I write a novel, I often write 2,000 words a day. 2,000 words is a lot, so something that helps me get started is not looking at the session as 2,000 words but as four 30-minute sprints of 500 words.

There’s something about this weird way of thinking that always helps me get through the writing session not just well but fast.

I’ll sit down at, say, 10am. And I almost always will be done with my writing for the day by 12pm, as long as there are no distractions.

I give myself between 10am and 10:30am to reach 500 new words. Sometimes, when I’m on a roll, I can get there in 15–20 minutes. And if that happens? I give myself a 10-minute break!

I’ll look at the clock. It says 10:20. And I get to goof off for 10 minutes.

Then at 10:30 on the dot, I start the second 30-minute sprint. If I finish before 11am, another brief moment to relax. Maybe get a snack. Maybe surf a couple websites. Maybe check my e-mail. But only after I’ve finished a 30-minute sprint.

Then I move onto the third sprint, and then the fourth sprint. Voila, in two hours typically I’ve written 2,000 new words!

Now if you don’t actually have two hours… no problem.

If you need to, find four 30-minute sprints throughout your day!

I typically write my 2,000 words in two straight hours, and if you’re able to write that way, I recommend it. It’s easier to get into a groove when you stay with your writing in one period of the day rather than several.

However, what’s neat about the sprints idea is that you can split it into two parts if you want — one hour of two sprints in the morning, and one hour of two springs at night!

You can even split it into four sprints if you want. One in the morning, one at lunchtime, one in the evening, and one late at night.

I wouldn’t necessarily advise that, but if your time is limited, and you want to finish your first draft quickly, then go for it!

One other thing to remember? It’s okay if you can’t reach 500 words in 30 minutes. I’ve had days where I can only get 200–300 words in 30 minutes. I’ve had days where I sat there staring at the screen for 30 minutes, no words achieved at all!

This will happen sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up over it. If you don’t get 2,000 words a day, it’s not the end of the world. If you only get to two of your sprints instead of four, there’s no need to panic.

But I guarantee you, when you start looking at the writing of your novel in 30-minute sprints, you will start writing more.

And you’ll finish your novel sooner rather than later!

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