Limiting Belief: "I don't have enough time"

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If you want to write a book, you have to reject your limiting beliefs. You have to believe your idea is worthwhile, you have the ability to write a book, and you can stick to a plan and follow through. Sticking to a plan is the most daunting part for some would-be authors. Writing involves dedication and time—so much time! How can any normal person find the time to write an entire book?

In reality, you don’t need more than a few minutes every day to write a book.

Time isn’t the issue here. If you can find ten or fifteen minutes every day to devote to writing, that’s enough. How many minutes do you spend watching TV? Or checking social media? Or stuck in traffic (in this case, try dictating your writing to a voice recorder). If the average person spent a fraction of the time they normally spend on other activities, they could easily write a book within a few months.

Think about it this way: If you wrote just one page every day for a year, you’d end up with 365 pages. If you only wrote a half-page every day, you’d still end the year with over 182 pages!

How long does it take to write half a page? If you’re writing a first draft and simply getting your words on the page (and not self-editing every step of the way), it should take a matter of minutes.

The trick is committing to write every day. Sure, you can take a day off here and there, but it’s very easy to fall out of your story and lose your train of thought if you neglect your writing for even a couple days. If you have a busy day and can only write a few sentences, that’s better than nothing. It helps keep you immersed in your writing and chugging along to your end goal.

I’ve heard plenty of time-related excuses that prevent people from writing their book:

“I work too much.”

“I’m too busy with family activities.”

“At the end of the day, I just want to relax.”

“I’m a slow writer.”

 These excuses are nothing more than limiting beliefs. If you believe your job takes up too much time to write a book, you’ll find ways to keep yourself occupied with work-related items rather than writing. If you think you’re a slow writer, you will be.

Essentially, you are as limited as you allow yourself to be, and you are as untethered and empowered as you choose to be.

I’ve worked with very busy people who have managed to find time to write their book. These are business owners, entrepreneurs, parents, world travelers, activists—people who have a rich life both in and outside of work. Their time may have been in short supply, but it was not nonexistent. They made writing a priority and, therefore, found time for it.

My advice:

Wake up fifteen minutes earlier than usual each morning. Stretch, drink a glass of water, put on your slippers, and cozy up to your laptop. Then, write. Don’t stress about how pretty your sentences sound or if you’re using the correct verb tense. Pick up where you left off the day before and continue the thread. You may be surprised by how much you can write in just fifteen minutes AND you may want to keep going. If that’s the case, wake up half an hour earlier than usual, or an hour. OR, if mornings are not your sweet spot, try writing over your lunch break or when you have some downtime at night.

Figure out what works for you and STICK TO IT. You may even want to pepper in some longer days (writing for a couple hours on the weekend, for example). This will help push the needle toward your goal even quicker, and you’ll likely be able to crank out that book in a matter of months.

I have many more thoughts on creating a writing schedule and finding time to write. If you’d like to learn more, please be in touch.

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Action Items:

  • Try waking up 15 or 30 minutes earlier this week and spend that time writing—write about anything that comes to mind. Just write.

  • Try carrying an idea notebook around with you and write whenever you have a chance

  • Practice free writing by picking a writing prompt and timing yourself. Do NOT edit as you go.