12 Easy Ways to Make Time to Write a Book

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Lisa TenerDo you have a great book idea, but keep putting off the writing?

I get it. You’re busy. Who has time to write a book, really?

But, remember why you’re so excited about this book. Wouldn’t it be great to write the darn thing already?

How to Make Time to Write a Book

You can make time to write a book no matter how busy you are. And, in the end, you’ll be so grateful that you did make the time to write. Here are 12 easy ways to get started:

  1. No More Yes-Man (or Woman): When someone asks you to do something for them, first ask yourself, “How will saying ‘yes’ to this impact my book?” This one reality-check should help you preserve any time you free up. Cathy Turney, author of the Stevie-Award winning Laugh Your Way to Real Estate Sales Success, “converted this tip to a yellow-sticky and posted it over my kitchen and bathroom sinks.” Make that two yellow stickies. “It’s the first thing I see when my eyes focus in the morning!”
  2. Clone Yourself: Are you one of those people who gets asked to serve on volunteer committees and then becomes the person everyone counts on? Volunteerism is a wonderful thing but not while you’re writing your book. When an aspiring author told me she was indispensible on a fundraising committee for an annual event, I encouraged her to find her replacement. She did and wrote her book!
  3. Go to Bed: This idea came up in my 8 week book writing course and I can’t take credit for it. One of the participants said she was going to bed an hour early and waking up an hour early to write. Guess what? She not only wrote her book in 8 weeks but inspired several classmates to join the early to bed club. Carrie Barron, MD, author of The Creativity Cure, shares, “Ever since I saw the artist Louise Bourgeois’s show Drawings From Sleep, I became aware that for me, the best time to write is when I roll out of bed. The unconscious brims with images and affects  and I can catch the tail end of that deep state. Because I’m groggy, I’m less inclined to let my critical voice curb the process,  so it’s easier to get that first draft down. It’s so quiet and peaceful in the morning, too.”
  4. Practice “no”: All kinds of opportunities will come up to “not write.” Practice saying ‘no’ ahead of time—try it in front of a mirror or role-play with a friend if you’re one of those people who has trouble saying ‘no.’
  5. Freeze Your Food: Doing less cooking can free up time. Make big meals and freeze them or order healthy take-out a couple times a week. Cathy Turney says she buys individual frozen entrees for herself and her husband, and prepares a salad or veggie to accompany the entrees, plus wine and dessert. “It freed up HOURS of menu planning, shopping, food prep and clean up because I just go to the frozen section of the store and choose from  their amazing variety and then hit the vegetable aisle. An added bonus: I dropped a pants size without even trying!”
  6. Write Early: You and I both know that the things you do first in your day get done and those you leave for later tend not to. If you put emails, texts and social media before writing, they can easily eat up every hour of the day. Spend an hour or two on your book in the morning before going social. After writing, you can take up the tasks that tend to expand to fill the time. Chris Spurvey, author of Time to Sell, says, “I forced myself to become a morning person and integrated writing into my morning routine. I’ve been practicing it now for over a year.” His morning routine has resulted in a bestselling book, which sold 10,000 copies the first month, and 75+ articles in a bit over a year.

Lisa Tener

  1. Get Rid of Something: What’s one activity you can give up or do less of? Commit to putting it off until your book is written.
  2. Hermit-ize: Warn your friends and family that you’ll be less social while working on your book. Go back to #1 when those social invitations come in. Can you be social at all? Sure. See tip #9. Cathy Turney adds, “And return every phone call you can late in the afternoon – after you run out of creativity and your callers run out of steam.”
  3. Treat Yourself: Only allow yourself to go out in the evening if you’ve earned it by writing that day. Or find other ways to reward yourself later in the day after you’ve put in your writing time.
  4. Make a Sign: Avoid interruptions by putting a “do not disturb” sign on your office during writing time. You can have fun with this and write something playful, “Genius at work,” “Bestseller in the making”—something that will put a smile on your face, as well as the face of anyone who reads it. On “removing” herself from family, Carrie Barron shares, “I have had those guilty pangs but my family understands when I remove myself. I think it has had a couple of side benefits. My kids see me concentrating and they are developing that habit, too. Also, because I’m less available they have learned some self reliance.”
  5. Turn ’em Off: Avoid email, texts, calls, etc. by turning office devices or notifications. Or go somewhere without your phone/device, such as your local library.
  6. Squeeze it In: Have a notebook or device handy for times when you’re waiting—at a doctor’s appointment, in line at the DMV or picking a child up from school. If you’re organized and you outline, even 15 minutes can be productive.

Lisa TenerEven if you free up time for your book, if you don’t actually stick to the time, it’s meaningless. So, schedule specific times in your calendar and stick to them. Perhaps you need a writing buddy, coach or class to help you be accountable. Get whatever support you need to stick to the writing.

Looking for more guidance for starting and completing your book? Join Lisa Tener and Samantha Bennett for a free call to get the guidance you need to “Jump Start Your Book.”

Lisa TenerAuthor of this Post: Lisa Tener is the recipient of the Silver Stevie Award for Mentor/Coach of the Year 2014. You can also read Lisa’s book writing blog or find her articles on writing and publishing on the Huffington Post. Be sure to check out her blog.

 

Author of the Blog/WebsiteAuthors: Not Sure What to Tweet? Try These 44 Tweets Today by Frances Caballo, AuthorFrances Caballo is an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s written several books including Social Media Just for Writers and Avoid Social Media Time Suck. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.

 

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Comments

  1. Mike Croghan says:

    Hello, Ms. Caballo. As I put the finishing touches on a manuscript (literary fiction/historical novel), I need to get to work in a parallel universe; building a social media platform. I figure to start with a blog and website. Do you hire out as a coach for writers like me? I have prepared a dozen posts ready for publishing on a site. I need someone to show me how to set up and manage the blogs. Please let me know if you are interested in coaching me how to get a site started and how to manage it. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

    • Mike: Congratulations on finishing your novel! I love historical fiction, by the way. I don’t build websites but if you have a blog on your WordPress website, I can show you how to update it. Your webmaster can also help you do this. My usual focus is social media marketing for authors. Be sure to fill out the contact page on my website here and let me know specifically the type of help you need. I’m always glad to give you some pointers. Thanks!

  2. Hi, Frances. Great advice. A guy’s addition to the list. Discourage phone calls. It’s far too easy to go nowhere on the phone. I ask them to please email. (If my house is on fire, then call–and bring a bucket!) I particularly liked the suggestion to call late in the afternoon, if they don’t email. If I have no idea who they are, calling them a bit before supper time seems fair. Particularly if I think they are selling something. Stay mended.

  3. Thanks for sharing this again as we get ready for this year’s free call. Sam and I are excited to offer “How to Write a Book that Transforms Your Readers’ Lives!” on January 25!

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