Why You Should Write Your Book in 100 Days

by Joe Bunting | 25 comments

Ready to write your book? Join us for the next semester of the 100 Day Book Challenge! Learn more and write your book »

You might think, no one can write a book in 100 days. And certainly not a good book.

You might even feel a program like our 100 Day Book Challenge is just a quick fix. It should take longer to write a book. It's about the experience!

Write a Book: Why You Should Write Your Book in 100 Days

But let me ask you this:

Want to learn how to write a book from start to finish? Check out How to Write a Book: The Complete Guide.

100 Days of Focused Writing

This level of focus can be life-changing. You'll write more than you ever have (plenty for a book). Best of all, you'll feel creatively invigorated and alive.

This is why Stephen King said,

The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.

Because writing a book in a short period of time like this gives an energy and focus to your writing that is so much harder to capture when you're writing a first draft over several years.

That's why we believe that 100 days is the perfect length of time to write the first draft of your book.

An Essential Accomplishment

Yes, your book will need more work afterward, so we'll walk you through the editing process, too.

However, after 100 days, you will have accomplished the most important part: You will have written a book! And that's something to be very proud of.

The question is, why aren't you going to spend the next 100 days focused on your writing?

Are you ready to take the plunge and write a book in 100 days? Join us for the next semester of the 100 Day Book Challenge and get the support of other writers and a team of editors cheering you on from start to finish! Discover the program »

What are you focusing on writing right now? Let us know in the comments.


You can't start and finish your book in today's practice, but you can focus on your writing for fifteen minutes, right now. If you're working on a book or another piece of writing, by all means, pull it out and take this time to make some progress! Or, start a new story based on this prompt: a woman is so distracted by her phone that she trips down the stairs.

Today's goal is quantity, not quality. How much can you write in just fifteen minutes? When your timer goes off, share your practice in the comments, and be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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  1. Reagan Colbert

    I completely agree that you can write a book in 100 days. My first book (while only 18,000 words) was written, edited, and self-published in 35 days, so 100 is reasonable! I believe that one of my other longer ones took roughly that time.

    Even if the number seems impossible, when you focus on your writing that much there is really no limit to what you’re capable of!

    • Joe Bunting

      Impressive, Reagan! Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Bella

    I followed your advice & set a goal & a vision for myself. I wanted to write 20 minutes right before bed, because I’m at least awake and have had my creative juices flowing throughout the day (and have had plenty of time to think of what will come next). I sat down, feeling that I might not make it, but 20 minutes easily turned into 30, and although I’m still not done the chapter it was awesome! It was like that feeling where you’re reading an amazing book that you can’t put down, when you’re so into it that you’re not just reading it, each word creates a movie inside your mind that just plays itself out. That’s what writing should feel like, and I’m so thankful, not only for your inspiration, but also because I was saving a mild writers block where I didn’t want to keep writing because I didn’t know how to transition the scene without it sounding weird (and I know that first drafts do sound weird, but writing by hand gives you a sense of awareness that typing can never ever ever give you, and helps you to write better. You think about each word at least twice before you write it by hand, and you can see all your crossouts & second guesses that shows your train of thought & where you want to get to with your chapter, which you don’t get on a computer). Thank you!

    • Joe Bunting

      I love it when that happens, and I’m so glad this spurred you write something that turned out so great! (I’d still be glad if it turned out to be not so great, by the way. Time spent writing is always worth celebrating.) Honestly, this is the whole point of the challenge. You push yourself to write a book—any book, even a bad book—in a short amount of time, and then, surprise, surprise, the magic strikes and it turns out to be better than you expected. I’m so glad this helped!

  3. Read Kimberly Jayne

    I don’t have time at the moment to write for five minutes (I’m at work), but I did get sucked into this article (good work!) and wanted to say how it inspired me. I think if we look at the quick-write of the first draft, not as a slog, but as a committed 100 days or 3-month-turnaround project, we are the better for it. I’m actually working on the two final episodes of my dark fantasy novel, and that’s about 50k words in first draft. It’s doable, but as always I worry about job interference and fatigue. I’m going to try it though. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Joe Bunting

      Agreed, Kimberley, and exciting you’re going to knock out your novel in 100 days! Good luck! I hope we can help as you go along.

  4. drjeane

    I enjoy the timed exercises. It really helps me dive right in and write as thoughts come. This time the end of time signal wove right into the narrative.

    The Accident

    I raced up the stairs to retrieve my phone. Why can’t I remember to keep it with me? At least it’s nearby on the counter at the top of the spiral staircase. Seeing my sister’s name on caller ID, I froze momentarily. She rarely called me – I was usually the one to call and did that every Sunday afternoon. This is Tuesday. Retrieving the phone and swiping its face to answer the call, I begin to descend the stairs as she begins speaking. With a sob, she says, “It’s Clark – the tumor is spreading more rapidly than expected, the doctors aren’t sure the chemotherapy will be able to stop it.” I knew her only grandson had just begun chemotherapy treatments for a small tumor in his mid-brain. The tumor had been found during a routine MRI, ordered yearly since he first experienced a brain tumor seven years before at age 12. He had been doing well and this new appearance put the entire family on edge. The new diagnosis, which came during Christmas break from college, had necessitated his taking a semester off school to submit to a series of chemotherapy treatments. These thoughts were running through my mind as I took the next step and slipped. Time slowed to an unimaginable crawl as my sister’s voice continued and I fell, still holding the phone to my ear. I can’t be injured now – I’ve just recovered from knee surgery, which now came clearly back to mind with the searing pain from that knee twisting as that foot caught between the open treads of the spiral causing me to lurch forward, landing on my face on the hard floor of my basement office. The world disappeared into blackness. Perhaps I won’t waken this time. But, I do. Now lying in a hospital bed. How did I get here? Tim, my husband, must have come home soon after my fall. He’s sitting at my bedside now full of concern. My head feel fuzzy, my body numb. Time’s up.

    • Joe Bunting

      Great practice, Dr. Jean! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. This is such an intense moment, when things go from bad to worse. There’s a lot going on here: the conversation, the backstory about the boy with cancer, the fall. In a longer piece, you should space these out more. I’d also choose one malady in particular to focus on, not that you can’t talk about both the fall and the boy with cancer, but that in a story with two tragic events, one has to be the focus. Which will that be? Great compelling action and description though. Good job!

    • drjeane

      Thank you for your support and these suggestions, although this may not become a longer piece of writing, the caution not to put too much into one scene is well taken.

    • RAW

      Dr. Jean –

      Good stuff. Only one comment at this point.

      Can you please break up your work into paragraphs? “White space” is good. You can provide some tempo to your reader by doing it, and when you are done, you can go back and rearrange your paragraphs to make the topics more clear or the subjects flow better.

      My 2 cents! Keep writing!!!

      R. A. Worrell

  5. EmFairley

    While I agree that writing needs consistency and effort, I think that all deadlines should be flexible, as far as possible. I began my WIP during NaNo last year and initially hoped it would be completed by the middle of December. However, I’m dealing with a range of health issues and writing every day while fighting severe fatigue just isn’t possible. That said, I have written during every working day and hope to have the draft finished by the end of February. As of right now it’s over 97,500 words and is more than double the length of anything I’ve written in one hit before

    • Joe Bunting

      Congratulations, Em! That’s so exciting.

      Personally, I do infinitely better with the opposite of flexible deadlines, with deadlines backed up by a hard consequence (like my last book, where I wrote a check for $1,000 to be sent if I missed my deadline). It focuses me better than anything else.

      Obviously, health problems mess up the best laid plans, though! There’s nothing harder than trying to focus when you’re in pain or fatigued.

    • EmFairley

      Thanks Joe!

      I’m pretty stubborn so do push myself toward deadlines that I think will be viable (mid December was pushed back to Christmas), but the characters seem to have minds of their own and it soon became clear that that wasn’t gonna happen. So, on one of the last working days of the year (writing day 40) I scheduled another 30 days, which takes us to the end of Valentine’s week. Even that might not be possible, so I initially looked at writing 6 days, which fatigue put paid to immediately. So as an absolute deadline I’ve set the end of February, pending any unexpected events/ health issues

    • Joe Bunting

      Here’s a serious question: how could you accomplish those 30 days of writing in 3 days? Not should you, but how could you. I think when you have a sense of urgency and focus you can accomplish more than you think (willful characters or not). It’s fine to take 30 days, but the fear is of course than 30 days turns into 3 months, you know?

    • EmFairley

      It’s a valid question, and here’s the honest answer… It is impossible for me in my current state of health. Cardiac issues mean that I tire quickly and a few hours or 3K words a day is my absolute limit.

      I’m not making excuses, but having battled countless health issues stubbornly over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, not least the thrum of my heartbeat and I know when enough is enough. If I want to see my grandbaby grow up, I have to look after myself as well as take care of my characters. That said, I WILL finish by the end of February

  6. Sandra D

    well I think that is an optimistic goal…

    • Joe Bunting

      Why do you say that? I’ve finished books in 100 days. Last semester, more than 50% finished in 100 days. Stephen King finishes in less than 100 days. Shoot, tens of thousands of people finish their novels during NaNoWriMo. I’d love to hear more about why you think it’s isn’t possible?

    • Sandra D

      yeah no, I do totally think it is possible. definitely. just think it is hard for people who have less time (me at the moment)..I hadn’t realized I came off so negative though. I do think it is definitely possible and achievable.

    • Joe Bunting

      Ah yes. Time! I definitely sympathize with this, because I struggle finding time to write too. I’m challenged by people like Sue Weems, who told me she’s written multiple books while having a job and four kids. She says she writes in the “snatches of time,” like when she’s waiting for her kids in the carpool lane and during her lunch break. I often lack focus, but I believe that if I were more focused, I would find that I have a lot more time than I think.

  7. Sandra D

    My 15 min freewrite. influenced a bit by the article above.
    But there is no story,” Jake said sighing impatiently. “You were supposed to write it already, but it didn’t happen. This is why bosses have deadlines.”
    “I know I know, but I still don’t feel it. I don’t know if i ever will at this point.”
    “Sometimes you just have to do it anyway. The world has deadlines. Hell, the world Is a deadline. Even if not for the paycheck, and you write completely for the sake of ‘art,’ then you still only have so many years till you kick the bucket.”
    “Thanks for the reminder of my age.. and a cliche at that, shame on you.”
    “Argh, I don’t care about that, just sit on your butt and get to writing something! If I were your teacher you’d be failing right now. Anything at this point, write about donkey butts for all I care!”
    “You shouldn’t talk to your elders that way. Fine, fine, I will do some writing today, I promise. But I am still having trouble finding my story. You don’t know how hard it is.” He looked disgusted at her just then, her eyes pleaded with him to understand. “I had such a strong feeling about it at the beginning and now I feel like i don’t know what I’m doing. I guess I will just have to figure it out.” Jake started looking at a couple of walkers outside the window. They were two older women in capris and sweaters. One had a counter on her ankle. A small dog ran between them and marched in front. As interesting as this was, she decided that it was time to move on to other things, this subject had unfortunately gone on as far as it would for the moment. Though that was too bad because she really wished he had the answer to her writing problems, rather then just telling her what she already knew, that she should be writing. She cleared her throat and he turned towards her. “Last night, My father called me.” He scrutinized her face, but she turned down, focusing on her coffee now. She stirred her coffee with her spoon, watching the foam as it started dissolving into the creamy liquid.
    “How’s he doing?” Jake said after a while. She unconsciously sighed.
    “Fine for the most part, too fine really.”
    “I do that too, it’s okay. It’s a man thing I think. Let him be and things will get better.”
    “My ex never was the strong keep it inside type.”
    “Yeah well, it helps some of us keep it together.”
    “Well, he asked me to do shopping for him while he’s saving for a car.”
    “Oh i forgot about that. So he’s stuck out there then?”
    “For now. So I will be seeing him a lot. It may be nice. You and sweet Claire getting along?”
    “I guess.” She perked an eye brow up. “You know highschool girls are pretty much impossible.” said Jake flatly.
    “Oh they are?”
    “Yes, I imagine it has been a while for you, but yes, they are. One minute they want to kiss and hug, and the next they think you are the boogey man coming after their them, so until they decide you’re okay, it’s like they just want to torture you.”
    “Hm, I didn’t think of it like that. I’m sure it’s just as hard for her.”
    “Yeah I don’t think so. And also my friends don’t like her. They say she’s using me and that I should move on. But I like her too much to listen to them you know?”

  8. James Alfred

    Amy ran upstairs because her phone was ringing. Amy knew she was going to miss the call. Right as she grab her phone it had stopped ring. ” Crap I missed the call Oh it was Jamie. I will call her back in a few.” About that time Amy had a incoming text picture from Jamie. She opened it. “What the heck is.” It looked like a picture of her husband and another woman holding hands. The text from Jamie read. Hey Amy i saw your husband coming out of the hotel today with this on his arm. I followed them for a while. They ate lunch at Steve O’s and are heading back to the hotel. I am still sitting here watching you should hurry down here. “That low life, fish face, I will catch you this time.” As she was typing her friend Jamie back walking down the stairs. Boom she tripped and took the rest of them on her tail bone down to the bottom. She was going so fast. She was unable to stop and jammed her legged into the wall. Where she sat knowing her leg was broken. She just cried out in pain.

    • Chloee


  9. Chloee Barker

    I stared at his protruding chin which seemed naked after he shaved his scrabbly bread. “Jesus, why are you making this so difficult?” He rubbed the dark circles underneath his eyes that seemed to deepen as the day wore on. “Why am I difficult when I’m just stating my opinion?” “You can’t HAVE an opinion on dying, it’s a one way street your body shuts down and you die; there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.” I rapped the rings on my knuckles against the table “Well apparently you can since I am”

    He slammed his bony fist, rattling the black coffee in his mug. “NO YOU CAN’T.” He stuck a knobby finger in my face “You died, your body shut down and now you have to do what every other dead person does and pass!” I stuck my lip out and he stared at me coldly. “Don’t look at me like that, I’m just the messenger, if you got a problem bring it up with my boss.” “Explain to me who your boss is again?” He rubbed his temple together, clearly not having it and looked at me. “Your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I gave out a chuckle that sounded more like steam from a tea kettle. “That’s a laugh and a half.”
    He stood up and leaned across the table. “If you could just shut your egotistical, stubborn, unreasonable mouth for even a millisecond and just listened instead of talking, half the trash that falls out of it wouldn’t even pass your lips.” My eyes narrowed and focused on the microscope shaving cuts on his face, I could feel the heat rising on my cheeks. “If you could just hear yourself and realize the sheer moronic sentences that come tumbling out of you I’m positive you would never pick arguments again.” I stood up and shoved my face towards his till our noses were almost touching and I could smell the heavy cologne he seemed to engulf himself in every morning.
    “If God wasn’t such an asshole maybe I wouldn’t question everything single thing like this because honey, when God made me he didn’t just break the model, he snapped it in half and threw it in Hell before I even had a chance.”

  10. RAW

    Hey Gang!

    I watch TV and movies from a writer’s perspective. In short, I analyze the plot, the theme and the characters to death. I try and predict what will happen next, and I ask myself, if I were the writer, where I would take the story? Sometimes I get it right, and often I am wrong.

    I’ve been trying to discover what it is that makes a good story good, and keeps our attention? What keeps us, as readers or watchers, turning the pages or prevents us from changing the channel? I think I know, and you may not like it. The implications are huge. Read on.

    I just finished reading Daniel D’Addario’s article from the Jan 23, 2017 Time Magazine, entitled “Time Off” on page 47 about the TV show, “The Apprentice”. He states:

    “Trump … seems to understand something NBC does not: that as much as the audience wants to see real, authentically flawed people, it demands above all else to be kept in suspense, to be tantalized with the promise (or threat) of things veering off script.”

    This is why Trump kept us enthralled all last Summer and Fall. Like him or hate him, we watched him, in utter fascination, to see what he would say or do next. We could not believe a presidential candidate would suggest that a woman moderator would ask the questions she did because she was menstruating. It was an outrageous idea, and one we would never expect a presidential candidate would make on live TV, shown all over the world. What would Trump say next? He had us glued to our television sets, and every news cycle.

    Suspense is, I believe, the magic elixir of books, movies and television. It keeps our attention and makes us turn the page when we really know we must put the book down or turn off the movie, and go to sleep at night. But we simply cannot. We must know how the story ends. We all wanted to know, “Who killed JR?” in “Dallas”, or why the dead people came back to life in the new Netflix Series, “Glitch”. We binge watched as much as we could take of the “Breaking Bad Series” or “24” because they were so suspenseful. They were not just good, they were great! My sister-in-law said she couldn’t watch them because they made her a nervous wreck! I loved it!!! They made me happy just to be alive to watch them! That’s what I want to create… stories so good you can’t turn them off.

    That’s my two cents. What do you think?

    R. Allan Worrell

    • RAW

      Oh, and one more thing….

      If you can build in a surprise ending, one they will never expect, but one that makes tremendous sense when you stop and think about it…. so much the better!

      R. Allan Worrell

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