You’ve decided to write a book. What’s more, you know what you want to write about. Congratulations are in order for a great start! Most people don’t get that far. But now it’s time to find the time to actually sit down and write your book, and bring it to life.
Maybe you have four kids, or two jobs, or a challenging health condition, or a busy modern life. The good news, however, is that for most people, whatever might be standing in the way of your literary ambitions can be managed with some organization and effort. (I’ll also be here to cheer you on.)
Today I’d like to share some tips that I hope will help you finally find the time to write your book.
Examine and Prioritize
Write down what your average weekly schedule looks like. Do you go to work? Do you take your kids or grandkids to school? Do you volunteer, go to church, take music lessons? Do you go to the grocery store, cook, wash the car, clean the house, do the laundry, walk the dog, pay bills? Do you watch TV, do yoga, go to concerts, go out in the evening with friends? Whatever it is that you typically do, just write it all down! From what hour to what hour in the day do you do these things?
Now take a closer look at your average schedule and be honest with yourself. How many one- to two-hour blocks of time can you find in your schedule? (For a very busy person, just one to two hours is all the time that you need to block out for a writing session.) Or how many blocks of time could you carve out? You might find that you watch more TV than you realize. Are you willing to cut back a little in order to realize your literary dreams? Or you might decide that you could go to the grocery store once a week instead of three times a week.
The key is to prioritize. Do you really want to write a book? Whatever your weekly schedule looks like, and no matter how difficult it may seem at first, chances are that you will be able to reallocate some of your time for something that is truly important to you.
Writing a book is like running a race. But wouldn’t you like to know how far you need to run? That way you can better allot your time and energy, and ensure that you reach the finish line.
First, determine how long your book will be. For a nonfiction book, try to aim for 40,000 to 50,000 words. For a fiction book, try to aim for 80,000 to 100,000 words.
Next, think about how many blocks of time you found available in your weekly schedule from the section above. How many of them are you willing to dedicate to your writing sessions?
Then, consider how much you actually write. The last few times you wrote, how many words did you write each time? 100 words? 1,000 words? How many words do you think you can realistically commit to writing during each writing session?
Now do the math and create your writing goal.
Here’s one example. Let’s say that Amy wants to write a nonfiction book. She decides to aim for a book length of 45,000 words. In her weekly schedule she found five one- to two-hour blocks of time available; however, she decides that she can only commit four of them to writing sessions. In addition, she believes that she writes an average of 500 words in a writing session and can easily commit to maintaining that same pace. Doing the math, Amy sets herself a goal of completing the first draft of her book in 5 to 6 months.
Practice Makes Perfect
Writing is a habit like any other. Forming new habits may come more easily to some than others, but with practice I’m certain that you too can acquire this new habit and complete the book you’ve been wanting to write – and sooner than you think.
Reward yourself when you meet your weekly writing goals. Do something you enjoy or for your self-care. You will really start to look forward to meeting those goals.
However, don’t do the inverse! Don’t punish yourself when you don’t meet your weekly writing goals. Life happens and stuff comes up. There’s no need to beat yourself up about it. Just think about what you can do to make sure that you meet your writing goal the next week. If you do, you could be holding the completed first draft of your book just a few short months from now.
Dudley Court Press
Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a full-service, hybrid publishing house, we help thoughtful people write their books and become successful published authors.
For more information, including about DCP’s latest programs including Writer’s Sprint, Memoir Writing Made Easy and Aspiring Author to Published Pro, please get in touch at publisher@DudleyCourtPress.com.