This is a guest blog post by Jodi Brandon.
I don’t know many creative entrepreneurs who challenge the idea that writing a book could help their business growth. They know that a book can bring credibility, visibility, and authority; a book is almost like a business card as you establish and grow your platform as an entrepreneur. Finding the time to not just write but also learning the ins and outs of book publishing are usually the points at which hesitation takes over. “Writing a book is something I’ll do someday, is something I hear often. I won’t lie: Committing to writing a book is huge. The process can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you make space for it in your life and in your business beforehand.
All told, you want to allow four to six months to research, write, and publish your book comfortably. Can you do it in less time? Sure. But that pace would be a bit frenetic. Not all of that time requires you to be actively working on the book. There will be chunks of time when the manuscript is with an editor or formatter, for example.
Still not convinced? Let me show you how it’s possible.
Start with Your Non-Negotiables
You aren’t going to find the time to write a book. You’ll need to make time. The first thing I do with writing coaching clients, often even before we work on their content, is review their calendar and decide whether writing a book right now is feasible. The question to ask yourself is this: What’s negotiable and what isn’t? When I wrote my book last summer, skipping my annual volunteer commitment in July was a non-negotiable, but my Saturday morning trip to the farmer’s market was. (Turns out that was a mistake, because my hubs isn’t so great at picking ripe fruit, but I digress….) If you want to publish a book in time for the holidays, you’ll need to have the writing done by, say, September. If you’re launching a course in August and that’s a non-negotiable, that’s not going to work.
So take a look at your big picture over the next several months and see where there’s breathing room. Once you’ve decided on your non-negotiables, it will be easier to create a schedule so that writing your book doesn’t seem like something that’s eating up all of your time, or taking you away from where (and with whom) you’re supposed to be; instead, it’s the next big thing you’re launching to take your business to the next level.
Now that you know you have the time available to write a book, you need to think like a writer.
Click here for your Ideal Writing Session worksheet!
Shift Your Mindset
If I asked you whether you’re a business owner who’s writing a book or an author, what would you say? My past clients will get this answer right, but only because they’ve made the shift in mindset during the writing process. At the start, every single entrepreneur I have ever worked with — no kidding, in 10 years of working with them — has ever identified as an author. The idea of calling yourself a writer is scary because it’s unknown. (I wrote an entire post about this mindset shift and some of the fears and roadblocks that contribute to it here). The good news is that once you’re finished writing (and revising), you can take off your author hat and hang it up!
Create a Writing Routine
So you’re committed to writing and in the right place mentally. What’s next? Now it’s time to create a plan and schedule to make your book happen. A large part of that is your writing routine. You probably blog and have an email newsletter, so you’re used to content creation, but a book is a more substantial undertaking. (So. Many. Words.) If you’ve ever read my blog or spoken with me about books and writing, you’ve probably heard me liken writing to a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The less you use it, the more it atrophies. A daily writing habit is essential. Don’t worry: I’m not talking about writing for hours each day, or writing thousands of words at a time. I simply mean making time to write each day, even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes. Why? A few reasons, but most notably: It will train your brain to write, and the more you write, the better you become (even without trying!). As a bonus, you will learn what your ideal writing session looks like. Maybe you write best in the morning. Maybe you write best with background music (or some other noise). How will you know which conditions make you the most productive? Track your writing sessions (I’ve created a worksheet to make it easy for you) and look for patterns.
Writing your book will be a much smoother process if you don’t fight what comes naturally. What do I mean by that? If you’re a night owl, don’t say you’re going to get up one hour earlier each weekday to write, because you very likely will not.
Map it Out
You’re ready; let’s do this. You have an author’s mindset and you know where you have space in your calendar (AKA your life and business). The next step is to create a research and writing schedule to actually get that book written. You can do it!
Are you ready to think about writing a book to grow your business? (C’mon — just think about it!) Start small: by beginning a writing habit and figuring out what your ideal writing session looks like.
Jodi Brandon has more than 20 years’ experience in book publishing. After many years working in traditional publishing in the Big Apple, Jodi and her husband relocated from New York to Philadelphia and she launched her freelance editing business. Jodi’s passion these days is working as a book editor and writing/publishing coach with creative entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who want to level up their business with a book. Learn more at www.jodibrandoneditorial.com.