102. 3 Steps to Make Time to Write in Your Busy Life

When you’ve talked about writing a book for months or years, not getting it done can make you feel guilty, embarrassed, or even like you’ve failed.

Some experts will tell you that if you really wanted to write a book you would have made time to write it by now.

That could be true. But often, it’s a little more complicated than that.

In this episode,  you’ll learn 3 steps you can take to finally make time to write your book.

For more writing tips and inspiration, follow me on Instagram @candiceldavis.

Mentioned in This Episode

Authors Ignited: Group Coaching Program for Nonfiction Authors

Jump-Start: A free guide to help you jump-start your nonfiction book.

Complete Author Coaching (1:1 Coaching)

Miriam Schulman, host of the Inspiration Place Podcast

Episode Transcript

Hey there, and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your Book Coach, Candice L. Davis.

Before we dive into today’s episode on making time to write in a busy life, I want to share an opportunity with you that I’m really excited about.

Several times a year, I take time to shut out the world and just write.

Sometimes, I take a whole day, and sometimes, I take much longer, say a week or 10 days.

My plan is to take a month long sabbatical to just write in 2023.

I often recommend my coaching clients do the same while they’re working on their books.

But especially when you’re writing your first book, a huge block of time you’re supposed to fill with writing can be scary to think about.

How are you going to stay focused?

What if you can’t write when you get there?

How can you keep up your endurance without burning yourself out?

The solution is to start small and don’t do it alone.

Start with one day, not a month.

Write in a community and with a guide who can help you when you get stuck.

I created my one-day Virtual Writing Retreat so you can do just that.

I opened the retreat first to my group-coaching clients in Authors Ignited.

Members of Authors Ignited can attend the retreat for free, as part of their membership, and they can register a plus-one at no cost.

Now, I’m opening the retreat for everyone. And to keep it accessible to as many people as possible, the price is just $97.

Check it out at CandiceLDavis.com/retreat. 

Okay. So let’s dive into how you can make time to write when your life is super busy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time after my 8-week sabbatical over the summer.

A lot of experts will tell you that if you aren’t working on a project, say for instance, your book, it’s because it’s just not a priority for you.

I agree that’s the case some of the time.

But with many of my coaching clients I’ve found it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Your book is a priority. But it’s one of many priorities you’re juggling.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’ve definitely told my husband and my kids they were on their own for meals for a few weeks while I raced to meet a deadline.

Nobody starved, and nobody was traumatized.

My kids are grown now, but if I could turn back time, I’d do it again.

But there are also times when your long list of priorities weigh so heavily on you that it seems impossible to make time to write your book.

I’ve been there with my own writing, and I’ve been there with my clients.

And here’s what I’ve found.

As long as you believe you don’t have time to write, you won’t have time.

The first step to making time to write your book is to start to believe it’s possible for you.

At a conference I spoke to a bright and interesting woman who told me about her book idea.

She was more than qualified to write it, but she claimed she didn’t have time.

She said she was a morning person and felt most creative in the early hours, so I suggested she get up just twenty minutes early every day to write before her young son got up.

“Oh, that will never work,” she said. “My son can just feel when I get up and he’ll come into my room.”

But kids can be taught to respect our boundaries.

I suggested that if her son woke up, she simply teach him to go back to bed and read a book or play with a toy until she got him up.

But no matter what I suggested, she had a reason why she couldn’t make time to write her book.

More than ten years later, she and I are still social media friends, and she still hasn’t written her book.

And I believe that’s largely because she convinced herself it was impossible to make time to write with everything else she had going on.

You can make time for you book. How do you know?

Have you ever made time for other priorities you thought would never fit in your life?

If your mother or best friend or partner or boss needed you to carve out time for something important would you?

Has anyone else with a schedule and a lifestyle like yours ever written a book. 

If you’ve been telling yourself and other people you don’t have time to write a book for months or even years now, you may have to do some work to convince your brain that’s not true.

When you have that thought or when you say it out loud, don’t just let it stand.

Question it until you see how it’s not true for you.

The second step to make time to write your book is to let go of all the ideas of what you think that has to look like.

Early in my writing career, I used to read a lot about the writing routines of successful authors.

Maya Angelou went to a tiny hotel room to write for about five hours every day.

Stephen King wrote for about four hours a day.

One of my mentors wrote in bed through the morning and early afternoon, at least ten pages a day 

I thought there was some right way they did it, and I wanted the secret.

In the end, I figured out I had to make my writing routine suit my schedule and my lifestyle.

That has changed a lot over the years as my lifestyle has changed.

Listen. Writing a book is like any other project.

There are definitely some best practices. You can and should learn from people who have successfully done what you want to do.

But there’s no one right way. 

That brings us to the third step.

The third step is to make time to write your book is to experiment.

One of my good friends, who has written several books, started this year with a plan to write every Sunday so she could finish her next book.

She has a growing business to run.

She has elderly relatives for whom she provides some light care.

She has a husband who has designed his work life to spend plenty of free time with her.

And you know what?

Writing on Sundays hasn’t worked out for her.

Those work projects have spilled over into the weekend because her business took a giant leap in its growth this year. 

Her elderly relatives had some needs that didn’t limit themselves to weekdays.

But rather than beat herself up and give up on her book, she changed her plan.

For a while she tried writing at lunchtime, but it was hard for her to shut out the world.

Now she’s writing in the early mornings before she joins her husband for a cup of coffee.

And if that setup stops working, she’ll try something else.

Stop expecting everything you try to make time to write your book to work and to work forever.

If your writing schedule doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up.

That’s not a failure. It’s just information.

Assess why that time doesn’t work for you and then try something else.

When you find a writing schedule that works, lock it in.

But keep in mind that as your life changes you may have to adjust your writing schedule accordingly.

Listen. Many professional writers—meaning people who write for a living—have a writing schedule locked in. 

They have to or they can’t produce the work that pays the bills.

But just as many professional writers, many of whom have other day jobs, have to fit writing in where they can get it in.

Deciding to write a book doesn’t make the other demands on your time automatically go away.

Take ownership of your writing time.

Start by believing you can make time to write your book. Convince your brain this is the case.

Because if you don’t believe it’s possible, it ain’t ever gonna happen.

Then let go of all the stereotypes and ideas about what a successful writing schedule must look like.

And finally, be willing to experiment until you find a writing schedule that works for you.

It doesn’t matter if that’s every day, once a week, or one week per month, as long as you’re making progress with your book.

That’s all for this week’s episode, friends.

If you want to make some time for your book, I’d love to have you join us for my one-day Virtual Writer’s Retreat, online, on Sunday, September 11th.

This is going to be a day of writing, coaching, getting your questions answered and writing some more. 

Register at CandiceLDavis.com/retreat. I hope to see you there.

Thanks for listening to “Nothing but the Words.” I’m Your Book Coach Candice L. Davis and I’ll see you next time.

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