When I made my first attempt to write and self-publish, I was a full-time high school teacher, wife, mom, grad student, and active in ministry. Needless to say, there was always something going on. Although I had a few typed pages of my manuscript, I quickly became discouraged. I just didn’t see how I would have time to dedicate to writing my book.
If you have a similar story, I’ve come up with a quick list of some tips to help you find time to finally write that masterpiece of yours.
1. Determine your word count.
Don’t get me wrong, writing a book can seem like such a daunting and overwhelming task. However, if you determine how many words your book will have, it will be easier to reach your goal. Why do you need to have a word count goal instead of a page goal? Because 150 pages in Microsoft Word does not equate 150 pages in a book. Books come in a variety of standard industry sizes (i.e 5 x 8, 6 x 9).
So, how many words should you aim to write for each page of your book? Typically, you’ll end up with around 250-300 words per page. That means if you want a 200-page book, you should aim to write around 60,000 words.
2. Determine when you want to have your manuscript finished.
Writing a book is an amazing dream / goal. The difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline. Once I placed a time-stamp on when I wanted to finish my book, 11 Ways to JumpStart Your Thinking, I took my writing time more seriously.
I’m not gonna lie to you. It takes a pretty dedicated person to self-publish. Why? Because unlike traditional publishing, you don’t have anyone holding you accountable of your deadline. So, I suggest getting an accountability buddy to help you stay on track. Just make sure your accountability partner is totally invested in helping you reach your deadline.
3. Determine when and how often you can write.
You’ve heard it before: If you fail to plan, plan to fail. I cannot stress the importance of planning when and how often you will commit to writing your book. When you’re balancing soccer practices, choir rehearsal, cooking, laundry, grad work, and so much more, writing can quickly become an afterthought. If you don’t make writing a priority, then that insanely awesome book idea of yours will continue to sit on the back burner. Trust me, I know from experience!
So, how can you work around this? In the first post of this series, we talked about using a planner. Which planner should you use and why? I personally love Asana because it’s easy to use, and I love being able to check off each task after completing it. It’s available as an app you can download on your phone (at least for Android lovers like myself). This means you can easily update it on the go. I also love using a planner in general because it allows me to see the “big picture”. You won’t get frustrated by a lack of time to write if you strategically plan your week.
4. Take action!
Now, this last tip seems obvious, but I had to include it. If you’re like me, you can plan your patooty off like nobody’s business. I mean, you have every detail planned and written out to a T. You have even color-coded your tasks to not only make your planner cuter, but easier to manage. But you know what? None of this matters if you don’t take action!
If you find yourself struggling to take action, then you need to get to the root of the problem. Why haven’t you taken that leap of faith yet? What’s really holding you back? If you don’t figure out why you’re stuck in the mud, you may never accomplish your goal.
Maybe you're stuck because despite your incredible planning skills, you're just not sure how to actually do it. You're not sure how to actually take your idea and make a manuscript out of it. If this is you, then I invite you to join me for a live virtual workshop on Sunday, July 3rd at 3 p.m. I'll be sharing the tips I used to go from book idea to manuscript. And if you can't make it, don't worry. I'll have a replay available (if you sign up for the workshop).