The most common myth about writing a book is that it takes too long and that you don’t have the time.
Now, before I say anything, I want to make it very clear that I understand how busy you are. I have a tendency myself to get involved in multiple projects at once, and the people I work with and talk to are incredibly busy as well.
So, rest assured, my goal here is not to dismiss what you are currently doing — nor is it to convince you that you are not busy. My goal, rather, is to show you that CAN make the time to write a book if you are committed to your long-term success, and that the time spent on it is a worthwhile investment in the grand scheme of things.
First, let’s just remind ourselves of the three main reasons why experts decide to write a book.
- They want to grow their authority in order to get their name out there.
- They want to buy back their time to work less and make more money.
- They want to leave something behind so people remember them and their work.
Now, if you think about these three reasons, you’ll notice they have at least ONE thing in common: they all suggest that the expert wanting to write a book already has some measure of success, works a lot, and has something worth leaving behind. That’s what we can read between the lines.
Now, here’s the problem: as much these are excellent reasons to write a book in the long term, they also seem like excellent reasons why NOT to write a book in the short term. Because you already have these things going on for yourself, you may not necessarily feel like writing a book is a necessity right now.
So there are forces in conflict:
- Now vs. Later
- Short term vs. Long term
- First-order consequences vs. second- and third-order consequences
- Comfort vs. fulfillment
I always like to compare writing a book to gardening in Canada.
We garden because we want to grow vegetables, and we want to keep some of them for the winter. But, in order to do so, we need to plant the seeds in the late spring and garden all throughout the summer so we can get vegetables for the winter.
Let’s imagine your life and career are one full year. You need to plant the seeds — authority, opportunities, and passive income — and take care of the garden in the summer so that the vegetables can be enjoyed during the winter. Now, you may resent the fact you have to do more work in the summer, when the sun is hot and when you’re busy. But that’s the only way you get the book done.
Instinctively, you might say, I’m going to wait x number of months or x number of years before I write a book. Many experts say they want to wait until they have more time. But here’s the reality, life never gives us more time. It just never does. If you’re an expert, you’re always going to be busy — and that’s okay. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll have more time as if by magic. There is no way you’re going to write a book when you have the time because you’ll never more time than now.
By the time you supposedly will have more time, something will have come up — and suddenly you’ll have no time. And you’ll already have taken the habit of using time as an excuse — of using time as an enemy instead of as an ally. So it will be extremely easy to keep postponing the project to no end. Now, there might be a day in your life where you do have more time as you envisioned it. But it’s going to be too late. The iron will be cold. You’ll have lost the opportunities and the transformative potential of writing a book.
So, the bottom line is, if you truly want to write a book, you need to make the time for it now. It’s not about time, it’s about commitment. There’s only one reason you should NOT write a book, and it’s if you’re not committed to it.
All other excuses are symptoms of fear and discomfort, both of which are normal — and, in fact, prerequisites — for writing a book. Nothing significant is achieved without a once or two of fear and uncertainty.