By Sagan Morrow
This originally appeared as an episode on the Indie Author Weekly podcast.
Even if you have a hectic schedule, it is still possible to write a book. As a productivity strategist, I teach solopreneurs and multi-passionate creatives all about how to improve time management and maximize productivity… so let’s apply that to your author life!
First of all, there are 2 key things you need to know about managing your time effectively:
- Good time management is rooted in good energy management.
- Effective time management and awesome productivity skills are not rocket science: anyone can do it! Yes, that includes you.
I want you to keep these 2 things in mind when you’re trying to fit “writing a book” into your busy schedule.
Also, remember this: *What* you choose to prioritize isn’t the issue here… it’s *that YOU make the active choice.* It is that you understand that you have the opportunity to prioritize the things that matter to you. If you are serious about writing and publishing a book, it needs to be a priority.
We all have different backgrounds and things going on in our lives, of course. For myself, I postponed writing novels for years, and I started writing and publishing the Polyamorous Passions romcom series while I was going through a business partnership breakup and experiencing some of the worst anxiety of my life (I also have chronic insomnia and nightmare disorder, which can be an ongoing challenge).
We all have different things in life and business to deal with—it’s not as though you can necessarily drop everything to work on your book, but it does need to be a priority. No matter your background or personal circumstances, I want you to have hope and confidence that you, too, *can* fit a book into your schedule.
Okay, now let’s get into a step-by-step process for how to fit “writing a book” into your schedule:
Step #1: Figure out your author goals
What exactly do you want to accomplish? A few things to think about here:
- Word count (it doesn’t need to be exact, but it’s helpful to have a rough idea in mind)
- Self-publishing vs traditional publishing
- Messages or themes of your book
- Ideal readers
- Timeframes or deadlines
- What you want from the experience (e.g. are you publishing it, or writing it for yourself? Do you want to win prizes or make money or reach out to a specific type of reader? And so on)
All of these things will help you with the next steps.
Step #2: Identify your time and energy requirements for your book
As I mentioned earlier, time and energy are intricately entwined. If you don’t have the energy to write your book—in other words, if you’re too tired to work on your book—then it doesn’t matter how much time you have! You won’t be able to make good progress.
So, when you’re figuring out how much time it will take you to write your book, also do energy estimates. You will likely need a different amount of time and type of energy to write the first draft compared to proofreading the final draft, for example.
If you want help with time management and boosting your energy levels so you aren’t too tired to write your book, then check out my signature program, Productivity Powerhouse, at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse.
And again, I have a nightmare disorder and chronic insomnia, so I totally get how challenging it can be to write a book when you’re exhausted! This is why understanding your energy levels and learning how to manage your energy can be a total game changer.
Step #3: Look at your existing schedule
Here, you’re identifying what personal and professional commitments you need to take care of, beyond your book. Add those to your schedule *now* so that you can be more realistic about how your book fits into it.
At this stage, you can also look at what things you will be able to remove from your schedule or postpone or delegate, in order to make your book a priority.
Something I often tell clients in Productivity Powerhouse is that you CAN do a lot of things and be multi-passionate and care about many things in your personal and professional life, but in any given moment, you can only really have one *top* priority. Really looking at where and how your book fits into everything else in your life and business, and how much of a priority it is for you in comparison to other things, is important here.
Step #4: Create an author plan
You can actually use the concept of a business plan to do this, but for your book writing experience. Based on the previous 3 steps, you’ll now have a good idea of where you have room in your schedule for working on your book. And now, you can organize different plans for outlining, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing the book.
As with a business plan, your author plan is an organic, living document: use it as a tool! Your author plan is a great resource moving forward to understand how your book will unfold. And it’s okay if your author plan changes—give yourself grace. When you have a plan, you can ensure that you are actively working toward making progress as an author.
For an example of planning ahead like this, I recommend you check out my free Business Planning Retreat Workshop, and apply that concept to mapping out your book plans. You can access that workshop at SaganMorrow.com/retreat.
Step #5: Add your book to your schedule
Okay. You have your author plan, you know what the rest of your schedule looks like… now actively put your book into your schedule! Write it into your calendar or task management system so you know what steps of your book you’ll work on, and when to do it. Make a point of including tangible goals, too: for example, a specific word count per day.
You can grab my word count tracker spreadsheet on the “secret” version of my podcast at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast.
One more note on this step of the process: we all have lots of different things going on in our personal and professional lives, so be realistic and honest with yourself about what you can do. Some people can write a book in 6 weeks, others might take 6 years. There’s no one right way to do it. Every author has their own journey, so it’s important that you stay true to yourself and your unique process.
Don’t worry about rushing it. This is not a race. Enjoy the journey. Scheduling your book is about ensuring you are staying true to yourself, and actually making that progress that you want to make, so that you don’t let years and years go by of saying “I want to write a book someday” without actually making progress.
Get more help with each one of these steps in Productivity Powerhouse—visit SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse to do that now.
Sagan Morrow is a multi-passionate creative and productivity strategist who writes polyamorous romantic comedy novels (including the Polyamorous Passions series). She shares the behind-the-scenes scoop about her writing journey in the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Drawing on a decade of experience as a freelance writer, Sagan now helps other multi-passionate creatives and solopreneurs save 10+ hours every single week, maximize productivity based on their personality, and take strategic action to finally achieve their dreamy goals—without burning out. Connect with her on Twitter or Instagram, @Saganlives, or learn more at SaganMorrow.com.