The Effective Author: Writing Time, Writing Results
© 2017 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
There is a close correlation between the writing time you put in and the writing results you get. You may have such goals as “write and sell one book a year.” Within that goal, you may be including marketing time and time for book signings. Perhaps you’re imagining you will “do” a couple of blog challenges to get more exposure.
Business coaches urge us to set BHAGs: Big Hairy Audacious Goals. These coaches try to rev up our excitement to get us to accelerate our activity and move toward such goals. But I have yet to see any of those coaches talk about the number of hours it will take to meet any goal. You have a specific number of hours available to you each year: 8,760 (8,784 in a leap year). And you can choose how you use any and all of them. In fact, you are the only person who can decide how to use those hours.
Let’s do a quick exercise about how we use time. This will open up your view of your own time. Take a piece of paper and draw a wide rectangle, which you will divide into a row of seven little rectangles. The big rectangle is a sample week, and the seven little rectangles are the days of the week. Label the days of the week.
Now shade in about one third of each day’s rectangle, or 8 hours, for sleep and showering. If you need more or less sleep and grooming time, just shade it in that way. Now, what do you need for meal prep and eating, 2 hours a day? Time to get the family off to school and work: 1 hour daily on weekdays? Mark those 10 hours and shade them in. Now you have 56 + 14 + 10 hours a week already taken, or 80 hours. But you have 168 hours in a week! So now, in this example, you have a lavish 88 hours left to use! Given other commitments, how much of these 88 hours are you willing (wanting, craving, regretfully assigning…) to commit to your writing?
A successful novelist I know was working full-time in media when she decided she wanted to write mysteries. She began getting up at 4 a.m. and writing for a few hours, every day. Now she writes two books a year, speaks and teaches, and is well-known in her field. If you write for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, you’re putting in 36 hours a week, or 1,800 hours a year, allowing for two weeks off. You can get a lot done with that kind of commitment.
At a conference, I met a romance writer who was on contract to write three romance novels a year. She was beautiful, slim, lighthearted, and clearly joyfully in her life groove. Her level of successful productivity seemed staggering to me. Then I met Cupcake Mysteries author, Jenn McKinlay, another sparkling soul, who was writing three series at once! Her productivity secret? She said, in a busy life with family, she began craving to write. She would sneak an hour here and there, as she could, to get some writing done. Gradually, Jenn was able to find more time, and when I met her, she was still savoring the privilege and pleasure of any writing time at all.
These novelists love the art and activity of writing. And they make time for it. And they are succeeding. So, what are you doing with your 88 hours? How many books would you like to be writing? What length of books? On what topics? How much writing time are you willing to commit to meet your goals? Where in your seven rectangles will you assign your time to simply researching and writing the books you want to bring forth?
Writing time leads to writing results, and The Effective Author allots the time. All the best to you!
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and author of the award-winning book, Discover the Secret Energized You, as well as the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book, Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, is available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com for more info. Like this article? Buy Kebba’s books by clicking the links! Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: email@example.com.