Does your writing time feel like a “guilty pleasure”?
I get it. In a day that is filled with obligations – clients, family, chores, deadlines, bills to pay, trash to put out – anything that is for yourself can get pushed to the backburner. While we’re hammered from every side to “make time for self care” and we’re conscious of the need to eat, exercise, drink enough water, get enough sleep, and make time for play, it can be hard to justify time for writing your book.
Suddenly, that “I HAVE to write this book to share my message so that I can help people” drive … twists.
You’re called to write the book and yet, at the first hint of enjoyment in the writing process, writing your book suddenly becomes a “guilty pleasure.”
And it suddenly becomes oh-so-hard to find the time to write.
You find yourself writing in the evenings, not because there was “no time” to write during the day, but because you couldn’t JUSTIFY using the hours in your work day to concentrate on your project.
I enjoy writing. I enjoy almost everything that I write – if that’s a client project, launch copy, a sales page, even posts for Facebook. It brings me pleasure. And it’s easy to do when I can justify spending the time because it’s “for a client.” Even this, my weekly article and newsletter, brings me great pleasure. And it’s easy to justify that I’m allowed to write it during work hours because it is for you, my beloved newsletter list.
Ask myself to work on my own projects, no matter what they are, and suddenly I am struggling. I’ve had ideas for a writing a book for Small Thing, a collection of his favorite made up songs. ZERO commercial value. Does nothing to “move my business forward.” I’d enjoy it though and then … it’s regulated to after-work hours.
Same thing for the book on marketing that I’ve outlined. When it came time to write it, to allow the words to flow they way I enjoy, and then …
I suddenly “didn’t have time.”
What a copout.
I’ve seen the exact same patterns with my VIP Mentorship clients too. The second they realize that writing can be fun, the time to do it is somehow lost. Squandered.
The client I have in mind, realized that she had added her writing time to her 2-hour “me time” in the evenings. This was the time she set aside for reading, bubble baths, and yes, watching Netflix. It was her 120 minutes a day where she didn’t have to account for a single minute, the time in her day when she didn’t have to answer to anybody else. 100% time to do what felt good.
And when writing feels good, when it’s easy, or FUN …
It gets smashed into the “free time.”
But writing IS work. So working in your free time, no matter how enjoyable, created a dichotomy that is nothing short of painful. And you stop writing.
What’s the solution?
We have to trick our brains to realize that yes, it can be fun AND work at the same time. That fun doesn’t need to equate to “wasted time” or “just a hobby.”
For me, that is giving myself permission to write on my projects during the day. Its acknowledging that yes, it needs to be done. Because there is somebody out there who needs my message. There’s somebody who is in pain, who is feeling alone, who is wondering if it (if they) matter.
My words are meant to reach that person.
That’s a high calling. It’s important.
That person, whoever they are, deserve the best of me. Not the for-fun leftovers that I’m wrongly deciding that my writing means. Simply because, yes, I derive enjoyment from the process.
So, I purposefully think of other for-purpose, (maybe even for-profit), activities in my day and business that I wouldn’t ever DREAM of sliding out of the best part of my day and into the fringes. The activity that automatically pops to mind is my 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with my clients. I would NEVER dream of scheduling those for the evenings, when I’m tired and my brain isn’t at full speed. It would be such a huge disservice to my clients and their messages, that it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to time-squeeze it like that.
AND I get great pleasure from my sessions with my clients. I LOVE getting into the nitty gritty of their message, their writing, storytelling, and how I can help them improve. It’s an amazing high and the best part of my day.
If I wouldn’t treat THEM that way, their book and their message and their readers, WHY would I treat MY book and MY message and MY reader that way?
Here’s to your writing. Putting the BEST of you on the page, in the time when you’re the most alert. And enjoying every minute of the process.