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Write Your eBook - 6 Great Ways to Find the Time
Busy! Busy! Busy!
What's new? And who isn't busy?
The majority of eBook authors are part-time writers. There are very few professional writers making their living writing non-fiction eBooks. In most cases, the eBook author is a professional with a full-time business or career to run or the author has an interest about which she/he is passionate and is using the eBook as an expression of that passion.
Finding the time to write an eBook among all the other demands made upon you is a difficult task. The process and planning required to complete the eBook authoring process can be managed but the real time you must find for actual writing requires some new attitudes, skills, and knowledge.
The A.S.K. Principle (Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge) is the foundation of all teaching and learning. It is applicable to eBook authoring and finding the time to write your book. As you reflect on the 8 suggested ways to find time to write, consider whether you will require an attitude change, learn new skills, or acquire additional knowledge in order to help you find the time to write.
Attitude changes may be as simple as giving yourself permission to take the time to write. It may require requesting the cooperation of family members to leave you some undisturbed time in a large block once a week to write.
Skills are really the application of knowledge. Simple to complex skills and everything in between can be acquired through experience or instruction. A well organized filing system for researched materials is a skill that requires little effort. Learning how to maximize the word processing software you use to write your eBook requires more effort.
Knowledge is the information we collect via experience and formal instruction. Facts and information is what we generally consider as knowledge. Applied knowledge is wisdom. Consider the knowledge factor in writing eBooks. The use of a Table of Contents is of paramount importance to authoring an eBook. Knowing that the TOC is your blueprint for your eBook frees your mind to pursue other things, including writing.
When you get a good idea taking the 2-3 minutes that it requires to write that idea down will be an invaluable habit resulting in some extraordinary writing. Don't forget to include some key points that immediately come to mind. You can "flush out" the details of the idea later but it's essential you write down enough information that you will be able to plug back in to the original thought pattern whenever you get back to it. Never lose a good idea. It may not return to you and a great opportunity may have been missed.
The premise that good writing can only be accomplished while using large blocks of uninterrupted writing time is false. A friend of mine claims he wrote his eBook at Interstate Highway rest stops while traveling on business. His rest breaks become his writing time and a break from driving. It took some organization on his part, but the shortness of his blocks of writing time (10 - 30 minutes at a time) wasn't an impediment. In fact, he claimed it forced him to get right down to work and forced the ideas to flow without worrying about doing any editing.
You can prove to yourself that writing in short time frames is useful and productive. Select any three words, or have someone else select them for you. Choose a noun, an action verb and an adjective/adverb. Time yourself for 5 minutes writing non-stop, with no corrections or editing, incorporating those three words somewhere in the first few sentences of your writing. You will be amazed by how much you can write in just 5 minutes. You will be amazed at how easily just 3 "trigger" words can generate ideas. You will be amazed at the quality of your writing when the "flow" is flowing! You will prove to yourself how productive just 5 minutes of writing time can be. Try this exercise. It'll only take 5 minutes.
6 Great Ideas for Finding Time to Write
1. Carry with you at all times key words and phrases from your Table of Contents along with supporting points you want included. Use this barebones outlines to write in the waiting rooms of doctor's offices or while your wife/husband is shopping or the last 10 minutes of your lunch break or whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Key words and phrases is all you need to get you started writing. It's all the inspiration you need. Don't worry about editing. There's plenty of time for that later. Don't forget to record any new ideas in the margin of your writing so you don't lose that next great gem of an idea!
Your Table of Contents flushed out into sub-topics then in to key words is all you need to get you started. You don't have to carry a lot with you. Just carry one current chapter or topic with you at a time.
Some writers simply use a small black notepad that fits in their pocket or purse that contains the key words they are working on at the time. You can transcribe your writing later.
2. The key to productive writing is to get the ideas flowing and to go with the flow for as long as you possibly can. When the ideas are flowing, it is not the time to be using your best hand writing or the perfect typing skills. Punctuation and sentence structure takes a back seat for the time being. You want ideas on paper or on the computer monitor. Most people will be hand writing their initial notes especially if they are doing it in small snippets of time. Legibility is important so you can understand what you've written when you transcribe it. But beautiful handwriting is not an objective. Use as many shortcuts as possible to keep the ideas flowing. Use abbreviations for often repeated words like "t" for teacher. Use acronyms. Record the ideas not actually sentences when good ideas are coming faster than you can write. You can always come back to those ideas at another 5 minute writing interval and expand on it. The beauty of learning how to write in small chunks of time is that you always feel empowered with the progress you make at each writing session.
3. Arrange to exchange babysitting or child watching sessions with someone to allow you to write in a large block of time when it's your best time to write. At what time of the day or day of the week are you most productive? Where do you get the most inspiration to write? How effectively do you get down to work and what kind of physical environment is most conducive to writing effectively and efficiently? Exchanging child sitting time must be mutually beneficial. Perhaps the person you exchange time with wishes to pursue a hobby or interest that makes the exchange worthwhile. Using this kind of arrangement also removes any guilt and frustration you might have in finding and using large blocks of time. Don't feel guilty about paying a babysitter in order to write. If writing is important to you; If writing is a passion; If writing is a "re-creational" activity; then give it the importance it deserves and treat yourself to writing time.
4. Prioritizing is a key to successfully reaching your goals in life. Making writing one of your priorities and advertising that as a priority of yours will open up possibilities to write more. Others respect what you value if they value their relationship with you. The Aladdin Factor (Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen) points out that you only get in life what you ask for. If you require time to write and make a point of asking others to help you find that time, you are much more likely to be successful. Bring others on board as teammates. Be ready to give as well as receive in order that others can reach their goals. We get more by giving away more! One simple technique that is very effective is to schedule writing sessions into your planning for the week and do it on a regular basis. Habits are formed through repetition. Many successful and prolific writers say that without scheduling time to write they wouldn't get much accomplished. You can't always wait for the right time to write. Using key words and outlines you can begin the writing process quickly and write productively. You train yourself to write when you need to write.
5. Use your time more efficiently by having all the materials you need for writing located in one location so you can just sit down at any time and write. This includes having your materials ready for "on the go" writing. Whenever you end one writing session you should automatically prepare the catalyst material to begin the next writing session. This includes being very specific about the topic and key words to begin writing immediately upon sitting down. You will save 10 to 15 or more minutes per writing session when you prepare in advance. Take 5 minutes to get ready at the end of each writing session to prepare for the next writing session and make better use of the writing time for the next session.
Each of us has a preferred time and place to do our creative writing. Creative writing needs a catalyst as mentioned above. If you prefer to write initially with pen and paper, you can then use your non-creative time to transcribe your written notes to your word processor. Evenings watching sports on television is when I do my keyboarding. It's a no-brainer time for me. It's not a time for thinking. Some writers avoid the word processor altogether by having someone else type their notes or by dictating their notes and having them transcribed. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important and using that knowledge is even more important.
6. Writing breeds more writing. The more writing becomes a habit the more it happens. Research says it takes 21 repetitions to break an old habit and establish a new one. Writing for 5-15 minutes per day for 21 consecutive days should establish writing as a regular habit. So give yourself a reasonable target of 21 repetitions to establish new writing behaviors. That's just 3 weeks of writing. Imagine how much you will have written at the end of that time. Make a conscious effort, especially when you are first starting out writing material for your eBook, to make writing a habit. Write out your goal of 21 consecutive days of writing for anywhere from 5 - 30 minutes per day. Copy a page of a calendar and post it on the refrigerator so you can stroke off every successful day of writing. Record the total time spent writing and the total number of pages written. Share your goal with those who may be most affected by your chosen activity. Post a written copy of your goal everywhere that will remind you to stay on task. Advertise to those around you how important that this is to you. If you don't ask for assistance you won't get it. Have a buddy with whom you can share your progress and one who will help keep you on track if you should falter. Weight-watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous realize the importance of a team of supporters to help reach goals. You need a team as well.
© 2005 Paul Jackson
Paul Jackson is an eBook author, a retired Elementary School Administrator and an experienced workshop leader. His retirement passion is helping people fulfill their dreams of authoring a book - an eBook in particular. Through http://www.ebookwritingandpublishing.com
Paul helps people with a process, a plan and support services to make the authoring journey an enjoyable and successful one.
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