A Guide to Writing a Book When You’re Short on Time

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Let’s face it: In today’s world, everyone is busy. We spend time at work and with our family and friends. We have to set aside time to pay bills, buy groceries, and do an assortment of daily chores. There is only so much time in a day! We can’t buy more of it, but we can try to become more efficient in our use of it.

Many people toy with the idea of writing a book. CEOs might have valuable information to pass on to other businesspeople, or they may want to showcase their expertise and give their own business a boost by writing a book. In fact, this is an excellent way for business leaders to elevate both their personal brand and company image. However, these people are so busy they can rarely find the time to sit down and write.

In addition, there are many individuals who want to write a memoir to share their life experiences with future generations. Some of them have jotted down ideas but never seem to have the time to write their story, either because they’re too busy living their fascinating life or aren’t very keen on writing. Thus, they procrastinate.

The tips listed below could help you get that book written. If you know you’ll never write it yourself, it might be wise to hire a ghostwriter, who will ensure that your unique ideas do reach people. Contact us if you’re a successful CEO who wants to gain more clout by writing a book or if you want to share insights from your life.

Schedule time to write

If you’re going to write your own book, you need to carve out some time and discipline yourself. Make it a habit to set aside a specific time to write. It helps to treat it like a job—show up and get the work done! It doesn’t matter if you’re not feeling motivated or inspired that day; strict discipline trumps fleeting motivation any day. If you don’t allocate the time, it’s not going to get done.

Create an outline and a mind map

It’s tough to sit down and start writing right away. Most people find it helpful to create some sort of outline or mind map (or both!).

The outline helps you plan out specific chapters or allows you to organize your plot and the main events into a specific timeline. When you start writing, check your outline so that you stay focused on what comes next. This way, you know where you are on your roadmap and what to do next, so you don’t waste time and effort writing a chapter that you later realize doesn’t even make sense in the context of your book.

For the mind map, you can simply use a piece of construction paper and markers or crayons, or you could design a crisp, professional-looking one on the computer. Just go with whatever works best for you. A mind map gives you a visual representation of all parts of your story. You can brainstorm here and use circles or boxes or anything that’s appealing to you. Write down your plot ideas, your characters, their conflicts, and the setting. Draw pictures if you feel like it. It’s a map of your mind, after all.

Establish goals

The authors who set goals are more successful at finishing their stories within a certain timeframe. You might try to reach a specific word count at each sitting, or you might sit for a period of time. Some days, you may write a whole chapter. Other days, you may not be as productive and walk away after writing only a paragraph. That’s okay. The point is you’re sitting down and writing to reach a goal. 

However, set your goals wisely. It’s unrealistic to think you will finish an entire chapter every day. Set your goals in the zone of proximal development—simple enough that you can realistically achieve them, but hard enough that they push you to do your best.

Set up a writing space

As far as writing environments go, there’s no one-size-fits-all. You need to figure out what makes you comfortable and will help you focus on your writing. Here’s a suggestion: You could browse Pinterest to check out ideas for writing rooms. You might find something that resonates with you.

Make sure you have a comfortable place to sit. Some people prefer a chair and a desk; others like to cozy up in an armchair or on a sofa. What matters is that you’re sitting somewhere comfortable, letting your mind focus on the writing.

Create a space that encourages you to write. Hang pictures you love on the wall or place favorite items on your shelves. It’s also important to have good lighting. Some authors like to use a pen and paper, whereas others prefer a computer. If you like music, play your favorite tunes. If you need complete silence, make sure to block out all external noise. Some people prefer atmospheric white noise, such as the sound of chirping birds or soft rain. You can find heaps of such videos on YouTube.

Basically, the best writing environment is the one that makes you comfortable and inspires you to write.

Get rid of distractions

Distractions can include people, pets, email, and social media. It’s up to you to determine what distracts you. Keep family members out of your writing space and let them know they shouldn’t disturb you when you write.

Turn off your phone. Don’t let any vibrations or pings divert your attention from what you came here to do. It’s too tempting to answer a text, call, or social media post if you leave your phone on. In addition, we all know how easy it is to look at one post and then get sucked in and waste valuable time.

Unless you need the internet for research, you might want to shut off your wi-fi as well. This way, you won’t be tempted to look at news, Twitter, Instagram, or anything else unrelated to your work. You may be surprised by how much your productivity increases when you turn off the wi-fi.

Quit multitasking

Doing several things at the same time often causes you to lose focus on your main project. Multitasking is fine when we’re talking about listening to a podcast while folding the laundry and keeping an eye on the roast in the oven, but not when you’re involved in something that requires serious mental exertion. People who multitask often fail to complete any of the things they’re doing with good results. Your brain can only concentrate on one important task at a time, so do just that if you’re devoting your time to writing.

Collaborate with someone

Do you have a friend or an acquaintance who also wants to be an author? Check with them to see if they’re willing to set up a shared time when you can both work on your writing. This can be your “writing buddy,” and you can keep each other accountable for getting work done. It’s much easier to stick to your goals when you have to check in with another person.

Make it fun

Have fun with your writing! If it’s not fun, you won’t do it. You can meet up with others and form a writing group. Make it fun by using part of the time to write and the rest to enjoy a cup of coffee and discuss what you’re working on. This can make writing more enjoyable.

Also, give yourself breaks and rewards so that you don’t burn out. Writing is hard work. Set aside time to take a walk, exercise, or see a friend. You don’t have to use ALL your spare time writing. Do anything that relaxes you so that you feel refreshed when you resume work.

Taking a break can also be invaluable when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block. Try going for a walk, taking a bath, or doing something else that relaxes you. When you return to your writing, you may find that you suddenly have some brilliant new ideas.

Use the services of a ghostwriter

If you really want to write your story yourself, the tips above can help you get it done. What about those who honestly don’t have the extra time to write? CEOs need to run their business. Even though they may have great ideas for a book, they may simply not want to devote their valuable time to writing. Even people who want to write their memoirs may be too busy to do it.

These people often turn to a ghostwriter. They will have to spend some time on their project, primarily in interviews and reviewing the written material at different stages, but the most taxing work (i.e., writing the book) is done by the ghostwriter.

How a ghostwriter saves you time

It is the ghostwriter’s job to write your book. However, they can’t do this without a little help from you. Normally, a ghostwriter sets up an interview with you so that they can gain an understanding of your subject, style, voice, and expectations. Once the interview is complete and the ghostwriter has the information they need, they begin conducting research and outlining your book.

In addition to the interview, a ghostwriter will check in with you to review the outline. Once you give them the go-ahead, they will start writing in earnest. Keep in mind that they will also contact you to make sure they’re continuing with the work to your satisfaction. At this point, you can approve, cut, or add information as needed. While you should trust your ghostwriter’s professional expertise, don’t feel shy about discussing elements you don’t like or suggesting revisions. After all, it’ll be your name on the cover.

They will present the draft to you when it’s finished (usually you two will have an agreed-upon deadline), and you can make any other revisions you see fit. Then it is time to get your work into the hands of a publishing company!

When you don’t have the time to write your story, ghostwriters are an excellent option to make your voice heard. Use your time wisely and hire a professional ghostwriter. Our expert ghostwriting team can offer all the assistance you need, whether you’re looking to develop your brand or wishing to help your descendants connect with their heritage.

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