Who has time to write a book?

Every entrepreneur struggles to find the time to write. It’s not our number one job, so how do we fit it in? I’ve heard (and used) so many good reasons:

  • I set time aside, but something always comes up
  • I had a client crisis to solve
  • I got an opportun ity to pitch a prospect I just couldn’t pass up

All these things are real reasons why your time to work on your book or blog or newsletter gets pushed aside. Maybe you’ve tried some ways to defeat the time demon: scheduling blocks of time into your day, getting up early or staying up late, recording your thoughts, fitting in snippets of writing during lunch or while you're waiting in line... And you’re still not making any progress.

But what if it isn’t really lack of time that’s the problem? Time is a very real reason - who doesn’t get that? But if this reason consistently comes up for you, it’s an opportunity to dig a little deeper.

Time could be masking the real problem: fear.

What was your reaction when you read that? Did you react in denial? Did you feel a bite of anger? Or a cringe of guilt?

An emotional reaction is a clue that there’s a grain of truth for you in that statement.

So looking into this could be just the thing you need to overcome whatever is blocking you from writing.  Fears that might be lurking under “time”:

  • Fear that your writing sucks - “Who’s gonna read this? They’re gonna hate it…”
  • Fear of being more visible - “Who made me the expert? Who am I to write a book?”
  • Fear of success - “If I can’t handle writing, how can I handle fame?”
  • Fear that it’s just too hard or uncomfortable - “I can’t do this!”
  • Fear of ______________ (fill in the blank)

Instead of ignoring your fear, try a humorous way to switch it up:

Good guard dog!

Good guard dog!

Talk to your fear. Ask it what the hell it wants you to do instead of write. Then listen. The answers will give you insight into the inner workings of your mind and ego.  

There’s a chapter in my book, The Gratitude Connection, about this. I asked, “Don’t you want me to be successful?” The answer was, “No. I want you to be safe.” When I understood that my fear-filled ego was trying to protect me, then I could see it as my loyal guard dog, my early warning system.

A puppy can’t distinguish a real threat from the postman at the door. But you can. So now when that dog barks, assess whether you really need to drop everything and work on that client problem right this minute or if it can wait until tomorrow. Smile and keep on writing.

Here comes the Judge: Your fear might be your own harsh inner judge, setting  you up for failure. Some call it the Inner Saboteur, but I like to see it as an old-fashioned barrister in a black robe and a white wig. When you notice those not-good-enough thoughts sneaking in, shine the light on them. Rather than turning them off, turn the spotlight on that silly looking wig and announce, “here comes the judge, here comes the judge!” Have a good chuckle and get back to work!

Pull on your favorite sweatshirt: Your new role as a writer can feel as stiff and uncomfortable as a starched shirt and tie. Because you haven’t broken it in yet, it’s tempting to go back to the soft comfort of projects that you know how to do. You can create proposals or programs or seminars in your sleep. But this book writing thing - uggh! It’s so much work and it doesn’t feel like “you” yet.

So use your old faded sweatshirt as a visual reminder that soon you’ll be as confident and comfy as a writer as you are at all those other things you’re good at. If you just keep doing it. Pull that old sweatshirt on and settle in.  

When you start looking your fears in the eye, they can’t hide behind other reasons like time any more. And when you use some humor to confront them, you can have some fun doing the actual writing. See if your perspective about writing starts to shift from “work” to something lighter and more creative. Start noticing if those emergencies and projects and problems start showing up less frequently or if you handle them some other way…

Here’s to having all the time you need to create,