02 Jan 5 Quick Tips to Write Your Book (when you have no time)
Writing a book takes commitment but it really doesn’t need to eat up all your free time or even add to your existing busy schedule. There are ways to carve out time, multitask, and even write a book without even lifting a pen!
Dictate – I love this tip and it’s helped so many authors I’ve shared it with! Most modern mobile phones have a microphone tool that dictates your words into text. On my iPhone, I just open the Notes app and hit the tiny microphone at the bottom left of the keyboard. I also use this for ‘writing’ my blog post draft versions, story concepts, dialogue, etc.
You can use this while walking or doing housework so it’s a nice multitask way of writing and not taking up any extra time in your busy schedule. If you have handsfree and get this set up before switching on your engine, you could potentially do this while driving (be safe!)
I met a brand new mother who was so keen to write a book but had no time with a brand new baby. We realised she had some time while breastfeeding when she was just scrolling through her phone (in between moments of staring lovingly into her little ones’ eyes of course!) So, she is now dictating the stories into her phone throughout the day during feeding times.
Commuting time is often so underused. Many of us take public transport and it’s anything from 10-60 minutes of travel time. And again, like the tip above, even driving time might be utilised somehow. I don’t recommend using all of your commute time to write/dictate because staring out of the window and people watching is brilliant for inspiration so make time for this too.
Is your lunch break dragging on? Now, I absolutely recommend getting away from your desk (and screen) for a proper lunch break – this is incredibly important for your mental health and so you can rest your eyes and stretch. But some people are lucky enough to have hour-long lunch breaks. When I had this during employment, I often wished they would just shorten it to thirty-minutes and let me go home earlier! But if this isn’t possible, perhaps you can use some of the time to write. Alternatively, could you add 30 minutes on to the end of your day and stay on at the office, sit in the car, or go to a nearby coffee shop to write? Consistency is key here.
I know of a nurse who was a mother of two and worked 40-60 hours plus weeks (mostly on her feet). She spent a few lunch breaks each week sitting in her car on her laptop to write. Not every time and not the full hour but enough to write an entire book within a few months.
Print out a blank timetable and for a week or two, note in what you actually do with your time. Monitor this each hour and scribble a note. At the end, highlight what is necessary and what isn’t – be honest. Now, this is for temporary purposes only while you write your book so with this in mind what can you cut out or cut down on? Other things you can do to help with this is to put time limits on things like social media use and TV watching.
My fiction and nonfiction author challenges include a free downloadable blank timetable so you can review your time and look at where you can carve out time to write. The key thing with this as well is to decide whether it’s going to be more effective for you to try to write in bulk in a short space of time by being absolutely ruthless with your distractions, social life, social media and TV time, etc. or if you’re going to work slow and steady over a longer period.
Working out what’s best for your life and schedule is important and then create a routine within these limitations and commit to a finishing date. Tell everyone this date so you have some accountability (it can be adjusted slightly nearer the time if needs be but it keeps you on track).
Discover your most effective way of writing in the shortest period of time. This will be different for everyone so here are some ideas:
- Sprint writing by setting a timer (I have a sand timer) and then write as much as you can in this time.
- Set a daily/weekly/monthly word count and try to reach this as often as possible. Giving yourself deadlines keeps you accountable.
- Join an author/writers’ group where you exchange or read out your work and get feedback.
- Let yourself get creative and freewrite your first draft quickly without stopping and no editing. Get the outline and first draft straight from your mind. Stopping to edit throughout causes you to pause, overthink, question yourself, get distracted, and take too many breaks.
Do you really want this?
The truth is if you really want this enough, you will do it. There are lots of excuses and other things to fill up our time. But if you can find ten minutes daily, a couple of hours every other week, one day a month, or even take a staycation – one way or another, you will eventually write a book!
If you think you need help getting started or finished, talk to me about how I can help authors or send a message.