When you start to think about writing a book, especially a book built off of your very own expertise, point-of-view, and thought leadership — there can be a seemingly endless series of obstacles that will rise up and get in your way.
While your specific experience will of course be unique to you, the general obstacles that show up are so incredibly common that they verge on universal.
This second article in a series uncovers one of the most common obstacles that get in the way on the road to writing your book — not enough time.
- 1st article in the series: 5 Common Messages Self-Doubt Sends About You and Your Book and What to Do About Them
Ah, time. Never enough of it.
When it comes to making time for your book (that book that you’re scared to admit is your #1 goal!)…while you probably could use some more time to work on it, I bet you could find the time if you really tried.
You could get up earlier. You could ask your mom, neighbor or best friend to help out with some extra babysitting. Or some other thing. You’re a creative thinker, I bet you can think of five different ways you could find some extra time.
Yet, if you had the extra time, would you use it to work on mapping out your book project? Would you use it to pick up that first draft of your book proposal collecting dust in your Google Docs?
Or might you see yourself using the time to instead make a Target run, or to head down the Instagram rabbit hole?
More Time vs. Quality Time
If you find yourself yearning for more time to work on your book project — what I bet you are really seeking is Quality Time.
Quality Time is about more than hours.
Quality Time is about space and focus and feeling ready to work.
Quality Time is about feeling capable, confident, creative, and ready to go.
Quality Time is about being rested and having the support you need and the mental capacity to go deep.
Quality Time is what you need in your life to be able to create.
How to Create Quality Time in Your Life
If you’re reading this and feeling like you want and need some Quality Time in your life, here are 7 thought-starters to help you create it starting, now!
1. Be clear with yourself what your Quality Time is for. What’s your goal? What do you want to focus on? What’s your commitment to yourself? Keep this goal very specific and I also recommend you have a long-term goal and a near-term goal. So maybe your long-term goal is to write your nonfiction book proposal, but your near-term goal is to make a plan for writing your book proposal.
2. Get support for your Quality Time. Who besides you will help make sure your Quality Time is a priority? How will you make sure you feel rested and have a clear head when Quality Time comes around? Do you want to schedule a session with your coach or a call with a trusted friend the day before to clear out the clutter?
3. Get inspiration for your Quality Time. Creativity does not thrive in a vacuum. What are some resources you can give yourself to get your creative juices going outside of Quality Time? Consider those books you’ve been meaning to read, and start picking them up. As you start this new Quality Time habit it might feel uncomfortable at first and you might not immediately find yourself inspired to leap right into your project as you hope (or you might!), so find things that are inspiring to you that DO make you feel like you CAN’T WAIT for Quality Time to come! Or, if you can’t make time for both, consider using Quality Time to some of that inspiration gathering—to read that book you’ve been putting off, or go to an art exhibit. Whatever works to start getting you feeling creative and wanting to work on your book project next time Quality Time is on your calendar.
4. Decide where Quality Time takes place. Depending on your life situation it may be just fine for you to set aside your time and work at home—or not. When my daughter was young and I had important projects on the weekend I found the library was the perfect place to escape to. Of course, there’s a pandemic going on right now, so that challenges things, but again, you’re creative, and I’m certain you can come up with something. But the key thing is you need to make sure that you are giving yourself a physical space where you can focus and have time for yourself for a solid stretch of time.
5. Don’t be skimpy with your Quality Time. Google is famous for their 20% time philosophy. The idea is that employees are to spend 20% of their time on projects that interest them. That’s one full 8-hour day a week. So don’t skimp on your Quality Time and just give yourself an hour once a month, give yourself a solid and consistent amount of time so that you can make a real impact.
6. Protect your Quality Time. I know you. You are going to say you will set aside every Saturday morning from 8 to noon for yourself, but then the first time something comes up that challenges that you’ll give it up. Don’t do that. Your Quality Time is precious and valuable and do whatever you need to do to protect it. If you need to charge yourself a fee for giving it up, do that. Do whatever it takes, especially in the beginning, to save that time for you.
7. Unplug (ish) your Quality Time. Help yourself commit and focus by removing distractions like social media, email, and Internet. Depending on how many hours at a stretch you are Quality Timing, you might want to unplug and then plug back in. You decide what works for you but definitely look for ways to remove distractions. Also, try background noise created for focusing like Noises.online and Brain.fm.
Could Quality Time be a starting point for you to take that nugget of an idea you have in your head, and start to transform it into the full-fledged idea that will be your future book proposal? I don’t doubt it one bit.
More in this series: