• John Lim

MF 229 : Finding time to write within a busy schedule

Updated: Apr 14

On this episode, we cover how to find time to write as a solo or co-writers when you have a busy schedule. More at www.bemovingforward.com.

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, iHeartRadio, and Spotify.

Part 1: Happy Poshversary!

This week, my dad and I are celebrating a one year anniversary of starting our commerce journey on Poshmark. It’s hard to believe how quickly the year has gone by. To date, I’m still continuing to work with my dad on this business every day. Even though the podcast mini-series ended on episode 221, our journey is ongoing.

Looking back, I think about where we started in 2016; tackling a big question and problem of how do we keep his business relevant with so many consumers shopping online. Go back to episode 202 and you’ll hear about our struggles trying out different platforms and solutions; each with plusses and minuses until we stumbled onto Poshmark.

It wasn’t easy. We had a steep learning curve and didn’t hit our first sale until about four months in.

As with any endeavor, we focused on learning the platform and had to start over, learning a new way to do retail. Over time, we started to generate sales, facing new wins and challenges, some of which I shared on the podcast.

Today, we’re still learning. We are continuing to refine our process so we can do this better and build upon what we accomplished. One of our big ongoing challenges is inventory management – making sure that our Poshmark inventory matches what we have in store. In addition, we’re looking to grow the business and the potential of entering the wholesale market.

I’m grateful for the past year and excited to see where we move forward from here. If you want to learn more about Poshmark, check out episodes 202221. You can also see my Poshmark roadmap with links to all of the episodes and writeups.

Part 2: Finding “pockets of time” to create a writing schedule

One of the biggest challenges or hurdles or hesitations to writing a book is finding the time. When you think about writing a book, you may have the same image I have before I started – that of a writer locked in a room for weeks or months, typing away non-stop.

The reality is that most of us aren’t full-time writers. We’re writing our first book for a variety of reasons. The journey may lead to becoming full-time writers but for most of us, it’s a supplement to what we’re already doing with our businesses and careers. The point is we shouldn’t let our misconceptions about how much time is required to hold us back from doing it.

Let’s talk about two approaches we’ve covered over the past few weeks. Two weeks ago, Alissa Carpenter shared a hybrid approach. She wrote her manuscript combining a traditional type-to-page with recording audio and having it transcribed. This worked well for her as she travels a lot and doesn’t always have time to sit in front of a keyboard.

For Making Fake Star Trek, my co-author and I went with a 100% audio first draft. We talked out and recorded each part of the story over a 3 month period. We then spent a few weeks collating and organizing these into a coherent outline. We didn’t actually get into the typing stage until around the fourth month.

This leads to an important question: how can you find time to write within a busy schedule? I’m assuming that most of you are juggling any number of responsibilities so writing is a matter of finding what Alissa calls “little pockets of time” rather than large swaths.

One method, which I highly recommend, especially if you’re writing your book as a solo author is what Monica Miller calls the 3-15-90 method.

Monica is an author and writing coach and I spoke with her on episode 120 to break down the process. She suggests that you approach writing a book this way: 3 days a week, 15 minutes per session for 90-days.

The 3 days per week accounts for the fact that you probably won’t have time to write every day. Three is a doable goal. Fifteen minutes is a good benchmark because it’s also doable. Having written a book, I can tell you there are days when you’ll feel like 15 is a breeze and you can keep going (in which case go for it) and other days when you’re struggling to punch out the words and the clock is barely past 2 minutes. Keep your minimum time goal reasonable, whether 15, 10 or 5. Finally, if you keep this up, by around 90 days you’ll have a written draft or at least will have made a lot of progress towards it.

For Andy and me as co-writers, we went with a different method. We used a book writing program that allowed us to collaborate but with the limitation that we couldn’t write on it the same time. I’ll cover this and other writing tools next week. What’s important is that busy schedules on two different coasts and the software limitation made us to structure the writing accordingly. We decided to designate days based on when we had pockets of time to write. Since Andy is generally busier during the latter half of the week, I took Fridays – Sundays while Andy took Mondays – Wednesdays. Thursdays were toss-up days. We didn’t always follow this to the letter but we committed to writing every week. We also communicated regularly so if I had a pocket on a Monday or Andy had time on a Friday, we could get more done.

The key to writing a manuscript is to break it down into steps and goals. Andy and I designated a schedule, put it on our calendars, and communicated regularly by text or phone. We also had our collection of recordings and an outline to guide us which is why it’s vital to invest the time and energy into the first draft process.

Homework

You may still be in the recording stage. If you are, don’t skimp or rush that. As you approach the mid-way or endpoint, look at your calendar and do a time audit to see where you can squeeze in time to write. Put it on a calendar or set a phone reminder so you don’t forget. Make your schedule commensurate with your availability. If you don’t have time to write more than once a week, then go with once a week. It may take longer but you’ll eventually get there if you stick with it.

Part 3: What I’m reading / read

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle (****). This book presents a compelling thesis that high achievers aren’t born. Similar to Daniel Pink’s When and Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers, this book takes a case study and scientific approach in examining why and how certain individuals are able to accomplish or achieve at an extremely high level. Coyle breaks it down into three aspects: 1) deep practice, 2) ignition and 3) masterful coaching. He also looks at the neural science and specifically, the role of myelin to understand how the brain is conditioned for high achievement. A fascinating read.

Scrivener

Scrivener (available for Mac, Win, IOS) is a book writing program that auto formats for self-publishing on Amazon’s KDP and other platforms. It’s a great tool with rich features that allow co-writers to collaborate through Dropbox. Scrivener has a bit of a learning curve but I’ve been a fan since 2017 and have talked to many authors who use it as their go-to. If you’re interested in Scrivener, you can use the coupon code MOVINGFORWARD to get 20% off your purchase (for Mac or Win). It’s a one-time license fee and available for Mac, Win, IOS.

Note: this section contains affiliate links and coupon codes for which the author may receive some compensation.

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