How to make progress on your book when you don’t have time to write

Nov 13, 2014 | Writing A Book

Last week my friend Art Petty sent me an email. He had planned to start writing his next book, but his schedule is getting the best of him. I’ve been in that situation. Most of my clients have been there, too.

Most business book writers can’t get away and just write. That means that most business book writers have situations when their schedule and obligations overwhelm their best intentions to write.

Don’t beat yourself up about it. If you can’t get quality writing time, here’s a suggestion for how to make progress on the project. Use this to supplement any “idea capture” strategy you’re already using.

Step 1: Buy a pack of plain 3 x 5 index cards.

Step 2: Put some in a pocket so you can reach one whenever the spirit moves you.

Step 3: When the spirit sends you an idea or insight or random thought, write it in a couple of words on one of your index cards.

Step 4: Put the newly christened “Idea Capture Card” (or whatever name you choose for it) in a separate pocket from the blank cards.

Step 5: At the end of the day or the end of a trip or the end of the current millennium, as appropriate, put your new cards with other idea capture cards.

Step 6: When the Gods give you time to write, look at the cards.

Step 7: Take a moment to revel in your insights.

You will get two benefits. First, you will be making your book writing time more productive when you get to it. Second, you will assuage any guilt about the book project because you will be making progress.

For extra credit. As you stand in those stupid lines, wait to be served in a restaurant where you are eating alone, or sit in one of those “American plastic” reception areas, take out your cards and review them. If you get a new insight or idea, put it on a separate card.