It is hard to believe that I now have three books (and many more to come) live on Amazon generating a pretty solid supplemental passive income. If you knew me a few years ago you would understand why. You see I had a reputation for being the guy who had ideas like crazy and talked about them at length but never followed through with any of them.
I’d have cool scenes in mind, creative stories, and a new business idea each day. The problem was I had zero follow through. This is not an uncommon problem. Many people have a great idea but they don’t do anything about it. I believe two key reasons people do not do anything (or enough) when they have the idea is because they often aren’t sure how to begin and if they are able to start they become overwhelmed with all the work that comes with making the idea a reality.
Now I’m not going to say these are the only reasons people struggle to follow through with taking action, but I do assert that they are extremely common. I believe the best way to combat these problems within the writing world, is to take the time to identify your pace. Then you can take a more calculated approach to writing your book.
Such an approach can help take the pressure off and ease the feeling of overwhelm that inevitably comes with writing a book (or anything of decent length). If you’re overworked already and now you’re adding the task of writing a book to your schedule follow the guide below to help enable you to follow through regardless of how limited your time is.
Phase 1: Explore Your Pace
For the first two weeks of writing your book put zero pressure on yourself to maintain any sort of set schedule. Instead write as much as you can without it hurting the other aspects of your life. In other words, do not neglect your children or your job just so you can get an extra 500 words done.
Take note of two things: the amount of time you were able to devote to writing and the amount of words you were able to write. Once you have these figures, now you need to reflect on how it went. For example lets say you were able to write for a total of four hours for the entire two week period and that writing time yielded a total of 3600 words. Take that information and answers the following questions:
Do you feel as though the amount of time devoted and words completed was a challenge to achieve or was it easy (or was it somewhere in the middle)?
In addition, you should be reviewing how the blocks of time worked out for you. Did you sit down for one 4 hour period or did your schedule obligate you to write for small 20 to 30 minute intervals sporadically throughout the week?
Before moving onto the next phase you want to take your answers to the questions offered above and determine a weekly minimum amount of writing time as well as a minimum amount of words completed. It is imperative that you do not set minimums that are too difficult. Remember you can always go over but should never go under, so do not set yourself up for disappointment.
Phase 2: Establish Your Pace
First, you’re going to write down your weekly minimum amount of time and words. For example, based on the first two weeks you believe it is realistic to write for a total of at least 120 minutes (divided into 30 minute blocks). You also were able to determine that you easily write approximately 900 words per hour. Therefore, your minimum amount of words for the week is 1800.
For the next week you’re going to write for at least 120 minutes and produce approximately 1800 words in that time. At the end of the week you’re going to assess how you did. Was it way off, spot on, or somewhat close? Whatever the result, adjust accordingly to ensure realistic attainability.
Phase 3: Pace Yourself to The End
For the next month, continue to approach each week with the time/word minimum that you have established and adjusted to meet your specific scheduling needs. Be sure to follow some additional rules below to prevent yourself from falling off pace.
- Make time the overriding factor. In other words, if during one of your writing blocks you’re unable to hit your word minimum, do not feel pressure to keep writing. Likewise, if you hit your minimum before the time is up then give yourself the break.
- If factors change within your day to day schedule and/or you’re consistently unable to meet your time/word minimums for whatever reason then make adjustments at the end of each week. As soon as you allow yourself to deviate from your plan during the week then you’ll decrease the need to achieve your weekly goals.
- Have a total word goal to strive for. For Kindle eBooks 20,000 words typically covers 60 to 90 pages (depending on bulleted lists, formatting, etc.) Knowing your total can help keep you motivated over the long term.
To close, I just want to point out that a true writer writes even when he or she doesn’t feel like it. The key to making this happen is to find your pace and finish the book. Once you finish your first book, you’ll be amazed how easy it becomes for each book thereafter now that you have proven to yourself that you can follow through.