With a look of frustration and disappointment in their eyes, people often tell me, “I can’t seem to find the time to finish writing my book.” Are you one of those people? If so, here are seven strategies that I have found helpful for completing my writing projects:
Strategy #1 – Install an internet-blocking software to eliminate distractions.
When I want to get productive with my writing, I use the Freedom app to block access to the internet completely for several hours, which helps me to focus on writing my next book and blogpost.
If blocking the internet entirely seems too extreme for you, ColdTurkey will allow you to block access to specific distracting websites for up to one week at a time. If you are like many people, Facebook should probably be the first website you block. If you’re using Facebook to build your platform as an author, you can still schedule Facebook posts using BufferApp even when Facebook is blocked.
Strategy #2 – Get accountability for how you spend your time.
RescueTime is the internet browser extension that tracks how I spend every minute on my computer and mobile device. Each week, I receive a report of my productive (and unproductive) minutes. That’s how I know that I spent 72 hours on Microsoft Word and 26 hours on Gmail during the month of May.
RescueTime is like a bank statement for your time. It’s like a mirror for your priorities.
Strategy #3 – List your writing goals on a weekly or daily basis.
I maintain a Google Doc at all times on which I record my progress toward completing specific writing projects. Google Docs allows me to modify this document from my desktop and from my mobile phone. This enables me to review my goals and project statuses from my mobile phone—anywhere, anytime. During the past year, almost all of the writing projects I have completed first appeared as a bullet point on this document.
Strategy #4 – Write and pre-release sections of your book as regularly-scheduled blogposts.
Sending at least one blogpost to your audience every week or two will help you to accomplish the following:
- Build an audience for your forthcoming book
- Refine your message
- Get into the habit of writing consistently
- Produce the various sections of your book in a scheduled and disciplined manner
Strategy #5 – Identify your source(s) of motivation for finishing your book.
Why are you writing your book? To improve lives? To master a topic? To build a brand? To promote other products, services, causes, or ideas? To leave a legacy?
If you need help identifying your source(s) of motivation for finishing your book, check out this article: “5 Priceless Rewards for Writing a Book.”
Strategy #6 – Use your mobile phone to write on-the-go.
I wrote the outline and first draft of my book, Marketing Like Jesus, on my mobile phone while riding the subway to and from work in New York City. I used the Evernote app, but you could also write using Google Docs or any other program that will allow you to develop your book when you don’t have immediate access to a computer.
Strategy #7 – Limit your revisions, and don’t try to be a “one-hit wonder.”
Face it. Your next book is probably going to be better than the one you are writing now. Don’t worry about trying to make this your one-hit wonder or your magnum opus. Just get your book on the market. Somebody is going to benefit from it, and you’re going to be a better author when you write your next book. (Also, it is super-quick and super-easy to revise and update an already-published book these days.)
You’re not going to sabotage your career as an author by publishing a mediocre book. Mediocrity is much easier to overcome than obscurity, so let’s get your book on the market ASAP. It’s not changing anyone’s life while sitting on your computer’s hard drive.