We are all busy people and I know it can feel like a real challenge to fit ‘book writing’ into our already jam-packed days. I want to share some ways you can ‘hack’ the writing process to get more words from less time and ACTUALLY write your book.
Maybe you’ve not started your book yet or maybe you’re currently struggling to finish those final chapters. Either way, you are not alone. For so many people their lifelong goal is to write a book. However, a tiny percentage of those people will actually ever do it.
To put things into perspective, of the 97% of people who want to write a book only 3% actually finish. That’s a scary statistic for any aspiring author. Why is it so hard? Why can’t people start AND finish writing their books?
Well, it usually goes a little something like this:
Woohoo! I have a fantastic idea for a book
I’m going to talk about it with friends and anyone who’ll listen. I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it!
Hrmm, I do need to figure out how to get this done. I need to find some resources…
Maybe I should enroll in that pricey book writing program I saw? I feel I need to know all there is to know to help me finish this baby.
Familiar? You’re not alone. Writing a book can seem like such a big deal, that it can be hard to start, but even harder to finish. I’m here to tell you that you can finish, ok?
Here are 13 things you MUST do if you want to actually finish your book.
1. Make your plan for success
This sounds so obvious but making sure you’re well prepared each time you write will be a game-changer. Planning takes valuable time, causing us to just wing it. However, knowing exactly what you’re going to write the following day means you’ll hit the ground running. It’s important to plan in terms of ‘I will write X number of words’, not just to ‘write your book’. Focus on the result you want from each writing session.
2. Less chat, more action
I get it, I do. It’s so exciting when you have a big idea. You want to tell everyone and get their feedback. You want positive feedback (don’t we all!). So if any of the feedback is luke-warm you start to doubt yourself. The excitement begins to dissipate, making it harder to find time to work on your idea.
We all know you need to validate your idea and maybe even work with a mentor who knows what they’re doing, to help you create a great book. Getting feedback from someone who is not your intended ideal reader (i.e your partner, your mum or your great uncle Bob) is not going to help your vision progress into an actual book.
3. Build in accountability
Most people perform more effectively if they are accountable to others. No-one likes to admit to others that they didn’t do something they said they would. If we have no-one to tell whether we have achieved our goal or not, the urge to watch Netflix might win over the need to write those 2k words. Finding an accountability group will help you knock your productivity into overdrive.
4. Simplify your process
As the number of steps in a process increases, the likelihood of it being completed declines. Create a writing process where you sit down at your desk and can write immediately, opposed to having to clear a space on the kitchen table, find your laptop charger and locate your planner. You will be more likely to follow through and nail your writing sessions. Set yourself up for success by reducing the number of steps in your writing process.
5. Get organised in a way that suits you
Sitting down to write with no structure will not set you up for success. Imagine you’re trying to complete 80k words. That number alone will make the task very daunting. Combat this by organising your writing. Divide your target word count into your writing sessions. Maybe you have one chunk of writing time a day or maybe your commitments means you have to split your time into two or more slots. It doesn’t matter as long as you know the word count you need to hit each day.
6. Don’t give into the feelings
Do you always want to do everything you have to do each day? No, none of us do. Although writing might be your favourite part of your day, there will be days when you don’t feel like it. If we think about how we feel, then our brain uses it as an excuse to keep us safe and comfortable. It will come up with reasons why we should take the day off. Don’t let self-sabotage stop you from taking action. These ‘low days’ can add up and stop you from finishing your book. Fight the feelings and write regardless.
7. Use positivity as motivation
Motivation is key to completion. You’re going to have easy writing days when you feel like JK Rowling. Then the days when you’ll struggle to write a postcard. Making sure you end each session on a good note will make it easier to start the next. Writing a few more words to get back into the flow will be well worth it, should you hit a tricky spot.
8. Knowledge detox
Focus on the task at hand. You don’t need to start digging into your next project or brushing up your skills on webinars or learning how to start a podcast. Stop taking in unnecessary information, it all adds to your cognitive load and makes it harder to focus on what you need to do.
9. Make it shine later
While writing your book you may have the need to look into a point further to provide more clarity, for example. Breaking off from writing to do this research will stop your flow. Instead make a note of what you need to do and carry on writing. You can then diarise time to do this additional research.
10. Make writing special
If you do any task regularly it will soon become dull. Instead of waiting for the boredom to kick in, make each writing session something you look forward to. You might pop on your favourite tunes, grab a drink you love and add in anything else that will help to make it a pleasurable experience.
11. Create a habit from a routine
As we’ve already discussed consistency is so important, but habits can’t just be switched on. The best way to create a writing habit is to create a routine around your writing, e.g write before the kids get up each morning. Then with consistency the habit will be created. When the habit is created you will then need less motivation to write as the power of the habit will have taken over.
12. Stop wasting time
We ALL have loads to do. Some of us are juggling eleventy-billion kids and all the responsibility that goes along with that, while others are looking after sick relatives, or infirm pets…. you get the picture. We are all pressed for time. But… let’s be honest, how much time do you waste each day? Aimlessly scrolling the internet, staring at the TV, waiting for your kids to finish school, ballet, swimming, football, (insert one of their a million after school clubs here!).This is all wasted time!
Combat this by focusing on what you actually need to do. If you want to write a book you will have to make sacrifices here and there, but it will be worth it.
13. Identify your Achilles heel
Is it social media? Video games? Online shopping? What’s your weakness? By identifying your Achilles heel you can protect it. When you’ve identified what your Achilles heel is you can work with it. Use it as a reward for writing a certain number of words. Write the words, take an ‘Achilles heel’ break, then write more words.
If you do these things you WILL finish your book. It’s a process I’ve gone through myself when I wrote my book in just 90 days. You don’t have to implement all of these 13 ideas. Even implementing a couple will help you claw back more time. Time to get your book finished and out into the world.
Which of these tips will you use?Sitting down to write with no structure will not set you up for success. Organise your writing. Divide your target word count into your writing sessions and hit that word count each day. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our podcast, live events and coaches our clients inside the Youpreneur Incubator. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.