Most creative entrepreneurs and bloggers don’t challenge the idea that writing a book could help their business growth. They know that a book can bring credibility, visibility, and authority; a book is almost like a business card as you establish and grow your platform as an entrepreneur. Finding the time to not just write but also learning the ins and outs of book publishing are usually the sticking points that cause them to hesitate. “I’ll write a book someday” is something I hear often. I won’t lie: Committing to writing a book is huge. The process can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you make space for it in your life and in your business beforehand.
All told, I recommend allowing four to six months to research, write, and publish your book comfortably. Can you do it in less time? Sure. But that pace will be a bit frenetic at times, and you might not always be producing your best work. Not all of this blocked time requires you to be actively working on the book. There will be chunks of time when the manuscript is with an editor or formatter, for example. (You thought I meant you’d be writing for six months, didn’t you? You can admit it.)
Still not convinced? Let me show you how it’s possible.
Start with Your Non-Negotiables
You aren’t going to find the time to write a book. You’ll need to make time. The first thing I do with writing coaching clients, often even before we work on their content, is review their calendar and decide whether writing a book right now is feasible. The question to ask yourself is this: What’s negotiable and what isn’t? When I wrote my book last year, I was targeting summer as my writing time. Skipping my annual volunteer commitment in July was a non-negotiable, but my Saturday morning trip to the farmer’s market was. If you want to publish a book in time for the holidays, you’ll need to have the writing done by, say, September. If you’re launching a course in August and that’s a non-negotiable, that’s not going to work.
So take a look at your big picture over the next several months and see where there’s breathing room. Once you’ve decided on your non-negotiables, it will be easier to create a schedule so that writing your book doesn’t seem like something that’s eating up all of your time, or taking you away from where (and with whom) you’re supposed to be; instead, it’s the next big thing you’re launching to take your business to the next level.
Now that you know you have the time available to write a book, you need to think like a writer.
Shift Your Mindset
If I asked you whether you’re a business owner who’s writing a book or an author, what would you say? My past clients will get this answer right, but only because they’ve made the shift in mindset during the writing process. At the start, every single entrepreneur I have ever worked with — no kidding, in 10-plus years of working with entrepreneurs — has ever identified as an author. The idea of calling yourself a writer is scary because it’s unknown. (I wrote an entire post about this mindset shift and some of the fears and roadblocks that contribute to it here.) The good news is that once you’re finished writing (and revising), you can take off your author hat and hang it up!
Create a Writing Routine
So you’re committed to writing and in the right place mentally. What’s next? A plan and schedule to make your book happen. A large part of that is your writing routine. You probably blog and have an email newsletter, so you’re used to content creation, but a book is a more substantial undertaking (#allthewords). If you’ve ever read my blog or spoken with me about books and writing, you’ve probably heard me liken writing to a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The less you use it, the more it atrophies.
A daily writing habit is essential. Don’t worry: I’m not talking about writing for hours each day, or writing thousands of words at a time. I simply mean making time to write each day, even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes. Why? A few reasons, but most notably: It will train your brain to write, and the more you write, the better you become (even without trying!). As a bonus, you will learn what your ideal writing session looks like. Maybe you write best in the morning. Maybe you write best with background music (or some other noise). How will you know which conditions make you the most productive? Track your writing sessions (I’ve created a worksheet to make it easy for you) and look for patterns.
Writing your book will be a much smoother process if you don’t fight what comes naturally. What do I mean by that? If you’re a night owl, don’t say you’re going to get up one hour earlier each weekday to write, because you very likely will not.
Map it Out
You’re ready, so let’s do this. You have an author’s mindset and you know where you have space in your calendar (AKA your life and business). The next step is to create a research and writing schedule to actually get that book written. You can do it!
Are you ready to think about writing a book to grow your business? (Just think about it!) Start small: by beginning a writing habit and figuring out what your ideal writing session looks like. Have a book project in mind you’d like to chat about? I’d love to talk it out with you in a Book Brainstorm Session.