You DON’T you MAKE the time.
Well the GOOD news is that I have been ‘called’ to write another book. No I don’t mean like my last one, where someone actually called me on the phone and said YOU NEED TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT… Imean the Old Testament style ‘calling’, sans thunder lightening and burning bushes. It’s interesting because every time someone finds out that I’ve published books they response is always the same, “Oh is it about XYZ?” which is something that I am rather uniquely able to write about, I just haven’t.
This morning, while I was talking to the Boss, I had a flash of an idea of how that book would look. The more I talked to the Boss the more ‘fleshed out’ my ideas started to become. By the time I was out and getting ready for work, I had already developed three chapters for this new book. Now I haven’t written three chapters mind you, I just know how they will look, where they will fit in a book on this subject and, this is the big one, why they need to be in this order! So yes, since for me talking to the Boss is the equivalent of prayer to most folks, I actually feel like I have been called to write this book.
Which brings me back to my original observation which is “where do you find the time?” If you’ve been following along here for any length of time you probably already know that I have another full time(and occasionally MORE than full time) job, I’m married, I play guitar and BEST of all, and I’m a dad to the brightest 5 year old in Florida. Not that I’m biased, that’s from his teachers. So in and among all that, how do I find the time to put out not one but two books every several months, so far, this year?
Zig Ziglar’s closing statement for the last few decades has been “You can get anything in life that you want, by helping enough other people get what they want.” I whole heartedly believe that, my own father was a living breathing example of this philosophy and he had been very wealthy and reached most of the goals that he chose to share with me throughout his life. However I would like to add a very small piece to that, my addition is actually an “action step” that you can take to facilitate everything else as you are helping other people get what they want.
Now, I can almost promise you, you may not like this, and at the very least this may take you out of your comfort zone. If you’re OK with that and ready to proceed…
Then, here we go. We all have 24 hours in a day that gives us each 168 hours in a week, 720 hours in a month and 8760 hours in each year. Hopefully you do not ALL suffer from Sleep Apnea as I do, so lets account for a healthy 8 hours of sleep each day, you now have 5840 hours left in each year. So that you don’t have to wade through ALL the math, if you work 8, travel 2 and eat for 3 you now have almost 1100 hours a year to do as you wish. Roughly 3 hours a day, you have vacations, little league etc. essentially the things that make life worth living. Even given all that, I believe that you should be able, on a very consistent basis find, at least one if not two hours per day, to work on your book! Now if you’re like I was, you are probably thinking, given what’s going on in your world right NOW that there is no way you can find 2 hours t ‘spare.’ I would agree with you, my employer is trying very hard to work me to death, yet I am still doing all that and more. Which takes us back to our opening question of HOW?
Well I have a DVR at home, and use it often to record my favorite television shows. Imagine my surprise, when I deliberately took a personal day off a few weeks ago, how very excited I was to find that I had shows available to watch, from January! I was excited at least, until I realized that this was (at the time) August. Anyone see the method to the madness here? For those who still want me to work the math, I haven’t sat and watched television that was not a DVD for over 8 months. I was not a huge TV watcher in the first place, but there were typically two days during the week where I had two shows and one or two other days where my wife had an additional hour or so, but nothing that was accounting for all the time I had available tome. But, by being able to re-allocate the timethat I had previously devoted to television, and instead use it for something else, something that I felt was more productive use of time.
Now, I’ll bet that if you could examine your time in much the sameway, you too would find an hour a days that is actually available, Remember I told you that this could be outside your CZ, but here’s how I got started. We took a finance class a few years ago, and the one thing that REALLY hit home was the fact that you want to personally manage and account for your most valuable asset. Since it was a money class, the instructor of course was talking about money, however later after the course was over I found that my absolutely most valuable asset, the one I cant afford to waste because I will never be able to get any more, is my time! So I figured that if I spent 3 hours planning out my bills, than I should devote at LEAST that much time to my life!
This was not a casual examination and it did take several hours, although I didn’t plan on it taking that long, it just worked out that way. But the idea was this:
530a-630a : Personal Time– Typically reading my email
630a-730a : Getting myself and son ready for the day
7:30a-830a: travel time
830-430pm: work time
430-530 travel time
530-600: HW with the boy
730-800: boy’s bath
830-930: Story Time
That given this schedule, how can I create sufficient time to write a book? After all, it should be simple right? Actually it was pretty simple, and if your looking closely, you can probably see it as well.
Now I would LOVE to say that the personal time from 530 – 630 is when I start my writing, and from a time perspective, one would say that this is the best place to start. But if you have ever tried to do something productive at 0530 in the morning,. You know that its not that simple to get your brain clear that quickly. Add to that the fact that as much as I wish my son would sleep until 0700, it doesn’t work that way, matter of fact I have a strong feeling that his hearing was cross pollinated with bats sonar, as almost any slight sound will wake him. Therefore that block is out for writing, but I have found that I am able to slide OTHER things into that time block. So the first thing I did was shuffle some productive items into that spot, this freeing up some others. For example, when my son is up, he and I can work on HIS homework while he’s eating breakfast.
Next during the travel time, to and from work, I have stopped listening to talk radio, and gone back to listening to speeches, seminars and training events, relating to writing. You would be amazed at how much great information there is available that you can learn while your driving. But wait, if you don’t want to or don’t have access to writing seminars maybe instead you would be better served by listening to seminars relating to your SUBJECT instead. That can encourage your write and make it better researched.
One segment of time that is not listed, because it occurs at different points, is lunch at my j.o.b. I am allocated up to an hour, typically I only take 30- 45 minutes, but my big mandate to my entire team, is that the LEAVE their desks during their lunch, and that is a great time to do some work. Whether your writing (not always easy, while eating) or reading or even editing, those are tasks that can be used to great advantage during that time slot.
Additionally, after my son’s bath, he will usually choose to “play” for 30 minutes or so and that is a good sequence, but you will probably note that my biggest allocation of time is after story time. Now there are several folks who would look at that and say something about “what abut TV” or “but I need to relax” or etc. etc etc. Remember this is MY schedule and how I have chosen to use this time. Also understand that if you are finishing a book in 21 days, you are talking about making these kinds of ‘re allocations’ for that amount of time.
Also understand that as much as I would love to tell you that I live and breathe my writing schedule 365 days a year, it’s just not true. For example, when I am just starting a book and the excitement is high, you will find that I devote a lot of time for the 1st several days, and then as that begins to wane, so do the number of hours devoted consecutively. There are many weekends where I wont go near a writing project. Then after the writing itself is finished and we are into “wrap up” and in copy edit or design, or proof phase, there really is only so much that you can do during these phases. So you will have say, 3 days of intense activity, and then 5 days following with little or nothing I can do.
The bottom line is this, I have chosen to write my books at least two at a time, and I can see some periods of time coming up, where there will be even more going on at once for small blocks of time. Therefore I will devote 21 days to one book, finish that, then send it to copy edit, spend the next 21 days finishing book 2, and send it off to copy edit. Once both books are in copy edit, the schedule slows way down. My habits have been to take a small break in between projects, while I complete those two books before I start the next two.
SO looking strictly mathematically, I will typically find myself devoting 2 hours a day for each of the 21 days during my writing, for several reasons. First of all I find that once I “get going” I will often just ‘lose track of time.’ Plus, I will admit to being human and sometimes it takes me 5 minutes to get ramped up, and sometimes it could take 20 minutes before I like what I’m writing. So how do you find the time to write a book, you don’t. You MAKE the time to write a book. Just like anything else you do. If you have children, I will lay odds that you were busy before you had kids. But you still had them , right? I believe it is still against the law in all 50 states to abandon your child in the forest after 6 – 8 weeks, after all they are kids, not raccoons.
You were busy you had kids and got busier still. So what did you change? Well, hopefully you go the nightclubs a lot less, you probably watch fewer and different TV shows. Chances are probably real good that you’re not going to school full time anymore. When you had kids you didn’t find the time to devote to them, you MADE the time. Writing is much the same.
Now before the fiery hate mails starts I am not equating a child with writing a book. What I am saying is that anytime that you have started something new in your life, you have had to RE- PRIORITIZE other things in your life, for a time, so that you could devote the proper amount of time to that new thing. This is no different than anything else. The question is, what will you change, for a short period of time, so that you can invest that time into writing your book? The final decision is up to you, but I find that in my life, creating 2 hours, is about all that I’m comfortable with, and its pretty simple to do. I’m not a huge TV watcher, and I can listen to music and sometimes lectures, while I’m writing. So rarely is it time that is devoted solely to writing. I do know some folks who can do that, and many authors will suggest that you create you “writing space.” An area where nothing but writing happens, and you will start that writing every day at 0800, take a 1 hour’s lunch break and start again and continue until 1700.
Now, if your comfortable with that, and it works for you, more power to you! To me that sounds like just another kind of job. A job is exactly what I don’t want to create, even if I’m the boss!
Next time we’ll see how Darlene is doing, but …
On twitter @BOOKIN21DAYS…