How to write a book while running a business

Many business owners feel they have a book in their head they want to share. The challenge is, how do you get it out of there? There are mindset issues, of course. Talent concerns too. The biggest issue, however, is time. You can accomplish just about anything if you dedicate regularly scheduled time to learn and do. But you already know that, don’t you? That’s knowledge that comes with being a proud, successful entrepreneur.

Some people are natural writers. Others think they are, blissfully ignorant about how much readers struggle to get through every sentence they write. Many have expertise elsewhere and are comfortable delegating to an editor or ghostwriter for help.

Just about everybody, though, finds it hard to shift styles from typical daily writing demands to what’s required to create a compelling book. The first time, anyway.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do this. If you’ve always dreamed of authoring a book, you should give it a shot. There are a lot of options to help you get this done. They range from plodding through it alone or joining groups, to hiring an editor or delegating to a ghostwriter. However you choose to proceed, the first key is to just start.

Finding the time

It sounds trite, but you really need to make the time to write a book. That doesn’t mean you need to carve out big chunks of your day. Or months of your year. What it does mean is you’ll need to block out consistent time on your calendar to get it done.

Whether you decide you’re going to devote ½ hour first thing each morning or a couple of hours in blocks each week, pick what works best for you. Some find it hard to stop and start with small chunks of time. Others develop a rhythm and enjoy the daily routine.

Business owners are busy. It’s easy to focus on the urgent and neglect the important. Once you find the right topic to keep you excited and a pattern of practice that’s comfortable, you’ll find that scheduled time feeds your soul.

Getting the right book writing mindset

Are you tired of being told, “Just think positive” or “Focus on productive tasks”? Me too.  You can’t write a book with a vision board or a mantra. What you need is a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable enough about to continue trudging through even when you’re feeling uninspired.

Sure, getting into a rhythm with set-aside time each day or week helps, but you need more. If you find you keep getting stuck, that’s a sign.

Maybe the issue is with the organization of the book. Consider going back to your initial outline or rough table of contents to determine if your information sequence has the right flow. Maybe you’re going off on too many tangents instead of sticking to a core concept?

You may not be knowledgeable or excited enough about the topic for a successful book project. It’s OK to realize you picked the wrong subject. It’s also OK to let go of what you already wrote. You don’t need to use it all. Sometimes purging gives you the liberating feeling you need for a better path. It’s not wasted time and effort. That first attempt serves as a wonderful learning experience.

If you’re dreading book writing time or can’t seem to get into a flow, stop. If it feels too hard, something’s wrong. Regroup to come up with an idea that has you relishing the time you spend working on your book.

Developing a book writing rhythm

When I wrote my first book, I was in forced confinement. Dealing with a bad break, doctors orders were three months with no weight on my leg. You think you’ll be able hobble around living life close to normal, but then reality sets in. It was winter in Upstate New York. I quickly realized heading down the icy hill to the barn on crutches for horse care was a really bad idea. I couldn’t drive my stick shift car either. Frustration gave way to determination.

How to write a book while running a business
That book you dream of writing might be more doable than you think. Get some help, whether it’s from professionals or communities, instead of trying to go it alone. That support and insight can be the catalyst you need to realize your published author dreams.

Writing a book provided a great alternative activity once I grew tired of TV binge watching by about day two. I needed a silver lining in this home confinement nightmare. Getting that first book out of me was it. Otherwise, without this mission, I would have probably lost it.

It’s a rare circumstance when a business owner is forcefully sidelined for months. I hope you don’t find yourself there, but if you do, consider the possibilities.

Writing books gets easier once you start. I’ve since authored a bunch more titles and ghostwritten or edited many for others. My approach varies, depending on the project.

For books I write, it’s a couple of weekly two-hour blocks. Daily devotion isn’t realistic. In recent years, I’ve switched my focus to audio books. That’s led me to shorter titles in the 5,000-10,000 word range. These smaller projects make the task a lot easier. Ultimately these “chapters” get put together with some edits and additions for full-length books.

Kindle Vella was recently announced as another option. While this is designed for fiction, there may be opportunities for non-fiction writers to build an audience through the platform. It’s designed for serialized content (600-5,000 words per post) that people buy with tokens. You get 50%, with pricing based on word count.

Ghostwriting as a book creation option

There’s no shame in delegating the task of book writing to another. Sometimes that’s the best option for successful business owners. A good provider will be able to capture your voice in a way that has you exclaiming “That sounds like me!”

She’ll demand a minimal amount of interview time from you for book content concepts you provide. Ideally, this will involve a regular schedule of brief interviews that allow you to review chapters as roughs are completed. You’ll feel like you wrote it without have to spend the time necessary to get the job done.

Your ghostwriter should help you create a strategy for your book organization and content that’s better than you imagined. She should also be a skilled interviewer that discovers hidden gems you hadn’t considered to expand on for content that makes a better book.

When I’m tackling ghostwriting assignments, I devote daily time. It’s easier to do so when you’re getting paid. An author & I can pound out a book together in about three months’ time. This includes weekly brief interviews, then a few days for my content creation time. The rough goes to the author for editing then back to me before we start a new chapter the following week.

It’s a concept I created that works well for business owner authors. Because we’re so efficient with our time and check in weekly to ensure we’re on the same page, so to speak, the cost for this service is lower than typical ghostwriter fees. Of course, it needs to be the right fit for both of us.

Balancing time between writing a book and running a business

Business owners are notorious for multitasking easily delegated duties instead of focusing on critical strategic priorities. It’s so easy to fall into putting-out-fires mode. Writing a book requires scheduled, dedicated time. If it’s important to you, put book writing into your calendar just as you would client appointments.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have to postpone time for your book when business emergencies crop up. What it does mean is you won’t be getting email notifications, be manning the store, or dealing with non-urgent interruptions during your scheduled book creation time.

Don’t try to write your book alone. Objective perspective is really important as you dig into the book creation task. Even if it comes through an online forum, find somewhere you can get feedback. Just make sure the people giving you advice understand what it takes to write a book people want to read. It’s also wise to understand what a good book editor does.

Writing a book can be a great experience. Pick the right topic for you. Get serious about devoting consistent time blocks to the task. Consider your audience and intentions as you dive in. Get some help when you’re struggling. Do that and you’re bound to relish the time you’ve set aside for your masterpiece.

Stay tuned for a future post on how to define your book audience and write in a way that gets you more buyers, not only for your book, but also your primary business offerings.

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