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The Secret to Making Progress on Book Writing Every Day

Lisa Tener
Enjoying the flower garden at Casey Farm this summer.

Every day I make some progress on my book writing.

Some days I surprise myself with new material for what felt like a fairly complete book.

Most days I do some typing or editing of the book or proposal. My friend Paula is typing up my handwritten edits when our schedules mesh.

No progress is too small when it comes to book writing!

Recently I reconnected with Cathryn who took Eric Maisel’s Deep Writing class with me (more about that in my post Here’s How to Finish Writing a Book). Cathryn and I decided to ask each other the 5 questions each week, the same questions I use in my Bring Your Book to Life® Book Writing Course.

Asking the questions gave me immediate clarity. I’d been fumbling with feeling that I didn’t have much new material to write, so I wasn’t writing 5 days a week when I didn’t feel inspired. By asking the 5 questions, I realized I needed to print out my book proposal and return to writing any blank or unfinished sections.

Now I have a plan and I can be much more productive.

So, what are the 5 questions?

5 Questions to Stay on Track with Your Writing

  1. What did I commit to?
  2. What did I actually do?
  3. What worked (about completing the writing/work I committed to)?
  4. What didn’t work?
  5. What’s next?It’s ideal to ask and answer these with a partner, at least once a week by phone. Email works too. But you can do these on your own.

Given guests and travel, I suggested Cathryn and I check in by email this coming week. Better to connect by email than not at all.

Summer can be a busy time. Make it work for you by having a plan, getting some accountability and working your plan consistently. Evaluate whether it’s working. The 5 questions help you with all 3 of these strategies.

Let’s Hear from You!

What are you doing to make progress on your book writing? Any tips to share that help you with commitment, accountability, productivity or inspiration?


Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Nora says

    For some days I have been I’ll and couldn’t concentrate on my writing but I hope it’ll pass. Happy writing, and thanks Lisa.

    • Lisa Tener says

      While it can be hard to write when you’re ill and tired, I do find that time outdoors can often rejuvenate me and give me enough energy to write.

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