by Kristen Eckstein
In Part 1 of this article, I discussed what procrastination on your book project might be costing you. If you haven’t read it yet, pop over to 5 Reasons You Procrastinate on Getting Your Book Done: What is it Costing You? and read that article before continuing on with this one…
Here are five reasons why you procrastinate on getting your book done… and their solutions:
Reason #1: Lack of Time
This reason to procrastinate is the most common. Everybody wishes for more hours in the day. Many of our to-do lists are filled with about 50–75% more tasks than a normal human being could possibly get accomplished in one day.
Lack of time is even more prevalent in “forward-thinking” societies like the United States. We’re so busy running around like chickens with our heads cut off that we forget we’re bleeding out and about to die if we don’t slow down.
Stress, often from overfilled schedules, is the cause of many health problems, including heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, headaches, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, accelerated aging and yes, and even premature death.
And you want to fit writing a book into your already hectic schedule? Let’s think about this for a moment…
The solution: I believe everyone needs to do a time analysis and budget. Keep track throughout your day of the time it takes you to do every single task, including eating lunch and taking breaks.
Find out if there are any holes in your schedule that could be filled with book writing—and equally important, find out if you have too much in your schedule and need to cut something out.
(Hint: I wrote an entire book about this reason, Author’s Quick Guide to Managing Your Time)
Reason #2: Lack of Money
Writing a book may not be very expensive, and hiring professionals for editing, design and layout can be. Many authors are so confused when they research publishing options and associated costs that they stop in their tracks—before finishing Chapter 1.
Now I’m going to ask you some tough questions… How much money do you spend eating out? On “stuff” you don’t need? Do you have a budget?
How closely do you watch what’s coming in and what goes out? How many times do you go through the Starbucks drive-thru?
The solution: Lack of money is one excuse I don’t tolerate. There are so many free resources available to authors now, all you have to do is open your eyes and look. From crowd funding and bartering with a partner to living on a budget, look for a solution that will meet your financial needs for your project.
The fact is, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Even when I had no income for almost a year and a half, I found ways to get what I wanted to grow my business and publish my books.
Reason #3: Editing
The editing process is daunting to say the least. 100% of all my clients who got a printed proof emailed me and said, “How the heck did I miss that typo?” Creative right-brained people usually loathe editing.
We just want to get the project done and hit the “Publish” button. Left-brained usually people love editing so much they can’t stop. After the tenth round of editing two years later, maybe, just maybe they’re ready to hand their baby off to a professional editor.
Which is another reason the editing process is a cause for procrastination. Editors are a dime a dozen, and good editors are diamonds in the rough.
Often an editor is hired and cannot meet an author’s (sometimes unrealistic) expectations. And the author stops in his or her tracks for another few months and stalls on the project.
The solution: Seek out multiple people who can help you edit your project. From English majors at your local university to friends in your target market, get the input of several people first before sending a (then cleaned-up) manuscript to a professional editor.
Interview the professional editor and ask to see examples of his or her work before agreeing to contract them.
(Hint: I wrote an entire book about this reason, too, Author’s Quick Guide to Editing Your Book)
Reason #4: Too Many Ideas
I haven’t met an author yet who didn’t have at least one more idea for a second book. Most authors have ideas for 10–20 different titles. “Too many ideas, too little time” is the phrase that comes to mind.
If you can’t possibly finish all your ideas with the limited amount of time you have available in your lifetime, then how can you choose which book will live and which ones will die?
The solution: Rate your ideas. Which one are you the most passionate about? Which ones are likely to actually get finished if you had all the time in the world to write?
You will probably never lack for more ideas. Focus on the one burning most passionately inside you until it’s done, then move on to the next, and so on.
Reason #5: Fear Your Book Won’t Sell
When all the above reasons have been dissolved, the final fear that is inevitably left behind is tied directly to the author’s feelings of self-worth.
What if it doesn’t sell? What if all this work writing, editing, publishing and marketing this book is for nothing? What then?
The solution: The fact is publishing is one of the biggest gambles anyone can make. The time spent writing and editing and the expense in producing a professional product are all unguaranteed.
If you’ve been told you should write this book, then you know at least that person will buy it. If one person will buy it, more probably will as well. Don’t let any fear keep you from your dream and leaving your legacy.
Your Next Steps
Ron Cooper said, “My biggest regret could be summed up in one word, and that’s procrastination.” Your next step should involve making it a point to not have that regret in your own life. Here’s what to do next:
- Identify the main reason(s) you procrastinate and use the above solutions to dissolve those reasons of any value held against you and your project.
- Take action and write.
That’s it. There’s no magic pill and no substitute for sticking your behind in your chair and just doing it. So quit reading now and go DO!
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.