Writing a Book – Finding Time

Trust Agents Book Cover You want to write a book, and have been wondering about the process. Maybe you’ve started a bunch of times, but something got in the way. Motivation failed you, or you lost track of the time, or you wrote the entire thing but never got it out there in any form or fashion. There are lots of roadblocks and dead ends in the world of writing books.

Finding Time to Write a Book

Most people, when I queried them, said that finding time was the #1 complain/worry/issue they had with being able to write a book. As I’m about to complete my fourth, and my fifth will be finished a few months after that, I can tell you that it most certainly does take time, but that time can be found. Here are a few ways to “find” time.

  • Write notes about your book into something like Evernote, which can be accessed from your phone, your desktop, and any web browser (meaning you have no excuses to take down ideas).
  • Keep 3×5 index cards in your pocket or bag, and jot notes there, too. A lot of writing is done before you sit down to actually write.
  • Build loose-but-useful outlines and seek out 20 minutes here and there to “shade them in.” People facing a blank page waste too much time thinking about the page. Instead, work on bits that need work.
  • If you work better speaking, look into a product like Dragon Naturally Speaking to do dictation for you.
  • Prone to distractions? Try Ommwriter for Mac (or PC).
  • Also, shutting off the Internet helps.

But I Have Kids

So do I. I have two kids. And I run a few companies, and help several others. You can create excuses to fit your issues with finding time, or you can find time. Here’s some ways to do it.

  • While they watch TV, you write at the table. If you have time for TV, you have time to write a book. Can’t concentrate? Headphones.
  • Wake up 40 minutes earlier. Use 20 to get less groggy. Use 20 to start some writing.
  • Stay up 40 minutes later. Use 30 to write and 10 to calm your brain back down.
  • Use “idle time” like waiting room time to write. Don’t want to whip out the laptop? Then use something else to capture more work (remember that note cards aren’t a book).
  • Quit one “used to be useful” activity. We all have them. Are you still at book club? Unless it’s your life saver, stop. Ditto volunteering. Volunteer to write a book. Then volunteer.

Time DOES Grow On Trees

Gandhi famously said that we all have the same 24 hours in the day. We just choose how we fill them. I find time all the time. One way I do it is to ignore email for a while. We are a world trained to answer little red 1’s. Shut off the auto-popups that tell you when mail comes. Kill the audible for it. Do everything you can to limit the INTERRUPTIONS of time to just a single channel, like SMS, so that if someone really needs you, they know they can text you. And if they bug you too much then, consider switching to Google Voice and set up rules for each phone number that bugs you. Problem solved.

How you respect your own time and how you show others the value of your own time is the key here. You can’t shut out the world, but very very few authors get that luxury anyway. Every book I’ve written, I’ve written while running more than one company, while managing a busy speaking schedule, while blogging daily (sometimes more than once a day), while being a dad, and while facing all the other complicated interruptions that life throws your way.

Own this. You can do it.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about discipline. Yes, it’s a series. There are four more posts coming. : )

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