Do You Have a Book in You? 5 Questions to Plan Your Writing

I was at Panera last week doing some work and overheard a woman say to her friend, “You should write a book about that. Seriously! What a great story you have.” The other woman agreed and they moved on to other topics. Sadly, that book will probably never be written.

Do you have a book inside of you—a message that has been stirring inside for years? While it’s good to wait to write until your message is fully developed (see my interview with Eric Smith for more about this), the reason why most books don’t get written is because desire to write doesn’t translate into a plan with time set aside to write.

Did you know that writing just 500 words per week (this blog post is 640 words) translates into a 40,000-word manuscript (about 176 pages) in three months?

There are many good reasons to write a book. Besides the ten reasons I provide here, the most compelling reason for me is the encouragement and power others receive to enter into the truths you share when they read your expertise and experience in book format.

Writing a book can be simple, but it’s not easy. From concept to a book ready to share with others, there are potential hang-ups all along the way that can make the writing and publishing process challenging.

The good news is that writing a book can be easier than you think, and much, much easier than many people make it out to be. That’s what my workshops and book are about—making it as easy as possible for you to prepare, write, and share your message.

If writing a book is still just a good idea that passes through your mind from time to time, take a few minutes to think through and write down the answers to the questions below. Question 6 is probably the most important: setting aside specific time to write and guarding that time with fervency! This is the reason my own book is coming out three months later than expected:

  • I didn’t set aside a specific time to write. I just wrote when I had time. There’s a big difference.
  • I didn’t prioritize and guard the time I did have so that nothing else would interrupt. I can’t tell you how many times I sat down to write, got into a writing groove, and then was interrupted and pulled away.

One other way to get a great jumpstart on your book is to attend a Write-Your-Book Workshop. Sign up here to receive updates of upcoming workshops.

Here are your questions:

1. The working title and subtitle of my book is _____.
(This doesn’t have to be the final title, but naming your book will make your idea or desire more tangible.)

2. I want to have my book in my hands by _____.

3. I want to be done with my manuscript by _____.
(This date should be two to three months before the date in question two.)

4. About how many pages I think my book will be: _____.
(Look at a few books you have on your bookshelf and think about how many pages your book might be based on the content you have to share. Multiply page count by 225 to know about how many words your book will be.)

5. If you write 500 words per sitting (about two pages double spaced), how long will it take to complete your book?
(Divide how many pages your book will be by 500 or how many words you plan to write each time you sit down to write.)

6. What day(s) and time I plan to write my book: _____.
(Be very specific, for example every Tuesday morning from 5:30–7:30am.)

Question: What day and time do you plan to write your book? Leave a comment below to make your “resolution to write.”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not constructive and specific to this conversation. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.


  1. […] complete these five questions by this weekend. Invest less than ten minutes and you’ll be one step further to a book […]