'I don't have TIME to write a book!' and other bollocks excuses...

how to find the time to write a book

'I'm definitely going to write a book soon....'

'It's ALWAYS been a dream of mine to write a book but....'

'I'm going to get it started, when I've done...'

'I've written the first chapter, but I just need to...'

You get the idea. Man I could go on. And on. Seriously, if I had a unit of currency for every occasion I've heard TIME being given as a reason for someone to not have written the book, that they so passionately claim they want to do, then I would be a rich, rich woman. RICH I tell you. RICH.

So it's time to put this to rest, once and for all. (Oh if only. I predict I will be ranting about this for many years to come). If you ACTUALLY want to write a book and ACTUALLY want to work out how you can kick the thorny issue of time into touch, then read on.

If you're happier cuddling your security blanket of how busy you are then - see ya!

It's always good when we get rid of the tourists. Gives us the chance to spread out a bit. 

Right, since this is about time, I'll stop wasting it and crack on.

If you are telling yourself that you want to write a book and you don't have the time, it's entirely possible that you might genuinely believe this is true. OR, equally likely, on one level, you might secretly know that it's a bollocks excuse. Because yes, it's not a reason, it IS an excuse. Let's look at why shall we and you can decide...

1. NOT KNOWING YOUR WHY

Ok, OK, I know everyone is always banging on about your 'WHY' and how apparently you need to find it, nurture it, carry it round in your pocket like a greedy tamagotchi. But this is for good reason, because your WHY is your motivational petrol to get you up an hour earlier, to not watch Real Housewives, to stop dicking about on Twitter.  

For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going to assume that you're writing a book that relates to your day job, but this could equally apply to writing that 150,000 word epic fantasy novel written in blank verse that you KNOW is deep down in your soul. But it's my blog post so I'm going with my scenario. 

Meet Olivia*. Olivia is a health and wellbeing coach who for the last couple of years has built a successful business helping women get in shape physically and mentally, both in person and online. She has developed a programme that kicks absolute and literal ass, getting her clients amazing results. She's pretty packed out with all the 1:1 clients she can take on, so is starting to look at how she can run a group programme to leverage her time a little better. A couple of her clients have said they think the work she's done with them would make a great book, and so the seed of an idea is planted.

So Olivia** comes to talk to me, and is frankly a bit sceptical about the whole thing. She points to her insanely well planned out schedule full of coaching calls and marketing her business and shrugs. See? she says - no time. 

So I ask Olivia*** where she wants to take her business in the next year and she tells me about her idea for a group programme - and goes off on a frankly slightly boring tangent about the size of her email list****. Where things start to get more interesting is when we get to the part about what having a packed out group programme would mean to her if she pushed ahead with it - for her business, for her personally, for her work/life balance (never mind her bank balance). Now she has a prize on which to afix her eyes.

[DING] And here we have the answer to bollocks excuse No.1. If you want to FIND the time, then you need a really compelling reason to MAKE the time.

If our fictional friend Olivia, is going to go to the trouble of creating a group programme that she wants to pack out, scale and grow year after year to leverage her time and grow her income then writing a book as a marketing tool to accomplish this goal is going to be well worth her time. 

Maybe for 3 months she drops 1 client to give her some 1 hour blocks of time back into her calendar - because she knows she's going to make up the revenue when she launches her programme. Or maybe she gets up an hour earlier every day (which let's be honest, does suck because the poor girl already has her first client at 6.30am*****).  

But the book is not *only* going to be a tool to get people into her programme. It's also going to generate new leads into her business, it's going to establish her as an authority in her field (which let's face it, is a pretty crowded one), it's going to score her some pretty nifty PR opportunities, it's going to grow her platform, and let's not forget one of the most important things - it's also going to share her successful techniques to support and improve the lives of thousands of women. That's a far greater impact than she could ever make with just a 1:1 business model.

So now Olivia can see that, actually, it's worth making the time to make this happen and that there are other things in her business that can take a back seat for a couple of months.

So we're just about to get started, me and Olivia****** when up pops Time excuse No.2.

2. GETTING OVERWHELMED

How do you eat an elephant?

[DING DING] She's panicking. An hour a day - yes, doable. But HOW ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH is she possibly supposed to actually write a book in that time. What to do! What to do! What to do! Oh my, the overwhelm. What to put in, what to leave out. WHERE TO START. (where to finish?). And now poor Olivia simultaneously manages to be frenzied and frozen. Fronzied if you will. 

Once again, it easier to throw around ' I haven't got TIME' than it is to sit down and thinly slice an elephant.

Because of course, as we all know, that is the best way to eat one.  

So we sit, and we look at her business, and we look how she helps her clients and we look at what she wants the reader to gain from the experience of reading her book and post-it note by post-it note we map, map, map it out. Until she knows exactly what she needs to go away and write in each little chunk of time.

Aaah, we're getting there, I think. And go and put on the kettle.*******

But no - here comes the despondency and desolation. 

3. IMPOSTER SYNDROME

[DING DING miserable DING] Time excuse No.3 has raised its pernicious head. And this one, I'm not going to lie, is a fucker. 

'You know what' she (doesn't actually) say... (I'm losing count of how many stars I need to do in the footnotes TL,DR: I made her up). 'I don't know why I bothered to make the time to write this and get it all planned out.'

'OK' I say, reaching for an emergency biscuit.

She goes on:

 'Who on earth am I to write a book? Why should anyone want to read what I've got to say? Why would anyone follow my advice? I'm not an expert'

'Well no, you've only trained for several years, coached masses of women and transformed several lives, enough to build a thriving business out of it, but I hear what you're saying'

Olivia rolls her beautiful -and again, entirely fictitious - blue eyes at me, but I press on:

'If you can help ONE person with your book, you have a responsibility to them to get it written. You have a story to tell and a process to help people and you have a unique voice with which to tell it. Do you think all the hundred of authors that I've worked with over the last 20 years******** haven't felt the same trepidation about whether their words would find an audience? Resonate with them? Move them? Inspire them? It's something that every writer feels, but the successful ones are those that carry on, despite all that. They push past that fear ... and besides. You know if you don't write this, some other lycra-clad lunatic will?'

'I get it now' she replies. 'And you know what? Ive figured out something more scary than writing it. NOT writing it'

B.I.N.G.O

{and scene}

So there we have it. 3 reasons why, when you say you don't have time to write a book, you're talking certifiable bollocks.

You're welcome.

(*Olivia is completely made up so I don't have to use a 150K word epic fantasy novel as an example)

(**Just to remind you, Olivia isn't real and this conversation never took place)

(***again, this conversation - not real)

(**** you'd think in this fictional conversation I'd be able to get her to stick to the point a little better)

(***** once again, she's not real. save your tears)

(******you've still remembered that she's made up, right?)

(*******My imaginary kettle. I mean, I've got a real kettle obviously)

(********Now these are real people, definitely not made up. They are on your bookshelf RIGHT NOW)

 

Jessica Killingley