Time Is More Valuable to Writers than Money

For some writers, finishing their rough draft can sometimes take them more two years. Two years?! That’s a long time, isn’t it? It’s not because we aren’t talented writers, and it’s not because we don’t want to finish writing our books. For most authors, it takes us a long time to finish our books because we simply can’t sacrifice time away from our jobs, family, or other social/professional/community obligations. That makes the way we manage our time the most priceless commodity we have at our fingertips.

What can you easily sacrifice?

  • Do you watch a lot of television or movies?
  • Do you waste hours every day on social media?
  • When the phone rings, how long do you talk on the phone?
  • Do you allow yourself time to work on the things that matter to you?
  • Do you like to sleep in?
  • Are you trying to build a side hustle to make more money?

And these are only six areas of your life that might be sucking time away from your dream of becoming a writer. Trust me, there are many more where those came from. They all require us to weigh our leisure time against the importance of our future success as a published author.

If you think of every second you spend on whatever activity you’re engaged in, how many of those activities are really investing in your future? I’m not saying that you should become a robot, neglect your family, and turn your back on your friends. But … think about where you could be one year from now if you were able to sacrifice only one hour of those activities to pursue your writing dream. You could easily write your first book within a year.

Think about it: if you could write even 500 words in that hour, you could write a total of two novels within the space of a year. That’s a far cry from where you are right now—if you haven’t started writing that book you’ve always wanted to write.

Can you be flexible with your writing habits?

There isn’t only one way to write. Other authors get their writing in with various tools:

  • pen (or pencil) to paper
  • typewriter
  • laptop computer
  • desktop computer
  • analog or digital recorders
  • smartphones
  • tablets
  • sticky notes at your office desk

Being flexible with how you write is as important to time management as finding the actual time to sit down to write. Before I became a full-time freelance writer and editor, I wrote whenever and wherever I could, typing my thoughts in my cell phone or a notebook before work, during lunch, or sitting on the couch while the television played in the background. Though, admittedly, now that I’ve been working from home, it’s been much harder to switch back to those habits. I don’t need to be flexible anymore, though, because my flexibility early on gifted me with the freedom of my dream life as a freelancer.

This is my challenge to you:

Keep a journal this week of every activity you do and record how much time you’re engaged during that activity. Find places during the day where you can sacrifice something to start pursuing your writing goals. Still can’t find the time to sacrifice to get your book written?

Have you thought about hiring a ghostwriter?

If you’ve never heard the term before, a ghostwriter is a writing professional you hire to write your book with your goals, audience, ideas, and direction in mind. In this scenario, you are still the author, and it is still very much your book. But the only difference is that you’ve hired someone to assist you in the execution of your ideas, and if you haven’t heard of it before, you can rest assured that it is not a new or taboo practice in the industry. A large percentage of celebrities, entrepreneurs, publishing companies, and other authors aren’t reluctant to hire a ghostwriter when they have an interesting story to tell. In the last several years, it’s actually become a pretty common practice.

Do you really think V.C. Andrews continued to write after she passed away? Nope. Her family hired a—you guessed it—ghostwriter.

[Post originally published on my Medium page.]

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