One of the legitimate concerns people face when it comes to writing a book (or even a blog) is finding time to write. Believe it or not, as a well-published author, I can sympathize. I’m always writing or editing for my clients—that’s my job! What often feels like a struggle, however, is finding time to do my own writing.
I’ve learned there are three things you can do to find time to write what really matters to you, especially when it comes to writing and finishing a book. At first glance, these three things might seem obvious. And in one sense, they are, but then . . . why don’t you do them? Because you still haven’t prioritized yourself and your writing.
Here are three things you can do right now to find time to write:
- Value What You Have to Say.If you question the value of what you have to say (the legitimacy of your expertise or the importance of your life experience), you will always put off your writing. When you doubt the ideas and solutions you have to offer others, you end up dealing with a project for work, cleaning your desk, or tackling whatever has climbed highest on your “to do” list, instead of writing. The minute you really believe, even a little bit, that you have something valuable to say that will help people, you will make the time to write.
- Determine What Time of Day Your Brain Thinks Best.When you begin writing on any project (a book or a blog), it’s best to allow yourself time to freewrite whatever comes to mind without censoring yourself. This is sometimes called content dumping. Ultimately, though, great writing is not just plopping words helter skelter on a page. You need to organize and develop your thoughts so they make sense to your reader. That type of intellectual work means you need focused time to think and write well. Ideally, then, you should identify the best hours during the day when your mind is rested, strong, and clear. For me, that’s in the morning. If I must, I can write at night, but it’s not much fun, and I’m easily inclined to put writing off when I’m tired.
- Block Out Writing Time Consistently Throughout Your Week.Once you’ve determined when your brain works best for focused thinking, block out at least one hour of time to write at that exact time. For me, blocking from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. BEFORE I read email, check social media, or do anything else works best for me. Sometimes I block out three hours in the morning to write. You get to choose what time works best for you and your brain. Then don’t allow anything except a legitimate emergency to interfere with that time on your calendar. If you schedule and guard your time to write, you will write.
Once you consciously build a writing habit into your calendar, you’ll also build the momentum and the confidence to keep writing. You won’t keep putting it off. Neil Fiore, PhD, author of The Now Habit, says, “People don’t procrastinate just to be ornery or because they’re irrational. They procrastinate because it makes sense, given how vulnerable they feel to criticism, failure, and their own perfectionism.”
Finding time to write can happen in an instant when you believe in yourself, even a little bit. As soon as you ignore your inner critic and any nagging fears about what other people might think or whether you’re good enough to become the author of a book, finding time to write consistently becomes a breeze.