• Sarah Tottle

How to write a book in less than 30 days



You have a great idea for a book and really want to put your thoughts into words, but you simply don’t know where to start. You may feel that you have a lot to offer, but you’re simply thinking how do I have time to write when I have so many other commitments. There’s not enough time. I have too much to do.  Those are all valid points. I felt the same.


It had always been a dream of mine to write a book. I felt I had some snippets of insight I wanted to share. As a doctoral student, who was working full time at a consultancy and also teaching adult education, I definitely felt like I had no time.


It was a chance encounter with the CEO of a large training company that changed things. I met him after he was speaking at a conference, discussing his new book on productivity and time management. I quickly read through it and applied the principles. I’d always prided myself on my sense of efficiency and happily labelled myself a productivity junkie, but even with my ability to cram a hundred things into my day, I still didn’t think I would have the time to complete a book.


Fast forward a couple of months and a short coaching session with said CEO later and I’d set the goal of writing my first book. A book in under 30 days.  Here’s how you can do it too:


1. Confidence: Nothing can be achieved or achieved well without first having confidence. Confidence is the ability to believe in yourself and defy what others may think. Despite pursuing a PhD in my field of psychology, and being regarded as having a high level of expertise, I was scoffed at. I chose to believe in myself and the people that believed in me too. I’d advise you to do the same.

2. Choose who you tell wisely. After the initial scoff, I chose to be selective in who I told. In fact, I told very few people. Those few people that I did tell were positive, upbeat and encouraging. I knew they would hold me accountable in the best possible way.

3. Know when you are most creative and work to this. Are you a lark or an owl? If you arise out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step, then why not use this time to your advantage. Set your alarm an hour earlier and give yourself a power hour to work on the book. Similarly, if you prefer to work late at night, set that time aside for the evening.

4. Use free time. We all have it. When I started writing my book, I was travelling by train during my commute to work. I used this time to write and would often type notes into my phone. You can do this whether you have a seat or not. In fact, I managed to type while being on crutches from a sprained ankle. If you feel too squashed, adjust your travel time.

5. Set aside some time over lunch. You’re entitled to a lunch, so take it. Maximise the time by getting creative, being sure to take time out to eat too. A good rule of thumb is to use half your lunch to eat and relax, and the other to write.

6. Think big and then chunk down.  It’s important to see the whole book before writing it. What’s the key message? Look at the big picture. Once you have that, you can then create important bitesize steps in writing your book. Use this principle to scale back to see what needs to go into each chapter, and then set the steps to write these too.

7. Think like the ants. Remember, one step at a time. Each bitesize chunk will lead to another. Before you know it, you’ll have your book.

8. Be consistent. Look at your overall schedule for the month and see where you can do your power hours. Identify places in your calendar where it’s not practical and work around those. If you can, work on your book each day with weekends off. Apply the 50:10 rule to your power hour and set yourself a timer to keep you motivated. Try 50 minutes of uninterrupted writing, followed by ten minutes of reflecting.

9. Get started. Nothing great happens if you don’t start. Why wait? Start your 30 days now.


I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment seeing the final result of my work. It made me feel that anything was possible if we just take the steps towards our goals. I love the saying ‘be like the ants’, which essentially means taking one step, however big or small, towards our goals. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the final results.  

©2019 by Sarah Tottle.