How to Write a Book When You Have a Life Too
Everybody has a story inside them, and everybody should have the opportunity to share that
story with the world. But how do you do that when you have so many other demands on your time?
Make it a priority
Pastor and author C.J. Mahaney said, “We make time for what we truly value. We build habits and routines around the things that really matter to us.” This is never more true than when it comes to writing a book around an already busy schedule.
What that looks like is up to you. Maybe you’re a morning person, and you can get up 30 minutes earlier every morning to write. Or maybe you’re a night owl, and staying up 30 minutes later works better for you. In either case, it’s a simple way to get more writing time in your busy day.
Delegate to others
You don’t have to iron love into your spouse’s shirts, or cook love into your dinner casserole. In fact, you don’t have to do any household chores again if you don’t want to. You can hire a housekeeper. Drop your laundry off at a dry cleaner or laundromat that has wash, dry, fold services. Hire someone in your community to fix your meals and freeze them for your convenience.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, either; high school students and college kids often work for low wages, or in exchange for being able to do their own laundry while they clean your home. Use that creative brain to channel other ways you might delegate and free up time for your laptop.
Divide your book into chunks
The obvious chunks to break your book into are the chapters. But chapters have sections, too. And those sections have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Divide your book down into the smallest component parts that make sense. Then write one at a time. Don’t get trapped into thinking you have to write whole chapters in one sitting.
Set little goals
“Write a book” is an enormous long-term goal. You must set short-term goals if you want to succeed in achieving the long-term one. Don’t even set “write a chapter” or “write a section of a chapter” as your goal.
You want your goal to be actionable and continuous, meaning you need your goal to be something entirely under your control, and something you can keep doing over and over. “Write for 15 minutes” fits that bill. You can’t control if you manage to write a whole section at a time, but you can control how long you write. And you can write for 15 minutes over and over again.
Schedule time to write
William Faulkner was once asked if he wrote on inspiration or on a schedule. He replied, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired every day at nine o’clock.” It’s easier to write a book for some authors if you write on a daily schedule. Whether it’s 30 minutes or three hours, set a schedule and stick to it.
Use every spare minute
Use every spare minute you can find to work on your book. Use something like Google Docs to write, so you have access to your work on any device. Here are some examples of where you could squeeze in extra writing time:
- Riding in the car, bus, or subway
- Breaks at work
- Waiting for other things to happen, like when dinner is cooking or you’re sitting in the doctor’s office
You can also use a voice-to-text feature like Google Docs’ Voice Typing to dictate your book in those spare minutes, so you don’t have to find space in those spare minutes to go typing everything in.
When I write my novels, I’m working around a full-time day job, a husband with more than a few health issues, weddings I’m planning for my son and for my daughter, and a dozen other real life obligations. I’ve found ways to steal time away for my books, because writing is my passion and my escape from all else. And if I can do it, you can too.
Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).
Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!) When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.