10 Jan 39. Writing in the Middle of Madness
Writing a book is easier said than done with so much going on in the world.
Yet, many people are still getting it done.
In this episode, I walk you through 6 of the most effective tools my author-coaching clients and I are using to write our books.
You can’t necessarily alter the circumstances swirling around you right now, but you can change how you handle them.
It doesn’t matter how crazy things are, you can still write.
Use these tools and finally get your book written. We’re doing it, and so can you.
Mentioned in This Episode
Hey there. Welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.
As I record this episode, the current occupant of the White House has coronavirus and is continuing to flaunt his disdain for science, endangering other people by refusing to wear a mask or take other precautions.
Flu season is coming and doctors are warning that it’s going to be a double whammy with COVID-19.
We’re facing a presidential election with major threats to the voting process.
I still go to stores and see arrogant, entitled individuals who refuse to wear masks, even when the stores require it.
The country is more divided than ever it has been possibly since the Civil War—and its divided over something that should actually be bringing us together, a common enemy that can kill any one of us but is much more likely to kill those of us who are black or brown or poor.
Millions of people in this country have been out of work for months and have no hope of employment in the coming months.
Food banks are feeling the strain of the high number of unemployed people who can no longer feed their families on their own.
Some of us want to act but feel overwhelmed by the need—food banks, detention centers, police brutality, a corrupt justice system, a decaying political system. We don’t have a clue where to start.
And all of that is just in the U.S. My friends and clients in other countries are dealing with their own set of challenges wrought by COVID-19.
And through all of this, you still have a book you want to write.
Everything I said there still stands, but today, I want to tell you how I’ve kept writing consistently throughout the pandemic.
I’m fortunate to have the experience of writing dozens of books before the pandemic started. And I recognize that gives me a head start.
However, I also have at least a dozen clients who have finished or nearly finished writing their first books during this time of crisis.
They’re just like you. So it’s doable for you too.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’ve been ill or caring for sick loved ones, or if you’ve been dealing with anxiety or depression, if you’re overwhelmed, this might not be the right time to write you book.
Taking care of yourself should be your top priority.
If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression or other mental health issues made worse by these circumstances, this isn’t the time to beat yourself up for not writing a book.
Your physical and mental wellbeing come first.
Even if this hasn’t been a particularly tough time for you, it’s a strange time for all of us.
Maybe you’ve decided this isn’t the time for you to write a book, and that’s more than reasonable.
But if you have the bandwidth, and you’re still not writing, you can change that today.
Over the last six months, I’ve been worked with several ghostwriting or co-writing clients to get their books over the finish line, and they’ll all be done by the end of the year.
I’ve also coached many more authors to write and publish their books.
Here’s how my clients and I are getting our books written in the midst of all this madness.
The first thing many of us do is to block writing times and/or writing days.
Many of my coaching clients are still running businesses, working full-time jobs, or both, while they write their books. They have families to take care of and spend time with.
Choosing a writing day or a writing time means you choose not to do other things in that time. Fridays are a writing day for me, so for the most part, I choose not to meet with clients on Fridays.
I also know I can’t work on some of the other ideas I have in mind right now. I have a list of programs I want to create, but right now, that time goes to writing.
Sometimes you have to decide to put other things on the back burner in order to get your book written.
Setting your writing times or your writing days sounds like a great practice, and it is. But the trick is to actually stick to them.
One of my clients who owns her own business blocked Thursdays as her content creation days. Those were her days to work on her book, write blog posts, research podcast ideas, and whatever else she needed to do to create.
Another client, who has a nine-to-five job and still goes to work in her office, used her lunch hour to write. She brought her lunch from home and sat in her car to work on her book.
So that’s the second thing we do. We block the time on our calendars. My clients have been able to create these writing times for themselves because they put them on their calendar and treated their writing sessions with the same respect they give any other kind of appointment.
If you go to my online scheduler, you’ll see there are no Friday times available. That’s a writing day. It’s not available for other things.
I don’t know how many of my clients have tried this third strategy, but this one works incredibly well for me. I time my writing sessions, not just the session in its entirety but what I want to get done. For example, when I was co-writing a book last month, I’d sit down and give myself 22 minutes to write the rough draft of a page.
I didn’t always get it done in that time. That’s super important to know.
But knowing the timer’s running gives me a short-term deadline. It keeps me focused.
The fourth thing my clients have done is to get support as they write their book. Obviously, if they’re coaching with me, they’ll have my support along the way.
But they also get support from their mastermind groups, accountability partners, and friends who have written books.
In my case, I belong to 2 mastermind groups that provide a lot of support, as do my 2 accountability partners.
My friends from the writing groups and workshops I participated in over the year are a great source of support.
I also have the good fortune to be married to a writer. My husband is a screenwriter and filmmaker, so he understands the time and commitment it takes to create something of value. He’s happy to allow me that space, and he’s always encouraging.
Listen. None of us have any excuse not to have support in our writing goals these days.
You can hire an author coach.
You can join a group coaching program, like my program, Short Books: Big Results.
You can join a free Facebook group.
Support is available to everyone with either internet access or a phone. Don’t try to do this by yourself. It just doesn’t make sense.
The fifth writing tool we rely on is silence.
I can’t encourage you enough to create silence in your day if you’re not already. Not just during your writing session but when you’re driving in your car, going for a walk outside, preparing to start your day, taking a shower.
Ten minutes here and an hour there of silence will allow you to tap into your creativity. Ideas will bubble up. Connections will form.
None of that can happen effectively when you’re constantly consuming content.
Even if you listen to the best audiobooks and the most fascinating podcasts, at some point you’ve got to dial back and allow yourself to just think, process, and have some time for ideation.
You don’t have to force yourself to think about your book during this time. It will come up for you organically if you give yourself enough space in the silence.
And the sixth and last tool I want to offer you is self-care.
If you’re not sleeping, if you’re still eating the Standard American Pandemic Diet, if you can’t bring yourself to exercise, and you’re struggling to write, I invite you to put your book aside.
Take care of yourself first.
Trust me, the writing will flow much more easily when you’re not exhausted, when you feel good in your body, and when you’re well nourished.
Don’t worry about falling behind on your book because you’ve taken a week or two off to get yourself together.
When you come back to your book, you’ll be sharper and ready to write in a way that’s hard to be when you’re dragging through your days.
That’s all for this week, my friends.
If you enjoyed this podcast, connect with me on Instagram @candiceldavis. I’m talking all things books and writing over there too.
Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m your Author Coach, Candice L Davis. And I’ll see you next time.