This post first appeared on Books & Buzz Magazine:
If only I had time, I could write the book I’ve been wanting to write for year. If my schedule permitted, I could write that epic space opera. If my day job didn’t get in the way, I could write the next great romance novel. Or political thriller. If there was juuuuuuuust another hour in the day—or two, I could churn out that self-help book or memoir or vegan cook book.
If only I cou—stop it.
Stop the excuses. You have the time. You just don’t want to make the time.
Now, if being an author is a “nice to have” and not a “have to have” on your bucket list, then click on another article. Go ahead. There are plenty of other things to read on this site that will inform or entertain you. Like my podcast!
But if the thought of your inaction has haunted you for days, weeks, months, or—gasp, A YEAR OR LONGER, then you should keep reading (and stop lying about time).
Now that we got that out of the way, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Freddy Cruz, indie author, podcaster, and event host. In a former life, I was a radio personality, imaging director and community affairs director. Much of my previous career involved writing, whether it be ten or thirty second promo copy or show prep.
The fast paced, deadline driven environment played a significant role in my being able to churn out two novels in less than three years. And while I was lucky enough to have four weeks of vacation time, a lot of writing (my novels) took place during the week. Late nights, early mornings, Saturday nights over a beer or three, Sunday mornings while jacked on two cups of coffee, and three day weekends.
“But Freddy, I’m sooooooooooo busy. How do I make the time?”
Glad you asked. Ever watch Netflix? What about Hulu? Are you one of those YouTube rabbit hole dwellers? If you have an iPhone, check your screen time and see how many minutes and hours you’re blowing on Facebook and Instagram and TikTok and Twitter.
If you spend exorbitant amounts of time on any or all of the aforementioned, then it’s time for you to do some soul searching. Ask yourself why you want to write a book but spend so much time watching TikTok challenges and arguing with strangers on the Facebook feed of your local TV station. Ask yourself why you want to write a book but would rather watch the same 90s sitcom for the third time in a row when you could be cranking out a thousand words (or more) a day.
Back to my career in radio for a split second.
Every week, I had deadlines. Tight ones and loose ones. The tighter ones involved recording a phone call for a contest, editing, and airing the winner audio in as little as three minutes. A tall order in some cases. Loose deadlines involved writing copy on a Monday or Tuesday and producing it on a Thursday or Friday.
You can apply the same philosophy to your manuscript. Easy peasy!
The first step is to treat your writing as a job. And YOU are the boss. The CEO of I am a Real Author Inc.
Now that you’ve promoted yourself to CEO, create a hard deadline. Something to turn around in a day. Start easy. Like one page—two if you’re adventurous. Set a timeline for hitting the deadline, too.
After growing accustomed to hard deadlines for a few days, you should have a gauge for how soon you can finish a manuscript. For example, you cranked out ten pages over the span of five days, all while taking the kids to and picking them up from school, hauling one of them to the dentist, picking up the dry cleaning, sitting in traffic for forty five minutes longer than usual on Wednesday, and volunteering at the local animal shelter—AMAZING! At that rate, you’d have a three hundred page manuscript at the end of thirty weeks. Or more, if you build on your momentum.
So cut the lie of time deficit out of your life and write that manuscript. The world needs your story and only you can tell it.