There are a lot of factors to consider when you decide to write a book.
One of the most nagging questions is, “How will I find the time to write this book?”
A lot of it is a matter of commitment. If you’re not 100% dedicated to finishing a book, you’re going to keep putting it off. Everything else, from washing the car to making dinner to finally weeding the garden, is going to take priority.
Rather than considering your book something to do in your spare time—as if any of us really have spare time!—make it a priority.
Here are six ways to take your book off the back burner and finally make the time to write.
1. Schedule It
Making a determined commitment and then sitting down with your calendar is a good approach.
Instead of trying to find a few minutes here and there to work on your book, try to block out dedicated time on your calendar on a consistent basis to keep you moving forward.
- Morning person? – Get up earlier to write.
- Night owl? – Find time when the house is quiet in the evening, after everyone else has turned in.
- TV hound? – Figure out which shows are your personal “must-see TV.” Watch only those, and use your newfound “extra” time to write.
- Lunch time? – If you have an hour, use part of that time to write.
When you look at your schedule, make appointments with yourself to write as if it was an appointment with your doctor or accountant.
If you work at home, take a few minutes between appointments to write.
Whatever you do, find a way to write regularly so you get into the habit. When you do that, finding time to write will be easier.
2. Set Boundaries
Writing is just as serious as any other activity you might pursue, from a project for your day job to doing the laundry. And because of that, you can and should protect your writing time. After all, you wouldn’t let someone start begging you to go to the movies when you were trying to finish a report for your day job, right?
Don’t let them do it when you’re writing, either!
Have a conversation with your family about why you are writing this book and why you need time to concentrate so they will understand the importance of letting you have some undisturbed time.
Reassure them that you will make time for them, too! The goal is to strike a balance between writing time and family time. Plan a family activity that everyone will look forward to after you are finished writing for the day or week.
Children understand what needs to be done when they need to finish an assignment in school, so relate your writing to an assignment you need to finish.
Try getting them involved with helping you write. Make a decorated sign together with your younger children to put on your office door that lets them know you are writing. This will remind them to check to see if someone else can help them before knocking.
Ask for help to take care of the children’s requests before you start to write, so that someone else will be on call.
3. Work in Bursts
Many people have very busy schedules, and so they say they have no time to write. But even 15 minutes of focused energy will yield results!
Ditch the excuses and start writing instead. Find 15 minutes in your day, maybe between appointments or on your lunch break, and start writing regularly then.
4. Challenge Yourself
No matter how much time you have to write or where you’re wedging it into your day, you can get more done by setting challenges for yourself.
Writing sprints are a fun, fast-paced way to compete with yourself for records. Set a phone timer for, say, 15 minutes and see how much you can get done in the time allotted.
No phones, email, or other distractions allowed! It’s just you and your writing.
Then, in your next sprint, see if you can beat the number of words you got done in the first one.
5. Switch Techniques
The physical act of writing can be a release for some of us, but it can be a challenge for others. Often, our thoughts come faster than our fingers can type or our hands can write, slowing things down and becoming frustrating.
Instead of writing, try dictating your book using software made for that purpose, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which will turn your words into text.
I recommend starting first with the built-in computer system software to see if that works for you. If not, then turn to the paid versions. Check for reviews and talk to people who have tried the software so you can make an informed decision.
6. Get Support
One more way to help get your book done is to get encouragement from people in a writer’s group. You can join one online or look in your local area.
I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art to any aspiring writer. He talks about what he calls the Resistance, that little voice that keeps telling you it can’t be done. We must press on past this point.
While I was writing my latest book, I belonged to a book coaching program where I met regularly with a coach and other writers by teleconference. The group provided great support and encouragement, not only for feedback but also to keep myself accountable to getting my book done.
The best recommendation I received for getting my book done was to block out time on my calendar on a regular basis.
There are some great calendars you can print for free at StudentHandouts.com under Calendars and Planners that will help you get started with scheduling your time for writing.
When you decide to commit to writing and deliberately schedule time, you will make progress and see that your book gets done in less time than you thought.
Do you have any favorite techniques to make more time to write?
Share them in the comments!
Want to learn even more ways to find time to write? Read on!
- 9 Calendar Hacks to Maximize Your Productivity
- Planning for Productivity: Accelerate Your Success by Planning Right
- The Best Writing Tip Ever: How I Doubled My Daily Word Count With One Simple Change
Latest posts by Maria Luchsinger (see all)
- How to Make Time to Write a Book: 6 Ways to Make Writing Happen - August 3, 2017