When I landed my first paid co-writing contract, it seemed like we did a whole lot of waiting for the publisher to make decisions. And then, all of a sudden, we had to get a finished manuscript to the editor.
As the deadline approached, I put my family on notice. My husband would have to be responsible for meals for a week or two.
My younger daughter, who was still homeschooled at that age, would have to take responsibility for getting things done without my supervision.
They both pitched in, and even though we ate way too much pizza, I got the work in on time.
Since then, I’ve learned to manage my time much better. But there are still times when I have to get intense about focusing on my writing to the exclusion of other things.
There are three times when you have to get a little ruthless about making time to write your book:
When you’re struggling to get started writing and build some momentum.
When you’re trying to finish your book.
When you want to write you book in a short time span and need to make time every day.
If any of those applies to you right now, read on.
5 Ruthless Ways to Make Time to Write Your Book
I’ve used all of these strategies, and I encourage my coaching clients to use them too. Some may seem extreme to you, but sometimes you have to sacrifice for your dream.
1. Stop cleaning your house.
If you can hire someone to clean, go for it. Make that call today. (It’s often cheaper than you might think.) If not, then decide what you can live with, and let it go a few days longer.
I love a clean house, but I also love being an author. Does it really matter if you wait a week to vacuum the formal living room that no one goes into anyway? Is it more important than your book?
2. Take a break from social media.
You don’t have to make a big, “I’m taking a break from Facebook” announcement, but you can if you want to. Do you really have any idea how much time you spend scrolling, liking, posting, pinning, and retweeting?
Give it up completely for a week or two–or indefinitely. Reclaiming those lost five minutes here and there can give you an hour a day that you can spend writing.
3. Stop cooking meals.
That’s right. I said it. Stop cooking! Of course, I don’t mean you should eat McDonald’s every day or overdo the pizza.But you can grab frozen, healthy, one-pan meals from Trader Joe’s or buy semi-healthy prepared foods from your local grocery store.
Lots of fruit, bagged salads, pre-cooked rice, canned beans, and some decent sandwich fixings should fill your fridge and pantry. You can save an hour or more each day when you’re not cooking and cleaning the kitchen.
4. Turn off the alerts on your cell phone.
I don’t get any email or social media alerts on my phone. I just can’t. It’s too distracting. Every time that phone buzzes, I’m like Pavlov’s dog. I need to see what it is. (I might not answer, but I do check the message.) So it’s better for me to minimize the buzzing.
Get rid of all those notifications. Without those other constant interruptions, you’ll be able to focus on any task at hand, finish more quickly, and save more time for your writing.
5. Give up sleeping.
Yeah, that sounds harsh, huh? Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to sleep. I can fall asleep just about anywhere, and I’m not ashamed to take a car nap. Get your rest on. It’s important.
On the other hand, your book is important too, no? If you’re better in the morning, get up 30 minutes earlier and dedicate that time to your book. If your creative juices flow better at night, then give yourself an hour past bedtime, with no TV and no Internet, to just focus on your book. You can ease into an hour, if you want, but an extra half an hour is a great start on either end of the day.
Is the sacrifice to become an author too great?
Remember that these changes are only temporary. And let’s be honest. None of them are really ruthless. They’re just your way of telling the Universe and everyone around you that this book matters.
If these strategies feel like deep sacrifices to you or to your family, that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with sacrificing for what you really want. Believe me. When you hold your book in your hand, it will all have been worth it.
As you read over the list above, check yourself for resistant thoughts like these:
None of these things will work for me.
I’ll never have time to write my book.
Who has money for prepared food?
I don’t get enough sleep now!
My family would never agree to any of this.
Is that what you’re thinking? Then I encourage you to start thinking differently. Check out the Author’s Mindset and start saying yes to your dream of becoming an author.
Go write something!