The following is an excerpt from my book The Low-to-No Budget Self-Publishing Guide. I wanted to give writers a resource and hope that you don’t have to have a huge budget and spend an exorbitant amount of money to find success in the self-publishing world.
In this book, I cover three big areas: writing the book, making quality choices, and marketing your book. This excerpt includes how to schedule writing time followed by other resources and links to guide your writing.
MAKE TIME TO WRITE
If you want to be a writer, you have to write. That means you need to sit down and write. But actually making the time to write isn’t always easy. We procrastinate sitting down to type because we have a million other things going on in our lives. Or perhaps we have nothing else in our lives and we are trying to put off the hard work it’s going to take to get our book written.
We can’t sit around waiting for the perfect circumstances or for inspiration to strike. The stars and planets will never align perfectly to make the magic work without effort. Creativity and ideas come to those who sit down regularly and put their pen to paper or hands to the keyboard or voice to the dictator software. The more you sit down to write, the better you’re going to get at writing and the closer you’ll be to the end of your book.
You have to create the time and the space to get writing done. Play around with these strategies to find the combinations that work for you. I’ll share why they are critical to your work and how you can implement it into your life, no matter how many other things you have going on. In the end, you’ll build writing into your life and develop good habits to protect your writing time.
When you schedule time with your friends, how guilty do you feel when you cancel on them?
Writing needs to have the same effect. Scheduling writing should be like making an appointment to meet with your friends, seeing a doctor, or getting to your child’s soccer practice. You shouldn’t cancel any of these things without extenuating circumstances.
Your writing time should be scheduled during a period of time where you won’t have any distractions. For however long you choose to sit down and write, you need to eliminate all distractions and stay focused on the act of writing. Put it in your calendar and tell anyone and everyone that you’ll be writing during that time so they shouldn’t disturb you.
To go a step further and build good habits, schedule that writing time at the same time every day. Make sure it’s a time where you’ll be available to write every single day. Sometimes that means you need to set it in the morning before your family wakes up or even late at night after everyone has gone to sleep.
The longer you can keep the schedule, the more your mind and body will start to train itself to think and write during that time. When you can be consistent with your schedule, you’ll be able to block out all distractions and get your writing done.
At the time of writing this book, I am a full-time writer. I set my schedule to start writing at 9 AM every weekday and block out an hour to an hour and a half of no-distraction writing before I take my first break. On weekends, I am a little more forgiving about when I sit down to write simply because I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I don’t write as long on the weekends either.
When I first started writing, however, I didn’t have the luxury of writing whenever I wanted. I was a full-time graduate student and I coached softball in my other waking hours. That meant I had to be smarter about getting in my writing, taking care of myself, and getting my other work done. I would get up an hour before I needed to just to write, I’d find other times during my day, such as gaps between lessons and practice, and I’d take advantage of lulls in class to jot down a few words. I even took my entire lunch hour and ate for the first fifteen minutes before writing for the remaining forty-five.
During National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2018, I wrote approximately 10,000 words of my 85,000 word project while I was riding an exercise bike!
The most important thing about scheduling your writing is to make sure you’re not burning yourself out. If you spend every waking minute doing something, you’ll tire out faster and won’t be able to give your heart and soul into your writing. Be smart and put your health first. During the crazy months where I was actively working on a long project, I never sacrificed sleep to get a word count. I gave myself a time limit where I’d shut my laptop and go to sleep, no matter how much I wanted to keep writing. On those days, I’d finish my train of thought, jot down a few bullet notes for the ideas I had moving forward, then I’d go to bed.
Once I started working as a marketing coordinator, I found myself commuting two hours a day. That was a lot of wasted time. Instead of letting it fall through the cracks, I started dictating a few of my notes whenever I thought of something to add to my writing project. On my travel home, I’d get other tasks out of the way, like talking to my mom on the phone (I’m sorry, mom, I don’t think you’re a task that needs to get done. It’s just how I wrote the sentence). When I got home, I could sit right down at the computer and know I wouldn’t be distracted by phone calls or other notifications.
Find a time in your day to schedule writing where you can consistently show up. Even if you only write fifteen words, you’re still fifteen words closer to the end of your book.
Laura Winter is a self-published author dedicated to helping your authorpreneur journey. She has launched her books on little to no budget to prove you don’t have to invest an exorbitant amount of money to be successful. Find her work on Amazon, Patreon, and join her tribe to get more articles like this.
This post was originally published on Medium.