The most common question novice authors ask is:
“Where can I find the time to do everything?”
Many authors struggle to find an opening in their busy schedule to write books, and the very thought of also having to promote them is both daunting and numbing.
But at some point, an author realizes that if they do not engage in marketing, their books will not succeed.
Two Ways of Dealing With Time
At this stage, the paths of authors diverge. Some convince themselves that it’s all hopeless and they will never succeed since they don’t have enough time and resources in the first place.
Others experience a remarkable transformation:
They decide that books should be their primary source of income and focus on building their business around writing and selling their works.
For example, a person may at first see themselves as a dental assistant who writes novels as a hobby. However, at some point, they begin to consider themselves a professional author with a side job as a dental assistant while their business takes off. The world around them doesn’t change, but their attitude does and dramatically affects their priorities.
What Are You Spending Your Time On?
Each of us has the same amount of time in a day, but we choose what to spend them on. If you are determined to become a professional writer, you must set aside time for all the necessary elements of your business: creating a product, doing market research, promoting, etc.
We can find time for business in two ways:
- Either take it away from something that is not our priority;
- Or optimize what we should be doing anyway.
For example, a working mom might research writers in her genre while her child is at soccer practice.
Watching movies can be replaced by writing books.
Instead of cooking dinner for teenage kids, you can do marketing and ask the children to cook dinner. Let them help their mother build a new career.
Here is the most powerful and sobering exercise that can help you understand what your time is spent on. It’s pretty tedious; however, those who do it carefully can change their relationship with time.
Prepare a piece of paper in which your day is divided into 15-minute segments.
Now, you need to track and record absolutely EVERYTHING you do during the day.
8:00 I woke up and lay in bed.
8:15 I chatted with my husband.
8:30 I stretched and washed my face.
8:45 I got dressed and fed the dog.
6:00 I read the news.
6:15 I read more news.
6:30 I checked my email.
6:45 I wrote responses and sent them.
7:00 I checked Facebook.
Track your activities for at least three days to collect data.
Afterward, color-code important and unimportant activities.
Consider how much time you REALLY spent on work, personal activities, and writing. I guarantee you that the results will surprise you.
When I did this exercise myself, I found that it took me three hours to have lunch. THREE HOURS FOR LUNCH?! And I spent a mere four hours on actual work.
We often have an extremely distorted sense of time and priorities: we state one thing but do something completely different.
The purpose of this exercise is to prevent you from lying to yourself.
You need to track which activities don’t give you anything in return and which should be optimized. This is how you can find the necessary time to promote your books and support your writing business.