“I don’t have time to write my book”
Many of us live very busy lives between running and marketing our business. Not
to mention, raising children, spending quality time with our significant other,
maintaining a social life, and hitting the gym every now and then..
Recently, a gentleman over in the states contacted me saying he really wants to
write a book.
He’s aware of how effective and impactful having a published business book
can be for the growth of his consulting business.
He expressed to me how he’s been trying to write a book for several years now
but can never make any progress, since he’s busy running and marketing his
business, has two children under the age of five, and on top of that he does a lot
of charity work.
What happens is he gets an idea, starts writing, then life happens. He gives up
and goes back to what he normally does. Running his business. A few years later
he gets another idea, and the cycle repeats itself.
It’s not that he isn’t tenacious, diligent, or motivated. He’s just exceptionally busy.
This is the case for most of us that want to write a book for our business but just
can’t find the time between marketing, generating leads, and actually serving our
customers and clients.
But there is a way you can write your book, even if you have the busiest of lives.
Running a business? No problem. Raising a family? No problem.
Planning is key
The secret to writing a book with a busy life? Planning.
What I’ve found is that when people say they’ve been writing a book for a long
time, they haven’t actually been writing. When someone says they’ve been
writing for two or three years, they haven’t been writing for two years because if
they were they’d have something like War & Peace written by now. If you only
wrote one day a week for two years at just 1000 words a week (this article is only
1500 words!), your book would be over 100,000 words. The average business
book is 30,000 to 50,000 words.
So when someone tells me they’ve been writing for years, I automatically know
that they haven’t been actually writing. They’ve just been thinking.
If I gave you a task to write 1000 words in one hour on Paleontology, chances are
you wouldn’t be able to. You would need time to research that topic, think about
what’s going to go into your writing, how you’re going to structure it, what you’re
going to start with, what’s going in the middle, and how you’re going to finish off
that piece. All those things involve thinking and planning.
The reason why people spend months or sometimes years writing a book, and
still end up with something that’s not publishable is because they’re so in their
heads and aren’t thinking it through. They haven’t planned the book properly.
Have you ever tried cooking without following the steps properly? You know,
when you open a cookbook, see the picture of what you want to make, and just
start improvising and hope it turns out okay? It never ends well. Just a big
unappealing mess that doesn’t look good and certainly doesn’t taste good. Trust
me, I know from experience, I’m terrible at cooking..
It’s the same thing with writing your book. You need to follow the steps.
What a lot of ‘would be’ authors do is go into the writing with this hope that within
the process of writing, the content and structure of their book will slowly just
come together naturally and organically. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen that
way for most people.
So what happens is they start writing, while trying to think and plan the book in
their head, which leads to them making it seem like a bigger deal than it is.
Leaving them feeling overwhelmed and like they’ll never be able to find the time
to finish writing their book.
The solution is to not even think about writing yet. Just plan.
Mind Maps, Mind Maps, Mind Maps!
The most effective way to plan? Mind Maps.
Some people like creating lists as opposed to mind maps but if you’re planning
out a book, mind maps are the way to go. Lists are great for writing out tasks that
need to get done or when you need to remember what groceries to buy, while
mind maps are perfect for mapping out ideas.
Using mind maps, you can link new ideas to old ideas and get very intricate with
ideas within different chapters or sections, making it very easy to shift things
around and add substance to weaker areas.
Mind maps are very visual whereas lists aren’t, which makes it so much easier
for your mind to see and understand where things go.
You need to create a mind map of everything that’s going into your book before
you actually start writing anything. Just plan out what’s going to go into chapter
one, two, three, and so on.
When you get stuck or can’t think of anything to add to the chapters, just go
away, take a step back, come back to it a few days later, look at it again. Ask
yourself, is there anything that’s missing? Is there extra stuff you put in there that
doesn’t need to be in there? Plan it out meticulously first.
The wonderful thing about planning is, you can do this whenever you have half
an hour to spare.
So literally, when you’ve got a few minutes in between looking after the kids, or in
between a break from a call with a client, you can just look at your mind map,
analyse it and ask yourself, hmm? Is that a good place for that to be in there? Or
should that teaching come a little bit later? Just get started doing that.
Don’t even write your book, just start planning and mapping out which topics or
chapters go where, and what information is going in each chapter.
Just spend the next few weeks creating a mind map for your book idea, and just
throwing ideas in there. Even if you don’t think you will use it in the end, just
throw in and see what sticks.
They don’t even have to be in the right place yet. Don’t put yourself under any
Then, the next time you look at them, you can organize exactly where everything
goes, and get more detailed and strategic as to how you want the book to go,
from one part to the next.
(A great, free software that I love using for creating mind maps is mind42.com)
Just to give you an idea of a well planned book and mind map, I would expect
any of my students who write a book with me to have at least 350 to 400 ‘points’
on that mind map.
That should give you an idea of the level of planning you need to go into with
your book before you even write a single word.
Within a couple of months, you will have a fully fleshed out mind map of what’s
going to go into your book and what will be in each chapter.
Trust me, when you’ve got a mind map, a book will fly out of you within weeks!
Not months and certainly not years.
Within weeks, it just starts flowing out of you. Because you start to see exactly
what you need to write. No more guesswork. No more writing while planning. No
more getting confused or overwhelmed.
If you’re interested in writing a business book that will generate leads and sales for your business, get a copy of The Freedom Master Plan that will explain everything you need to know about writing and marketing business books.
You can also download a sample chapter here