If you are reading this it’s probably because you have made a committed decision to write that book burning on your heart.
You are no longer part of the 80% statistic of people who dream about writing a book. You are one of the 20% who has decided to take action and actually write that book.
But typically less than 1% of this 20% will actually go on to write the book because one or all of these reasons may stop you:
- You don’t have the time to write the book.
- Life gets in the way.
- You have a day job that stresses you out
- You have no energy to write after a stressful day at work
- You have no idea where to start!
I personally suffered from all of the above. So how did I deal with it? I dealt with (3) by making a decision to leave the corporate 9-5 grind and I am tackling (5) with the below advice:
Start Where You Are
Do What You Can
Use What You’ve Got
Yes that’s it. Just three tiny things for you to start becoming that writer you have always wanted to be.
Start where you are. If you have a DDJ (dreaded day job) and you want to quit to write full-time then you need to start where you are NOW. I made the mistake of waiting for perfect conditions to arrive before I thought I was able to sit down and be a real writer. But the truth is you are a writer the moment your fingertips touch the keyboard. The moment the pen starts to glide across that sheet of paper.
Most of the time, the biggest blockers are those we have in our head.
We tell ourselves things need to be in a certain way before we can act. I used to think I could only write if I have 8 hours a day free. Have you tried to sit and carve out 15 mins in your day to write? If you can’t do 15 minutes, trust me, you will be in tears at the prospect of writing for 8 hours!
Last year I decided I wanted to quit my job. I was working for a particularly horrid boss in a very tense and toxic environment. It got to the point where I would have stomach cramps every morning because I just didn’t want to go into the office. So I quit. And it was the best decision I could have made. I decided to give my writing career a go and was at home for two whole months, eight glorious weeks, 56 empty days to write and write and write.
And did I write?
Not a word!
After those two months I went back into the corporate world and took another 6 month contract and then quit again. But what did I do during those six months when I was back to the day job?
- I wrote 30,000 during NaNoWriMo during my lunch breaks at work.
- I wrote 20,000 of my first non fiction book.
- Got published as a co-author in the FinTech book.
- Started this blog and wrote articles on a weekly basis.
And I did this while I was working 12 hours a day at the day job.
How did I do this?
Deadlines are your new best friend. I carved out small pockets of time throughout out the day where I committed myself to write. Sometimes having a deadline actually helps you to get focused and produce content. When you have all the time in the world, there is no urgency to produce. No one will kick your ass. But when you know you need to be back at your desk at 1.30pm then you will eat quick and write quickly.
Do what you can. You don’t have to write the next million dollar book in 30 min lunch-break sessions or produce a fully edited podcast whilst walking to the tube in the morning. When you are just starting out it can be easy to get overwhelmed because in reality there is too much to do, but only if you have not prioritized WHAT you should be doing.
When I started out on this author journey, I spent six months fretting about the name of the blog and what I would write about. I could have just made a decision to the above questions in less than a day and get on with it.
Sometimes the path only becomes clearer the longer we drive down the road.
You cannot see all the way from here to there when you are still on the starting line. So do what you can. Can you only write for 20 mins per day to start off with? Great! Do it daily. Only got time to write one blog post every two weeks? Great, but do it consistently.
Use what you’ve got. The great thing about being a writer is that the overhead costs are pretty low. You need a pen and paper and / or some sort of tech equipment that allows you to convert handwritten notes to a word processor like a laptop or desktop. And away you go creating those beautiful pages of prose and poetry. Don’t worry about not using what the pros have. If you have the basic tools to start writing then that is all you need for the time being. You can even build your author platform with free WordPress themes to start off with. All that matters is that you just start. As you get better (because practice does make you better), you can upgrade your toolkit and invest in software like Scrivener or Final Draft.
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we are focusing on things that don’t really matter. When I first started out everyone told me to be active on social media. But I don’t believe tweeting your followers about your book is going to make them buy the book. Rather its community and real engagement with your readers that creates a connection from you, the author, to the reader. That is how you make a sale. So stick to the basics. Good writing always sells. But to produce the writing, you need to start with what you have, wherever you are, using what you already have.
If you can write in your current circumstances then I can guarantee you can write under any circumstance.
What’s holding you back from writing your book? Please share in the comments below.