Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where Can I Find The Time To Write My Book?

When you endeavor to write a book, especially for the first time, it is very important to set aside specific time to write it.  Writing on a regular basis is a new habit that you need to learn. Just like every other thing in life that you do all the time, you had to discipline yourself to do it regularly.

In my own experience and when helping clients with time management it is important to set aside your high energy time when you need to write.  The other important things to consider are your schedule, the deadline you have for finishing your writing project and how much time you need to spend writing to meet your deadline.

The way we’re going to figure this out is to work backwards to find where you have available time and how much you need. We will use an example project to do the figuring and then you can insert your dates, deadlines and numbers. Then you can do the math to figure the details for your writing project.

First, let’s look at your project deadline. Let’s say you have 6 months to write your book. 

Second, let’s look at how much time you need to write the book. Let’s say you will write 12 chapters. (That means you will write approximately 2 chapters each month). You can’t count on that 100% because some will probably take more or less time than others, but at least it gives you a guideline. You also have to take into account the time you will need to go back and read what you’ve written. Of course, we all tend to make changes when we reread our stuff.

Third, in order to write 2 chapters a month how much time do you need?  Now this is the most individualized part of this equation. Some people can sit down and write and everything just flows from their fingertips onto the paper. Others sit and dwell and stare at the computer hoping the words will flow from their fingertips. You know which person you are and should plan accordingly.

For the sake of argument let’s say a chapter will take you 6 hours to write. That means about 12 hours each month.  That can break down several ways. It is 40 minutes a day, 2 hours every 3 days, 3 hours a week and so on.

Decide on what is a realistic time limit for you to set. Forty minutes a day versus 3 hours every Saturday require different disciplines. Which fits who you are?

Now comes the time to look at your schedule. Do you work all week and have to write on the weekends? Do you work all week long but would like to get up early or stay up late to do the writing daily? What feels right to you? Which do you really think you can commit to doing regularly?

Lastly, let’s look at your energy level. When are you at your absolute best? Is it in the morning with your coffee?  Do you get that sudden burst of energy right after lunch? Do you work best at night when perhaps it’s quieter and you can really work without disruption from phones or emails? Maybe you have certain days or nights when your spouse or kids are out and that is the time to take advantage of for your new endeavor.

Whatever you choose for your schedule, make a real commitment to it. It can always be tweaked if you need it to be. Sometimes the most difficult part is the planning, but think how wonderful and proud you will feel once you’ve completed your book.

The idea is to have your writing become a habit. The habit only has to work for YOU! Writing, just like everything in life, is not one size fits all. Find what works for you in your life. Once you’ve become accustomed to doing it regularly and see the progress you’re making it will be magical! Enjoy it!

1 comment:

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