Write Your Book This Year
Happy New Year! Wait! What? I know that January 1 is the “official” start to the year, but what’s stopping you from starting your best new year right now? What is stopping you from starting to write your book this year? Why can’t April 4 be the start of your new year? I don’t see any reason.
As a breast cancer survivor this proverb resonates with me in both my work and my life.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
If you don’t start writing your book today, when will you start? Two years from now? Twenty years from now? I say there is no time like the present because, honestly, you just don’t know what cards life will deal you.
- Just sit down and write. I know, it’s not as easy as it sounds… but, really it is. You need to give yourself permission (as Anne Lamott wrote, “write shitty first drafts). As an editor I have a hard time just sitting and writing without self-editing, but I know I HAVE to if I want to get through a project. Just get the words out, the cleaning up can come later.
- Get into the writing habit. Determine a time of day/week you can devote to your writing. Make it a recurring event on your calendar. After you’ve made your writing a priority for 21 days — it’s said that is how long it takes to form a habit — I’ll bet you stick with it. You can use time blocking to schedule time for “writing my book” or you can schedule a time to “write three pages (or 200 words) or whatever works for you) on my book.” If you don’t work on your book, that means it just isn’t a priority and you need to determine whether it’s really something you want to do.
- Treat it is as a job. If you’re writing a “book as business card” you need to treat that project like the job that it is. You’re working to build your expertise and your portfolio — it’s part of your job.
- Prevent interruptions. If you work from home, let your family know that “this is my writing time” and that you’re not to be interrupted. If you schedule your writing time for a Saturday morning don’t let a friend steal that time from you by inviting you to a coffee date; simply say, “I’m writing until noon, I can meet you afterwards.” If you take your writing seriously, those around you will as well.
- Set manageable goals. Sure, you want to write a book this year but saying, “Write a book” is your goal is setting yourself up for failing. Be specific. “Write a book by December 31, 2017.” Now take the big audacious goal and turn it into bite-sized chunks. “Finish my book outline by April 30” then “Write down chapter titles by May 15” and then “Write chapter one by May 30.” When you set milestones it’s easier to see the finish line than if you write the huge goal without any mini milestones to get you there.
- Know why you want to write a book. If you have a specific “why” it will keep you motivated and moving forward. Your “why” could be that you want your book as a business card, that you want to be seen as an expert, that you want to use your book to garner more speaking engagements. Your “why” is different from the next person’s so knowing yours will help you remain motivated.
- Celebrate your milestones. When you meet one of the milestones you’ve set, celebrate! Tell your friends. Eat a cookie. Go out to dinner with friends. Even if you just dance around the house with your cat and dog, you need to pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
What’s stopping you from writing your book this year? What’s preventing you from making today the day that you start? If you need help with your book from brainstorming to outlining to naming your chapters, let me know. Write me at: Robbi AT lipstickingsociety DOT com