Finding Time to Write by Jerry Jenkins

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Finding Time to Write by Jerry Jenkins

 

 

Finding time to write is every writers challenge. Jerry Jenkins has sold 70 million copies of 190 books and he started in his lounge with a makeshift desk. He explains how he found time to write.

It was a sad sight…

Before the couch in the middle of our small living room sat two kitchen table chairs with a four-foot plywood plank across them. A manual typewriter perched on the plank.

That was my first home writing office. I couldn’t afford a desk or even an office chair. But that wasn’t going to stop me.

The big obstacle now was time. Where would I find the time to write?

I wouldn’t. I’d have to make the time. Something would have to go. I’d vowed to maintain my family priorities, so every evening after putting the kids to bed and kissing my wife goodnight, I didn’t even consider watching TV, reading, or getting to bed early.

I assembled my makeshift writing office, parked myself on the sofa, and pursued my dream.

I had come to a critical realization:

To maintain my priorities I could write only from 9 p.m. to midnight every night.

Even though I was where you and every other writer (yes, even the now famous ones) once was—unknown and unpublished—I still had the same thing we all have: 168 hours in a week.

Learning to make time to write was just the beginning, of course.

Over time, through tons of trial and error, I started to improve at getting the most out of those 3 hours I managed to carve out of my schedule.

I discovered 5 secrets to consistently producing, overcoming procrastination, and not letting fear and self-doubt cripple my progress:

  1. You have to become a sponge: Even to this day, after having had more than 190 books sell over 70 million copies, I still voraciously consume books on writing, attend writers conferences, and gladly pay for opportunities to improve my skills. Four decades of experience have taught me there’s no substitute for the right guidance during the writing.
  2. Don’t buy into your fan club. Stop listening to relatives and friends who praise your writing, unless they’re in the business and have a clue. They’re being nice, but they aren’t helping you get better and get published. Develop a thick skin and learn to seek criticism from people with experience.
  3. Silence your inner critic—and GO! Don’t listen to that voice in your head. That’s just you in disguise, and you don’t have a clue yet either.
  4. Allow time for procrastination: Confession—to this day, I am still a huge procrastinator. So how have I averaged writing around 4 books per year for 40 years? By building procrastination into my schedule. Give yourself a deadline and determine how many pages you need to write per day to finish your book. If you miss a day, trust that your subconscious is working on your story and you can make up the pages you missed during your next writing session. Knowing this is inevitable, schedule procrastination days on your calendar.
  5. Find a mentor who can show you the way: This is where I struggled for years. When I started out, there simply wasn’t a way to easily connect with experienced writers willing to mentor me. That’s one of the main reasons why I started my online Writers Guild—to give writers direct access to me as their mentor.

Making time to write and learning how to make the most of that time is key and will make you more productive than you dreamed possible.

I’ve made a life of this book-writing thing, and you can too. If you’ve been hung up by procrastination, self-doubt, or rejection, just remember that I’ve been there—as have countless others before you.

But most importantly, proceed with confidence. You can know the pride of holding a finished manuscript in your hands.

The best part? The pride and confidence that comes with writing consistently is just the tip of the iceberg. Tomorrow, I’m going to show you a massive hidden benefit of becoming a writer that you may not have considered yet. :)

Until then,

Jerry

jerry@jerryjenkins.com