How to Write a Book in 7 Years

Marc Ensign
3 min readDec 1, 2020

People keep asking me (and by “people” I mean not a single person has ever asked me) how I was able to write my book in only seven years.

Here’s my secret…

Step 1: You would think the first step in writing a book would be to start writing a book.

It’s not.

You need to start by overthinking which software to use. Scrivener? Word? Docs? Pages?

Spend a few weeks trying them all and then just use Word.

Step 2: Outline your book by opening a new document and writing the word “Introduction” as the first bullet point. Stare at the rest of the page for a few minutes before breaking for lunch and closing the document without saving it.

Step 3: Take the rest of the week off. You deserve it. In the meantime, update your website and add “Author” to your title.

Step 4: Schedule a specific time each day where you will lock yourself in a room and write. Use the time that you are most productive so the rest of your day is ruined.

Step 5: Start writing. And by that I mean stare at the blank screen for an hour trying to figure out what the first sentence should be.

Step 6: Check Facebook multiple times just in case someone you haven’t spoken to since high school posts an inspiring quote that will help you write the first sentence.

Step 7: Force yourself to start typing so you can get the Introduction out of your head and onto the page. You will be pleasantly surprised by how easily it flows and how natural your writing sounds.

Step 8: Go back and reread everything you wrote the previous day. Realize that it flowed so easily because you are a terrible writer and what you wrote sounds like the instructions to a piece of furniture from IKEA.

Step 9: Edit your Introduction by changing the word “and” to “but” and then back to “and” several hundred times until it feels right.

Hint: It will never feel right.

Step 10: Spend the next 18 months editing the Introduction until it no longer resembles the book you intended on writing. Once you are done, go back to the original version.

Step 11: Binge Breaking Bad on Netflix. Convince yourself that you are watching because the writing is so good and you are hoping it will spark a few ideas for your book.

It won’t.

Step 12: Tell everyone you know you’re writing a book and that it will be out in a few weeks.

Step 13: Spend the next few years writing and editing until you are almost done with the first draft. Realize that you made a bad choice with the software and move everything over to Scrivener. This should take several weeks to complete. Once done, go back to using Word.

Step 14: Start over.

Step 15: When someone asks you why your book is not out yet, unfriend them on Facebook.

Step 16: At this point, you should be about 6 or 7 years in and your spirit should be broken. Hope for a pandemic so you are not allowed to leave the house and have nothing else to do but write or talk to your family.

Step 17: Send your compilation of brain farts to an editor. Lay in the fetal position while they pick up where your high school English teacher left off and berate you for your inability to distinguish between past tense and present tense.

Step 18: Release the book into the world. Instantly regret it.

Step 19: Look at your sales reports and dream about all of the things you are going to do with the $8.23 you just made in commission after selling all of those books to your friends and relatives.

Step 20: Promise yourself that you will never write another book again.

Step 21: Receive an email from someone (preferably not your spouse or your mom) praising your work and the impact it made in their lives.

Ugly cry a little.

Step 22: Go back to Step 1 and start writing your second book.

And then here are the results:



Marc Ensign

My name is Marc and I am a speaker, author, coach, and consultant with a specialty on personal branding and personal leadership within organizations.