Writing a Book: Putting it off

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Yesterday, my friend, Dan Rockwell, wrote a post on his “Leadership Freak” blog titled, “A Personal Confession.” It includes the following.

“At lunch, I told my wife I thought I’d clean my office before working on ‘the book.’

She laughed hysterically. She laughed so much that I started laughing too.

When she finally stopped, – after starting and stopping several times – I said, ‘I didn’t think it was that funny.’

She said, with complete honesty and incredulity, ‘You’d rather clean your office than work on your book? You hate cleaning your office.’ Then, she started laughing hysterically again. She laughed so hard that I laughed along, but, with a little less gusto.”

Dan’s post is about getting any kind of important work done, but his example is similar to the situation of many people who want to write a book. For many of my clients, it happens because writing a book is a different kind of project. They’re not sure what to do next.

As David Allen taught us in his book, Getting Things Done, that can be a real roadblock. Knowing the next step lets us get on with taking it and it’s why some authors hire a coach. Here are some other things that can help you get on with writing your book.

Establish a book writing habit. Write at the same time and the same place every day. After a while the clock and the location will be reminders to write.

Follow my “Raymond Chandler Rule.” When it’s time to write, go to your cave. You don’t have to write, but you can’t do anything else, not even “research.”

Get an accountability partner. Some people hire a coach for that purpose, but you can use anyone who will gently, but firmly remind you of what you should be doing. Make sure it’s someone you’ll listen to. Spouses, good friends, and professional colleagues have all signed on as accountability partners.

There’s no doubt that Dan knows how to write. He writes Leadership Freak posts every day. He’ll find that writing a book is different and I’m sure he’ll figure out a way to get it done. When he does, I want to read the book.

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What People Are Saying

J. Irwin Allen   |   28 Aug 2013   |   Reply

I battle between “food & pay bills” or “book & future money” all the time. Fitting in book writing between money earning is a difficult thing…but it can be done. People have done it time and time again. It is the only way. You must schedule the time and stick to it. Patience is a priority for your first book project, I’m sure. I’ve been patient for some time now.

Wish I had the financial backing of someone who believed in my project. Any ideas on how you can acquire financial backing in today’s environment? I imagine the publishing world is much different now with the digital environment.

Thanks for the tip.
J. Irwin Allen
Twitter @JAhuman2

Dan Ryan   |   27 Jan 2014   |   Reply

I am dealing with some of the same challenges. I have so many balls in the air that I find it hard to stop and think about the two books I am working on.

This will change soon-the book writing I have in mind is important.

Any thoughts that anyone has in mind about dealing with this are appreciated.

Wally   |   28 Jan 2014   |   Reply

Thanks for the comment, Dan. The best advice I can give you based on my own experience and working with clients is twofold. Try to get the most important thing you have to do every day done first thing. That’s when you have the most energy and self-discipline.

If the book is on your “Projects that Move Me Ahead” list, schedule a block of time, two to four hours, every week to devote to it. Put it on your calendar when you plan your week. Think of it as an appointment with your future success.