This is part of the Claim Your Authority series.
I’m having coffee with a friend, chatting. He makes a declaration of desire to write a book, met by my great enthusiasm.
And then the backpedaling ensues. He pulls out everyone’s best fake excuse.
“I don’t have time,” he claims. But a thread of doubt haunts his statement.
I stare at him, unblinking. My look tells him I know he’s full of it. He squirms. Finally I speak.
“Time is all you have.”
He shrugs and resumes the litany of things that occupy his day, desperately shoring up his excuse for why he’s not writing a book.
I listen, hoping that hearing his own excuses will show him that they’re not truth, but choices. Is that you, clinging to this common excuse?
Lack of time is your biggest fake excuse
I have been coaching creatives on time management since 1999. I know how valid this excuse seems. We believe lack of time is the reason we’re not doing our work.
When we pull this out, everyone nods and commiserates because we’re all victims of the ticking clock and our propensity to fill our time with activities.
But I’ve coached everyone from extremely busy executives to retirees to working mothers, and here’s the truth: you can make time for what’s important to you.
Seven strategies to become a superhero at time management
1. Get real. Disengage from the notion that you do not have time to do what matters to you.
Be a hero, not a victim of your creative impulses.
2. Get clear. Return to your original impulse for writing your book. This is your stake, your driving motivation. If you don’t know this in one gut-vibrating sentence, you will easily blow off your writing sessions for laundry, dates with friends, shopping, whatever.
Use this original impulse as fuel to stay committed to being an author.
3. Get brief. We imagine we need long, uninterrupted hours to do our writing. And while that may be nice, chances are that perfect getaway isn’t the answer to our time dilemma.
Brief writing sessions – 15-30 minutes – add up over time.
4. Get it on the calendar. This is so dead simple, but frankly, most solutions are ridiculously simple.
Block out time on your calendar at the beginning of the week and stick to it like glue.
5. Get focused. When writing a book, some things need to fall away temporarily. To be a creator, you need to reduce your consumption.
No need to become a hermit; just reduce your time consuming news, tracking social media, watching TV or movies.
6. Get still. As we spend more time bouncing around online, it gets more difficult to quiet ourselves and focus on the deeper work of writing.Extroverts may find it difficult to step away from the roar and clatter of life, but remind yourself that the pause is only temporary.
Distinguish between these two kinds of attention – fragmented and ‘out there’ and focused on your topic. Balance time between the two.
7. Get support. We tend to honor our commitment to others more than our own self-commitments. Honestly, accountability is one of the main reasons people hire a coach to help them write their books. It’s not that I have such brilliant advice – it’s all pretty simple, as you can see.
We value what we pay for, and if we pay someone to help us, we’re going to rise to the occasion to get our money’s worth.
I know these things work because my clients practice them with great success.
I, too, have to deal with making the best choices with my time. It’s not always easy to step away from the bustle to go into the writing cave, but it’s always, always satisfying.
And it’s these strategies that have allowed me to publish a book, five e-books, hundreds of articles and my upcoming novel, Chasing Sylvia Beach.
I want this authority for you. Try this:
Throughout your day, notice the choices you make about how you spend your time.
Notice when you could choose to draft your book instead.
Notice the thoughts or feelings that arise when you consider writing. That – the fears and insecurities – is what is really in the way, not lack of time.
Claim your authority over your time. Watch how your authority grows when you honor your impulse to write your book.
What choices are you making with your time? What helps you claim your authority so you can write your book?
Download a pdf of this article to make writing your book easier.