29 Sep 107. Protect Your Writing Capacity
Like every resource you have, your writing capacity is finite.
The good news is you can expand your capacity to write.
But why does this matter?
Because your writing capacity determines how long it’ll take you to write your book and even whether you’ll actually write it at all.
In this episode, discover four simple ways you can protect and nurture your writing capacity.
Mentioned in This Episode
Hey there and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your book coach Candice L. Davis.
I hope your week and your writing are both going really, really well.
Back in the early days of my writing career—when my kids were still small, and actually still homeschooling at that time, they homeschooled through eighth grade for one and until ninth grade for the other—and they were home with me all day, I did not work outside of the home at that time, we were together. All day.
I, of course, had to find time to write within their schedule.
And during that time, one of my mentors told me that when her children were younger, and attending school, they had no talking in the mornings.
They could talk to each other, but they were not allowed to talk to their mother.
Mornings were her best thinking time—so she wasn’t even sitting down to write yet, but this was her best time for thinking.
This was when she processed her ideas.
This was when she coalesced the things that had come to her over previous days or even overnight.
And she was able to do that because she had silence in the morning.
Now some of my colleagues thought that was unkind of her to have her kids unable to speak to her in the morning before they went to school in the morning.
I didn’t see any problem with it, if I’m going to be completely honest with you, as long as her kids were fine with it.
And even if they weren’t necessarily fine with it, you know, sometimes you do what you have to do for your craft, and they have all the rest of the day to talk to their mother.
But the point is that she was protecting her thinking time by not allowing anyone else to intrude into it.
And that is the first thing I recommend you do in order to protect your writing capacity; protect your time for thinking.
When my kids were little and still homeschooling, we had no TV during the week, because you know, social media wasn’t nearly as big as it is now, and they didn’t have phones yet.
So the internet wasn’t necessarily the big distraction, but TV could have been.
So we didn’t turn on the television from Monday until Friday afternoon, Friday evening, Friday night.
That also meant I didn’t have that distraction.
So I got to enjoy the silence and the time to think about my writing or whatever projects I had going on.
You can protect your thinking time by minimizing your consumption. You can do that by getting in the habit of putting down your phone and not constantly scrolling on social media.
Obviously, you can do that by turning off the television or Netflix, right?
You can do that by embracing quiet or silence wherever you can find it.
And that might only be in the car, on the way to work, after you have already dropped off your kids, or it may be in the shower.
But allow that time to be your time. Protect your thinking time.
Don’t let other people infringe upon it. It’s not always easy.
When the phone rings, sometimes you want to jump and get it, but if it’s your thinking time, you can put that phone on Do Not Disturb—I know that’s a hard one I’m gonna talk about it again in a minute, but you can put your phone on Do Not Disturb.
So protect your thinking time.
Second, protect your book idea.
So another way to protect your writing capacity, protect your book idea.
Now I’m not talking about copywriting, you can’t copyright an idea.
And no one can technically steal, under the law, an idea although they can take that idea and beat you to market if it’s something super unique and, you know, they write their book first they win, that’s just the deal with it.
But hopefully your book is unique enough that it will still stand on its own.
So this isn’t so much about preventing people from stealing your idea.
Can’t really steal the idea, but you can kill a book idea.
You can kill a book idea by sharing it with the wrong people.
Do not make the decision of what book to write based on committee.
You don’t need a committee vote to make that decision.
Your mom probably doesn’t know what the best book idea is for you to write.
One of my clients wrote a book that she was really excited about, she was telling her mom about it and her mom said, “Well, who’s gonna buy that? No one’s ever gonna buy that.”
That book has sold very well.
The client sells that book in bulk to school systems all around the country.
But her mother was not the target market for that book, and she had no idea what that target market wanted.
Yes, you can validate your book idea.
You absolutely can.
You can do that by getting a professional’s feedback.
Ask your book coach, ask your instructor in a writing class.
Or you can do that by getting feedback from people who actually would fall under the characteristics of your One Perfect Reader—that one person who you know is waiting for your book, but don’t make this decision by committee.
That is an easy way to kill your book idea.
Protect your writing capacity by protecting your actual writing.
Feedback is so valuable, but you don’t want to get it too early in the process, right?
You don’t want to be sending your rough draft to anyone for feedback.
It’s not ready yet and they’ll be so focused on all the things that you would have found for yourself when you did a second pass of that work, that you won’t get valuable feedback that way.
And when you get feedback, once again just like with your book idea, don’t just get it from anybody.
You can’t just trust anybody with your writing, you have to protect your writing.
Get feedback from a pro, get it from a coach, get it from a qualified editor, get it from a writing instructor.
You can even get feedback at a point in the process from beta readers who reflect your One Perfect Reader.
That’s a process that I share with my coaching clients.
Lastly, protect your writing time.
Now this is so hard for me to do.
It used to be much easier for me to do when my kids lived at home, because I knew I could always get my hands on them at the end of the day.
Now one lives so far away. I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, and she is on the West Coast of Canada and one lives in New Orleans—they’re not close to me.
They’re not physically close to me, but I talk to them every day and I want them to be able to reach me if they need me at any time.
This is all in my head, though. It’s not in their heads.
So I have learned to put my phone on Do Not Disturb—but they know that if they truly need me, they just have to call twice and they are set to come through.
All they have to do is call one more time.
And the call will come through and I will happily answer it with no hard feelings that if they needed me in that moment than they needed me in that moment.
Protect your writing time.
You cannot get the writing done if you are constantly stopping to take care of other people and their immediate needs.
And I know that many of us are accustomed to doing that, particularly women. We are socialized to put everyone else ahead of ourselves and our own goals, right?
But you don’t have to live your life that way. You can make a change.
Protect your writing time, put your writing time on your calendar, not just as a little note on your calendar, but as an appointment that’s blocked as busy.
No one else can have that time. It’s your time. It’s your writing time.
Use alerts and notifications to remind you, “hey, get your mind right in 30 minutes, it’s going to be writing time.”
“Hey, get your mind right in 10 minutes, it’s going to be writing time.”
“Hey close that other document is writing time.”
Protect your writing time—it’s crucial to protecting your writing capacity.
So one of my goals with Authors Ignited, my group coaching program, is to create a space that supports authors in protecting their writing life.
In protecting their writing capacity so they can write their books with confidence and consistency.
I encourage my coaching clients to create space in their lives to think about their book.
Now I can’t come to their house and take their phone out of their hand mid-scroll, but I can give them tools to create that thinking space for themselves.
My coaching clients also get specific steps to follow to validate their book idea.
You can write any book idea that you want.
But if you have specific goals for your book, you want to make sure that you’re writing the book idea, you’re shaping it the way you need to in order to reach those goals.
Once they’ve gone through that process I’m also there as their coach to offer them feedback and look at how they can make that idea even stronger. And I also give them feedback on their outline because that’s what’s going to be the roadmap for how they can actually make that book idea come to life.
My clients also get a specific process they can use to get feedback from readers in their target market—people who represent their One Perfect Reader in a simple, organized way.
And I’m super excited right now to be adding an opportunity for them to protect their writing time with me.
The Virtual Writing Retreat that I held a few weeks ago was so productive for the authors who attended, and I loved it.
I just felt like I was in my element, it was such a joy to host.
So I’m going to be giving my coaching clients something like that on an ongoing basis.
Starting in October we will have regular co-writing sessions together.
This is my way of giving them some compassionate accountability, but also giving them a way to protect their writing time.
All they have to do is show up and write and I will be there to coach them if they get stuck.
Now if that sounds like the kind of support you need to finish writing your book I would love to have you join us in Authors Ignited.
It has grown into such a wonderful community and I’m so proud to be holding the space for these authors to get their writing done.
If you slide in now, the very end of September through the 1st of October you’ll get in before the price increase and I have added a lot of value to this program this year and the price increase will just reflect that value.
It is my mission to make writing the best book you can possibly write a simpler and easier process so you can actually enjoy that process so you can actually enjoy that process along the way.
You can check it out at AuthorsIgnited.com.
That is all for this week’s episode, my friends. Thank you for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m your book coach Candice L. Davis and I’ll see you next time.