There may be authors with plenty of free time they can use to write their book. My clients are not among those authors.
Most of my clients are mid-career high achievers. They work hard. They’re goal driven. And they’re adding writing a book to a schedule that’s already full to bursting.
You need large blocks of uninterrupted time to write a good book. You need them consistently for the year or more it will take to complete the manuscript.
The odds are, if you’re ready to write a book to help the readers and your career, you’re like my clients. You won’t “find” time to write. You will have to “get” it from somewhere. There are three possibilities.
Can You Get the Time to Write from Sleep?
This is commonplace advice about writing a book. You’re told to “Just get up an hour earlier,” or “Go to bed an hour later.” Magically, you will have time to write your book. But there are consequences.
Most mid-career people, especially those with kids, aren’t getting enough sleep already. That’s likely to be you. The National Sleep Foundation guidelines say adults need at least 7 hours sleep per night. A Gallup Poll found that 65 percent of us get 7 hours or less. Forty percent get less than 6 hours.
Take time from sleep and you risk sleep deprivation. Several writers have compared being sleep-deprived with being drunk. You wouldn’t try to live your life or write your book when you couldn’t think clearly, but that’s what will happen.
Truth is, if you’re writing a book, you probably need more sleep, not less. Where else can you get time to write?
Can You Get the Time to Write by Cutting the Time with Your Loved Ones or Leisure?
It’s possible to get some time by skipping a few soccer games and family get-togethers, but you won’t get much that way. You won’t get it consistently, either. And there are consequences.
The people who love you are the people who love you. They know the book is important to you and important to your career. They support you. So, they’ll forgive you not making that soccer game or skipping date night. At least, they will for a while.
Truth is, your loved ones will forgive you right up until the time they don’t. And taking time from relationships also makes the people who love you resent the book. It’s the reason you didn’t make that soccer game or that anniversary dinner.
You can also find time to write by cutting down on some of the activities you love. If you like to go hunting or fishing, you can score some time there. If you like spending time in the garden, you can score some time there. It’s hard to get enough consistent time to write a book that way, but you can get some. Where else can you get time to write?
Can You Get the Time to Write Your Book by Taking It from Work?
This is about all that’s left. If you want to find consistent blocks of time, you’re most likely to find it by taking it from the time you spend working. That can be scary.
If you’re someone who works for themselves, getting writing time from work means cutting down on work. That means cutting down on your income. This is scary, but it’s where most of my clients get their time to write.
One client got writing time from the time he used to spend improving his business. His logic was that writing the book was improving the business. Another client left large blocks in her schedule as she began the writing project.
There’s a bonus from doing it this way. When you get done with the book project, you suddenly have free time where you used to have writing time. You can use it for client work or time with your family or time mastering that hobby you’ve been thinking about.
If you’re going to write a book, you need large consistent blocks of writing time. You must get them from somewhere in your life. Sleep and relationships are a poor choice. The best choice is taking them from extra work you do now.