Want to write a book but don’t have time?

Have you thought about writing a book, but feel like you don’t have time?

Are you waiting for other projects to be cleared off your plate, and have a clear window, before you start writing?

You’re not alone.

But this is a flawed plan, because you will never have time.

This blog talks about when time is a factor, and also when it’s not.

Plus I’ll give you some tips about how to find enough time to write your new best seller.

In this article, we will cover:

Nobody has time to write a book

“I want to write a book but I don’t have time,” is something I often hear from people who want to work with me. They’ll say, “I do want to write a book. I just don’t have time at the moment. I’ll let you know when I’m finished this project or this other thing or this other thing.”

I agree that if you are working on a big program or launching a course or something like that, it’s possibly not the best time to do the book. But if it’s ‘business as usual’ and you’ve got the regular amount of commitments that most people have, like doing accounting and marketing, working with clients, and non-business stuff such as spending time with family or going to the gym, keeping healthy, etc, those things will never stop being time-consuming.

The reality is that literally nobody has time to write a book.

Video of this blog

If you’re prefer to watch a video rather than read a blog, this video covers the same topic.

When we can’t find the time

There will always be a new thing getting in your way of writing a book. A project or opportunity will appear, or something unexpected will crop up.

So how do we find time?

It’s all about making a decision and a commitment and then having the discipline to follow through on that.

When you think about it, we always find time to do the things that are important to us, and the things that we love. People find time to binge watch entire seasons of shows on Netflix or from a work perspective, I had a client who was fantastic, doing a great job with her book, but over time it sort of slowed down a little bit. She did less and less each week and I finally said to her, “I really feel like as much as I’m touching base and really encouraging you, you’re really starting to take your foot off the gas with this.”

(That was a very American expression, wasn’t it for an Aussie to say we don’t say ‘gas’.)

She said, “I don’t have time.” But when we talked about what was going on for her, she was actually starting to pivot in her business and had started studying hypnosis, which she was really interested in and wanted to include in her practice… She was spending hours a day researching this new area she wanted to work in and how interesting it was and some of the things she’d found out.

I said, “You do realise what you’ve just told me? That’s where your time has gone. You’ve found this new thing you’re really, really enthusiastic about and that’s absorbing the time that used to be your book writing time…”

This happens; sometimes things change or we pivot what we want to do and that’s why the book was failing to get written.

It wasn’t about the time; it was about the commitment and the enthusiasm for doing that. Her commitment had shifted to the new thing that she wanted to study and rightfully so.

With this as an example, it’s about recognising what’s really going on going on. If you are committed to something, you will generally find the time and the enthusiasm to keep working on it.

So when it comes to your book, how committed are you really?

Writing a book isn’t about talent…

I once saw an interview with Nikki Gemmell. She’s an author who at the time of the interview had written three books.

She said that she’d been in an adult writing group with all of these really talented writers, and every time everyone submitted their work and she read it, she used to feel really talentless and embarrassed because her work was so poor compared to everyone else’s.

Then she said, “But seven years later, I’ve published three books and none of them have published any. And I realised that writing books isn’t about talent, it’s about discipline.”

At the time I saw this, I had spent about 20 months writing eight chapters of my book. I used to just work on it wherever I felt inspired. And admittedly I had a baby and a full time job. I was pretty tired and lacking any kind of motivation… But hearing this interview inspired me. I thought, “Oh wow, this is the key. I want to get this book finished and this is how I do it. It’s discipline. It’s like having a job. It’s just showing up every day and doing the work.”

Only 15 minutes…

I started writing for 15 minutes every day, whether I felt like it or not. Even if I was super, super, super tired, I would just say to myself, Look, it’s only 15 minutes… So I would sit down at my desk and write for 15 minutes.

It might’ve been rubbish, it might not have flowed, I might’ve not got much written, but sometimes I’d get into the flow and I’d sit there for three hours and write 3000 words. I finished those last 13 chapters in 10 weeks. And as I mentioned earlier, this was on top of having a baby, who I was still breastfeeding, and I had a full-time job.

So, it is possible when you find that right formula. And today in my Book Coaching business, I ask clients to write for a 15 to 20 minutes every day. That’s how they chip away at their book rather than having one big session on a weekend, where if you miss that for any reason – which obviously can happen quite easily on a weekend or any day for that matter – then there’s your writing session gone for the whole week.

Momentum is really how books get written. You’re better off doing that little chunk every day and you will finish your book.