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  • Writer's pictureLeeyanne Moore

Short on Time? Here's How to Write a Novel Draft in Just 1 Hour a Week

Updated: May 13

Man typing on a computer
Writing outside the home can improve focus and build a habit.

Yes, it's true, you can write a novel and complete it in just one hour a week for one year. I know many people -- teens even! -- who have written a novel in one year, by just writing once a week for one hour.

A few caveats:

  • We're talking about writing a novel draft. It often takes another year (almost) to edit the draft.

  • This does not include the time brainstorming (coming up with names, places, backstory, etc) or additional pondering or thinking about the novel at certain points. This kind of thinking counts as work too. But that's what you do when showering, driving, or doing dishes.

  • It's very possible that near the end, you'll desire to spend a lot more time on the project. That rush to the finish feels really good.

  • Not all of my students finish a novel. Some students take longer. Or switch projects. Or get derailed somehow.

In general, though, this is what I do with my students. We meet once a week, start with brainstorming, proceed to working on the opening, and then chunk it out, working our way through transitions, big dramatic moments, and everything else. At times we stop and look ahead. At other times we get so excited when the draft is almost done.

Why it works:

Creating a writing habit: By meeting with me for an hour a week, you are building a habit. Your imagination begins to show up. Your energy begins to show up. Your word count per session begins to show up.

Avoid second guessing yourself: If you have questions or uncertainties, then I am there to address them. To have someone tell you that your writing is good (when it is good) cuts off all the delays of sitting there pondering if it's good or not.

Tapping into Joy! Each week you've made progress--you're actually writing a novel! Each week you work hard and we celebrate that work. By keeping things positive and rewarding, you're training your brain--wiring it to associate writing with deep satisfaction.

Accountability: I don't know about you, but I find that I hold myself accountable to other people a little bit more than I do to myself sometimes. So having someone there, waiting for me to show up at my writing session for one hour definitely motivates me. (I write myself every morning.) Once there, I love how it feels to push everything else in my life to one side and for just one hour--sometimes two--empty my brain of everything but my current book project.

Results: The results are that after a year, you have, more or less, finished the draft of a novel. From this point on we edit! Even if you didn't edit, even if you decide to go no further, you can still say to yourself with quiet pride, "I wrote a novel".

My friends--have a great week! Feel free to leave comments or questions below. 

As always, if you (or someone you’re raising) is interested in writing a big project, you can let me know in the contact form and we can chat about the project to see if I can help. You can have one free session to work out if we're a good fit for each other.

Leeyanne Moore bio


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