Before I begin, perhaps you aren’t the person who needs to hear this. But about two weeks ago, I was the one who needed these words. I gave the lecture to myself in the mirror one day and it has inspired me to keep trudging along.
You are the reason your book isn’t a thing.
There, I said it.
You can stop reading now if I offended you.
There are two reasons your book isn’t successful. You aren’t writing it, or you aren’t marketing it correctly. I will focus this post on writing the book. Next week’s post will be about marketing, my personal demon, and things we can try to overcome this hurdle.
First things first. I know you have heard this before, but I’m going to say it again. No one else can write your book for you. You have to take the time, make the time to write. As writers, we have to so many ideas swirling around in our heads, from what a really cool book idea is to how would be to how it will feel when our book is number 1 on the best-selling list of all the best-selling lists? I know, I do it too!
But hey, your book won’t make that list if you don’t actually write it.
Maybe your goal isn’t to be on the best-selling list. Maybe you just want someone to read your work and appreciate it.
Cool story, bro. Hate to burst your bubble, but if you don’t write it, no one will read it!
So what can you do? The obvious answer is to write. But for some of us, finding the time to write can be a challenge.
As a teacher, I leave my house at 6:45 in the morning and I get home a little after 4. When I make it home; I have to take care of my dogs, fit in a workout, make sure my lessons are ready for the next day, cook dinner, make lunch, catch the news, say hello to my husband and make sure I find some time to decompress. I can’t imagine what your day looks like if you have kids, especially little ones.
These are things that I’ve done that have helped me. Take what you need and ignore the rest.
- Make a schedule. I physically write out what I need to get done that day. I have always loved planners and I still keep one. Mostly for work, but now I jot down my writing goals. Every night after dinner, I spend an hour at my computer. I don’t set a word goal for those days. I know that sometimes I feel like a failure if I don’t meet a word goal. Get into the habit of doing it and soon, you will just migrate away from the TV and to your writing space instead. Once you have a routine, then you can start figuring out your word goals.
- I stick to the schedule. It would be so easy to come up with an excuse why I can’t write. I spent all day teaching kids on the computer, I can’t stare at the screen any longer. I am exhausted from the day. I don’t want to. Something I did was having my husband join me. We each put on headphones and enjoy an hour of doing things for us. He plays video games or goes down one of his research fueled rabbit holes for whatever project he has brewing. But don’t rely on that person to make you do your writing. That isn’t fair to them. Again, it is your story, not there’s.
- Try adjusting your day to fit writing in. Maybe you can get up a little earlier every day to spend time writing. Maybe instead of mindlessly scrolling your phone during your commute, you write. Maybe at lunch, you write. You have to figure out what works for you. I tried getting up at 5 AM to write. In the summer, when the sun is coming up around that time, it works well for me. But when it is still pitch dark and cold, it doesn’t work. Keep adjusting until you find something that works for you.
- Be kind to yourself. I’m not saying you are going to be able to do this every day. Professional writers’ number one piece of advice is to write every day. Well, buddy, let me tell you, we mere aspiring full-time writers can’t do that all the time. Cause we got other stuff we gotta do! We have families and full-time jobs and stuff that needs to be taken care of. If my job was to get up and walk to my office, I would write every day. The perk of being a teacher, I get at least one month where I can do that! But most people don’t get to do that.
- If you are dreading writing, maybe you aren’t writing the right story. Or you are writing for the wrong reasons. Now that I am back to writing, I am reminded that writing makes me happy. It gives my endless racing mind a place to go, to run free and have fun. It also serves as an escape from the stresses of the day. Sure, I want to be successful enough to one day be one of those stuck up authors whose advice is to “write every day” and actually be able to do that. But, until then, I need to remind myself that my writing is my escape, my fun. Similar to people who do puzzles or go mountain biking, it is a hobby that hopefully one day will be a career.’
- Don’t do everything at once. Figure one thing out and then work on another. Build up until you have your writing and life figured out. You could always write three times a week, then four, and so on. You could write more on the weekends, or days you have more downtime. Think about what works for you. I personally write longer on weekends than weekdays, just because I have the time.
One these things may work for you. Some may not. Remember, the only way your book will be published is if you write it first!
Next week, I’ll talk about marketing and what steps I am taking to overcome my weakness in that area. Until then, let me know what you do to make sure you get your writing done!