I will write my book when I retire.
I will write my book when I take three months off from work.
I will write my book when the kids are big.
Which excuse are you holding onto that stops you from writing your book TODAY?
Which excuse is covering up your fear of committing to writing that book, or indeed any other project or dream you want to start?
Sometimes we forget that the only time we have is this very moment.
And all we are ever doing is living from one moment to the next. So does tomorrow even exist?
These time frames we set up are just social structures we put into place. Having a universal way to measure time just means that we can communicate better to one another when we make plans.
It would be difficult to arrange a dinner date two weeks from now at a particular time if we didn’t use conventional time keeping.
But regular time keeping cannot apply to our goals and dreams.
This is where the over-used phrase ‘I will do it later’ can turn our dreams into despair.
Despair, because we watch time slip through our fingers and watch how we never get close to achieving our goal of writing that book. And instead, other tasks and activities fill in that space.
If you have hundreds of responsibilities, a house to maintain, a family to take care of, a day job to do then NOW is the perfect opportunity to start writing that book you have been saying you will do.
Why now? Because you will always be busy.
And there will never be a better time to start working towards your dreams than this very moment NOW.
I used to hide behind all these excuses when I wanted to write my book but didn’t write:
- I didn’t have enough time
- I had a grueling day job that drained my soul and energy
- House errands and chores never seemed to finish
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinners to prepare and cook daily
- Fitting in time to go to the gym
- Commuting to the day job for 4 hours a day
How could I possibly fit in anytime to write, I thought to myself?
So I took a radical approach. I believed I could only write my book if I quit my job and sat at home to write. So that’s what I did. I left my day job and sat at home for two months in July 2015. And in 8 weeks this is what I achieved:
- I slept a lot
- I went to the gym
- I tidied up the house
- I tidied my desk
- I visited friends
- Went to museums
- …I TRIED to write, honest, I did.
But I didn’t actually write.. All I did was prepare to write, or in other words, I found creative ways NOT to write and procrastinate instead. I had become a brilliant procrastinator.
I had done what I thought was necessary to help me write my book yet I hadn’t put down one word- why was that?
Because I hadn’t planned to be successful in writing.
I didn’t understand that writing consisted of plain old hard work. Writing is a skill. And like any skill you need to put in the work to get better at it and to become a master at the craft.
I needed to build a habit of writing. I also underestimated the power of starting small but starting fast.
Start Small But Go Fast
How could I possibly think I could churn out a novel in 8 weeks if I had never sat down for more than 15 minutes and written anything before? I was terrified of failing. I was scared of nothing coming out of me. I didn’t want to face that fear of failure.
So after two months I had to go back to the day job.
But I knew this would be temporary because I vowed I would change my mindset to ensure my corporate escape would be permanent so that I could transition into writing full-time.
So I started where I was and created the opportunity to write where I was.
When I went back to the day job in September 2015, for the next eight months I:
- I woke up 30 mins earlier and started to journal and do free-writing.
- I downloaded the Evernote app on my phone and made a point to notice and capture any ideas that piqued my curiosity, no matter how small or silly the idea appeared. If it caught my attention, it got logged.
- I started to do timed writing sessions. I wrote for 30 mins during my lunch breaks, five days a week. That meant I was writing for 2.5 hrs during the work week.
- I took part in NaNoWriMo in November 2015 and wrote a 30,000 fiction novel in 30 minute writing sprints (again during lunch breaks).
- I wrote a lot of rubbish with no intention of it being published. But it allowed me to express my creativity in a non-judgmental way.
- By not judging my work, I was able to slowly make small steps to defeat the constant fear and self-doubt I had over my writing.
- I adopted a successful author mindset; I committed to being in this for the long-term and to work to continually produce inspiring and purposeful content to inspire and motivate my readers
- I started to blog more consistently (twice weekly at the time of this post)
Start Where You Are, With What You Have
I began to find the opportunity in my current circumstances to help me achieve my dream goal of writing my book. And this is the best way to start.
Because when you can make way for your dream, even it’s just 1% of your day, over time, this will compund into something substantial.
From spending just 15 mins a day writing, I was able to increase time spent on writing to 30 minutes daily. And one year on I now spend at least an hour a day writing.
But that could only have happened with building a habit and putting in the work consistently.
To be entirely truthful living the writing life is hard. It takes a lot of energy and effort and stamina to sit and churn out 2,000-3,000 words every day. It takes an emotional and mental toll on your brain. It pushes your creative limits. But there is no other job I would rather be doing!
So do you want to start writing that book?
Then start small but move fast. Do not dismiss the power of starting small.
Making small incremental changes and adjustments to your daily routine are critical and powerful ways to making progress on your writing.
Challenge yourself to commit to just ten minutes a day where you won’t be interrupted. Sit down and pull out a notebook or your laptop and let yourself produce whatever words come out.
Don’t judge it. Just let it out. Then after ten minutes close your notebook/laptop and get on with the rest of your day.
And the next day, repeat the above process.
By doing this, you are now a writer and are one step closer to writing your book and getting it out into the world.
“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” – Napolean Hill
Start small, move fast.
When do you think is the best time to start writing your book? Please share in the comments below.