The 67,000 mile-an-hour Book
Don’t have time to write a book? Read on…
We’re hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour. And the Earth is spinning at around 1,000 miles per hour. (Sometimes I spin around my office at these speeds.)
That spin gives us days that are 23 hours and 56 minutes long, and years made up of 365.24 days.
We all have that amount of time.
So why do some people get tons of writing done, and others struggle to make any progress at all?
Time is relative. It changes depending on your frame of reference. I’m not talking about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity here; I’m assuming you’re not travelling close to the speed of light. I’m talking about your frame of reference. Your life.
We all have the same number of hours in the day, but we don’t all the same amount of time available to us to write.
Which is why I’d like you to ignore all the bro-marketers who bellow at us that we just need to FOCUS and if we can’t get it done we don’t want it enough. They might as well be walking along in front of us, ringing a bell, shrieking SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
Don’t get me wrong: we do need to focus if we want to write a book.
And there’s no point in trying to write a book if you don’t really want to.
But to suggest you’re struggling because you’re just not trying hard enough is bullshit.
I’m not here to bestow upon you a magical time-maximising hack or trick that’ll suddenly make your other responsibilities disappear. Those things don’t really exist, no matter how much we’d like them to.
What CAN you do?
Instead, I want you to think about what you can achieve, when you can achieve it, and concentrate on doing that.
Starting with this contrary idea: you don’t necessarily need to drop everything else in your life and business to get your book done.
It’s great if you can drop everything, and I’ll come back to that shortly; but for a lot of business owners, it’s not a realistic aim. You might have children, a family to take care of, your customers and clients to look after, and your business to run. So time is going to be more limited for you than for someone who, say, doesn’t have children.
I’d like you to try a few different tactics and find out what works for you, and how you can make the most of the time you have to write your book and write it brilliantly.
What works well for me, or for another writer, might not work for you at all. So pick one of the following ideas and give it a try for a week. If it works, stick with it. If it doesn’t, try another idea and see if that works for you.
- Time blocking. Look at your calendar and see where you can set aside blocks of time. Maybe you can carve out two hours twice a week to get a chunk of work done on your book. Spread them out so you don’t leave too much time between writing sessions.
- An hour a day. Dedicate the first hour of each day to writing your book. Maybe that means getting up a little earlier for a few weeks to savour some uninterrupted writing time. Or dedicate the last hour of each day to writing, instead, if you tend to be more creative and productive in the evening.
- Weekend writer. Could you dedicate Saturday and Sunday mornings to writing your book if you find you have spare time at the weekend?
- Sprints. This is all about setting your priority for the month. Instead of trying to complete 17 different projects all at once (yes, I see you!), instead set one priority for the month: your book. All that time you’d otherwise spend switching from task to task, instead dedicate it to your book. You’ll achieve far more this way, and then when your book is done you can move onto the next project and sprint that.
- The grand gesture. If you are able to set aside a week or a fortnight, do it! I went away for a week to Lanzarote to write How The Hell Do You Write A Book and I’ve never been so productive. Not everyone will be able to do this, of course, but if you can… do it. It doesn’t have to be abroad. Just a change of environment for a week and turn off all your distractions.
- 5-minute mini-miracle-sessions. In contrast to the grand gesture, you will be amazed at how much you can achieve in 5 minutes. It doesn’t have to be just 5 minutes, of course. The idea is to not get hung up on making sure you have big blocks of time to write in. If that’s not possible — and it isn’t for a lot of business owners — instead, learn to use the time you have.
Find what works for YOU
The 5-minute mini-miracle-sessions have been a revelation for me. I used to waste so much time because I thought there was no point trying to write if I had only a few minutes, so I wouldn’t do anything. I’d faff.
Now, though, I try to spend those few minutes — sometimes just 5 minutes, sometimes 20 — writing.
If I can’t settle down to write something substantial, I’ll scribble notes. The opening of a chapter. An idea for a call to action. The outline of a quick story. Then when I do have more time, I use that time more productively.
Remember you don’t have to actually be sitting down to write, either. Use the voice note feature on your smartphone. Perhaps you go out for a walk every day — in that case, can you use your voice recorder to speak your book? You can edit it later.
If you really want to write your book, you’ll be able to do it. You just need to find the method that works best for you.
More articles on book writing:
Write Your Book’s Introduction In 3 Simple Steps
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”