As a ghostwriter, I’m very fortunate that my day job allows me to write full-time. I don’t have to fit writing into a busy and hectic schedule. However, if you work nine to five and have a thriving family, you can still carve out the time to write and complete that book that’s been sizzling within you for years.
How do you complete your book when you work full-time? Let’s explore that a bit.
Make writing your book a priority
If writing a book has been on the back burner for years, move it to the front. Make it a priority. You know what that means for you. For some that might mean hiring a coach to hold them accountable to meet their daily or weekly targets. For others, it might mean giving up watching their favorite TV series at night. That hour would be better spent fulfilling your lifelong goal of completing a book!
Peter Drucker, esteemed educator, and author, would tell you that What gets measured gets managed. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to writing a book. When I have a project with a challenging and strict deadline, I will set myself daily as well as weekly targets to accomplish. I then note my progress each day. This is the way that I never miss a deadline, whether it be a personal writing project or a ghostwriting book.
Make completing your book a priority in your life and you will wind up with a completed book in your hands.
Allow the words to flow
It’s a complete waste of time to reread over and over passages you’ve written. That stops the flow of writing and will make it impossible to complete your project. I’ve known people to write the first chapter, stop and rewrite it a dozen times before tossing it out the window. Those writers never become authors. That’s sad.
Give yourself a chance to write. Just allow the words to flow out onto the paper or the computer screen. Keep going. Words on paper. Words on paper. Just keep typing.
The first draft will probably need a lot of work. That’s OK! Even if you have to rewrite it completely, you’re way ahead of the game if you have completed a draft. The second draft will be much easier to write, and it will be much better.
Find the time and space to write
You’ll need to figure out what works for you. There have been times when I have gone off on my own for a week to just focus on one writing project. One year I went to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, rented a cabin, and wrote for many hours each day. I’d take breaks to walk around the area, breathing in the fresh air before tackling the next chapter. It was a marathon that I loved. I could write a good five thousand words in a day, sometimes more.
On a daily basis, I love to get up before my family does, make a cup of coffee with half and half and maple syrup (don’t knock it. Try it!), then begin writing. When I was younger I preferred the late-night hours. I’d stay up well after midnight and let myself write and write.
What works best for you? Discovering the answer might require a little trial and error. I’d recommend setting aside at least an hour because it will take time to groove into your story. Two hours would be ideal. However, if you only have forty-five minutes, go for it. Remember, the goal is to complete your book.
Anything is always better than nothing.
Prepare ahead of time
If you are writing your first book or feel stuck with your story, I highly recommend that you create an outline. It’s hard to climb a mountain without a good map for navigation.
Learn about how to structure a story. As a starting point, follow the Three Act Structure. Follow those guidelines to make sure you hit all the elements you’ll need to tell your story. If you need help, feel free to reach out to me.
Once you have a good plan for the structure of your book, I recommend making a list of all the incidents that will take place. Don’t get into a lot of detail here, but just list out what events will make up your story.
With this incident list in place, writing your book simply involves following the path you’ve laid out.
Yes, it’s very challenging to complete a book when you work full-time. Challenging but not impossible. If you need a little extra help, I’m happy to coach you through the process. It’s a matter of taking one step, then another, and then another.
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