One of the biggest deterrents to writing a book is finding the time to write. While you can write a, shall we say, “lesser” book – an ebook or a quickly thrown together collection of blog posts, the book that you’ll use as your brand flagship deserves and needs your time and careful attention.
There are, of course, all the usual ways to dig out the odd hour or two to write, but your authority book will take blocks of concentrated time.
First, think about and clarify your message. How can you best relay that message? What is the actual structure of your book? You may find you need to do further research before you finally start the actual writing.
Think About Your Message
Clarifying your message is not something you can do while waiting at the doctor’s office or on your 20 minute commute to work. You need to set aside one or more two to four hour blocks of uninterrupted time to just think.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who do I want to reach? Who is my reader?
- What is the core message I want to give them?
- What do I want the reader to do with that message?
- What is the end result I want for that reader?
- What is the end result I want for me?
You may already know the answers to some of these questions. Others might need clarification. Take MAKE the time to think through these questions thoroughly.
Once you have answered these questions, you can start laying out your book, brainstorming topics and subtopics, finding a logical order, and developing your outline. These things, too, take a chunk of time; they are more than stray thoughts quickly scribbled on sticky notes. (You can incorporate those stray thoughts – you just need to spend time in order to have something to incorporate them into.)
Pieces of Time
There’s heavy lifting at the beginning of the writing process. When the heavy lifting is done, you’ll be able to complete many parts of your book using those smaller time chunks. This is where all those nifty ways of carving out time come in handy. You can use the odd hour to write part of a chapter or a 20 minute wait to do some quick fact checking.
But put aside another large chunk of time for when you have finished writing. Unless your book is written in self-contained modules, you will need to read through your entire book within a short period of time for clarity, flow, and continuity. If you read a section of your book and can’t get back to read the next section for a couple of days, you are going to miss continuity issues. You’ll find yourself going back to check what you had said previously. It’s better to work through the book in a short time frame to keep things fresh in your mind.
You Need Momentum to Carry You Through
Don’t let anyone fool you – writing a book takes a large time commitment. Even after ten plus years of writing books for myself and others, I still underestimate the amount of time a project will take. (I have learned to pad out my estimations – reality has finally sunk in.)
Before you start, you need to look at the time commitment and block off the time you will need to write your book. Then you will need to add some time as a “fudge factor” – it always takes longer than you thought. Many of the initial Strategy Sessions I book with clients involve creating a custom writing schedule, complete with milestones. I shoot for a combination of ambition and reality. I want you to feel some pressure to get the work done, but I also know that you have a life and a business, and very few people can take a few months off to sit around in their sweatpants and write a book. However, one of the pitfalls of writing a book is that if it takes too long to finish, you will lose momentum and quit. A realistic writing schedule takes all these factors into consideration.
Finally, completing your book comes down to how passionate you are about having your book done. You need to be “all in” on this. A project that you are lukewarm on will take years to complete. If you know you have other projects that will take priority or if the kids are out of school for the summer and you’ll be spending more time with them, then it’s better to push back writing your book until you have the time you need. Just as the best offense is a good defense, the best way to be successful is to not set yourself up for failure.