I know, the guilt is killing you, and it has nothing to do with decadent chocolate cake. Guilt weighs heavily on your shoulders and even keeps you up at night. When was the last time you published a blog post? How many writing assignments do you owe yourself?
Face it, another day has passed. True, you’ve been busy, but you still haven’t tackled the hard work you need to do to move your business forward. How can it be possible to ever catch up?
For entrepreneurs and small businesses, client deadlines often drive your time management. You land a new project with an aggressive due date, or receive emails from clients with high expectations for quick delivery of services. A number of clients may be competing for your attention. On top of that, you need to manage your business, including employees and contracted partners. Plus, if you have a small business like mine and rely on service-based work for income, detailed timekeeping is a must and invoices need to go out regularly to maintain a reliable cash flow. When do you find time to work on your business?
No more guilt.
I’ve started on a new program to write 1,000 words a day for 20 days, which began with a commitment to a group of like-minded professionals. One member needed to buckle down to finish a book, and many of us knew we had to address similar backlogged items to move our businesses forward – blog posts, ebooks, website material, landing pages, presentations, morning pages – so several of us took on the challenge.
My goal is to get enough of my everyday writing out of the way so that I can afford to allocate time towards something new. In addition to Sircely Marketing, which always commands my attention as my bread and butter ad agency for 25 years, I have another idea for a new initiative in a completely different direction. Even though I’m passionate about this new project, I cannot seem to find time to write the cornerstone content. (I promise to clue you in on the project as I begin to actually develop the program. Note: I said “actually develop” because now I believe I can actually make it happen.)
Writing 1,000 words a day may sound daunting, but once you sit down to write with no distractions, the word count ticks along steadily, and before you know it, you’re a third of the way there.
Each day we check in with the group and describe our progress. It’s amazing how many people all around the world in different types of businesses have similar situations. We all learn from one another and drive everyone forward. The affirmations and kind words from others are encouraging.
Yesterday I noticed that as I disgorge more and more thoughts onto the typewritten page, it’s freeing up more space for creative thinking. Who knew that would happen?!
The One Easy Lesson
Find your time of day and get started.
I’m a morning writer. I wake up with ideas floating around in my brain that beg to be recorded somewhere. Often, I immediately start logging notes, but I can’t just launch into writing, as I need to check my email and quickly respond to urgent messages. Usually there are just one or two, which I can quickly dispatch. Then, I’m determined not to be distracted by email or social media, at least for 60-90 minutes.
Try downloading OmmWriter, a useful writing tool with minimal functions that help you focus. To write in Pages, I’ve learned to click the Full Screen function that brings up a single blank page with no distractions (except the handy numbers below that tick off the word count). Microsoft Word has a similar function.
So far, I’m amazed at my own progress, which makes me hopeful for my new project, and for all the documents I need to create for my business and to lay the groundwork for new endeavors.
Are you ready to banish guilt?
Here are a few ideas to help you reach your 1,000-word per day goal:
- Find your best time to write. You may be a morning person like me, who needs to do a brain dump before other tasks sweep me away. When my children were young, I would get up at 4 a.m. to write before they woke up. Others have better focus in late afternoon or at night. Find your most productive writing time and regularly carve out 60-90 minutes.
- Outline tomorrow’s writing project today. At the end of your writing session, decide what comes next and jot down a few words that will get yourself rolling – if it’s a blog post for example, start with a working title and compose your main subheads.
- If you cannot sit and write for a time, set a timer for 25 minutes. You’ll be amazed how this can help you focus. When the timer goes off, get up and take a five minute break, then set the timer again.
- Take the advice of Daphne Gray-Grant, writing coach, who encourages writers to write, write, write with no revising. If you are dithering about word choices, or rewriting as you write, the flow of ideas will be impeded. If this is a difficult habit for you to break, she suggests putting a dishtowel over your computer screen so you cannot see what you are typing, you just concentrate on typing the ideas on a page.
- Find a source of accountability. If you can check in and get support from a colleague or a group of like-minded individuals, it will help keep you on track.
Before you know it, you will be cranking out all kinds of material to move your business forward. I promise to let you know when my awesome new project begins!
It’s a fact that whatever we plan for our business – a new product, revised webpages, marketing initiatives, ads, presentations – all of it requires writing to facilitate the planning, development and launch of new ideas.
Do you have trouble finding time to write? Give some of these techniques a try. Write every day. Aim for 1,000 words. Once you get rolling, you’ll find you can easily surpass that goal, and you will have lots to show for your efforts.
Please leave a comment to let me know if you’re inspired to banish your guilt around writing – or not!