OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Many people say they are waiting for the right time to write their book.
“If I take a year off I could write it” or “when the kids have left home and I have more time”
But by focusing on the time involved, you are creating a block in your mind.
Life happens, but you can still fulfill your dream of writing a book.
There is a myth of creativity, that you need some perfect space and perfect time to create, that you can't do it where you are. But what you write is real life, so you have to be in real life to create it in words.
That perfect time may never come, so just start where you are, one tiny bit at a time.
Only you know the detail of your life, so only you can make the decision on when to write.
But you need to make a decision about when and where you will write. Here are some ideas.
- Get up an hour earlier and write before the household gets up
- On the commute (train/bus)
- On the commute while driving. Buy a small voice recorder and speak ideas into the machine.
- For 2 hours every evening, instead of watching TV
- Saturday mornings when the kids are doing sport
- At weekends when I am not doing household chores. I will get a cleaner to do the household cleaning and use that time to write.
- Take a lunch hour at work several times a week, find a room and write then.
- Organise working 4 days a week and use the 5th for writing
Find some way of earning money that is not selling your books until you make it, otherwise your writing becomes stressful and there is pressure to write the next piece that will make a few dollars, as opposed to focusing on your magnum opus every morning and night in between working.
In Stephen King's On Writing he talks of when he was working in a commercial laundry and his wife Tabby was working second shift at Dunkin Donuts while they tried to raise two kids. He wrote short stories when he could and sometimes got a cheque in the mail. But he persisted – and you can too.
“Write at the edges of the day.”
Toni Morrison, author of “Beloved”
My personal story: I once decided that I needed time to write my book. I had some money from the sale of my house, took 3 months off and tried to write every day. It didn’t work. I didn’t have anything to show for it, and went back to work disheartened at my inability to write. It was 4 years until I actually decided to try again.
Then I wrote ‘Career Change' in 9 months of evenings, weekends and days off while working full-time.
You can find the time – you just need to re-prioritise!