Write a Book (Even If You’re Too Busy): 3 Super-Effective Steps


Write a Book: Shortcuts for Busy People. Makealivingwriting.comWant to write a book? I know I did.

When I made up my mind to one day leave my regular 9-to-5 job and become a full time writer, I knew I had to change my life. I wanted to write a book.

But where would I find the time? It’s a question you’ve probably asked yourself.

To really become a legitimate writer, I needed to start making it a part of my everyday activities.  As a father, husband, and full-time military officer at the time, this was hard. Life just finds a way to consistently keep us busy, and side dreams, like writing, consistently take a back seat.

I failed for years by just trying to fit writing in when I could.  It wasn’t until I used these three incredibly effective time hacks that I started to see real improvements in my writing that lead to something greater.

Since implementing this, I’ve created a website that gets over 210,000+ visitors per month, 7 consistent bestselling books, and ultimately, was able to quit my job and become a full-time writer.

Want to write a book, even though you’re already busy? Here’s how to make it happen:

Early bird gets the word count

I remember getting home from a long day of work, and thinking, this is my time to write.  But then my 6-year-old daughter would ask to have princess tea time. Then after sipping my fourth make-believe cup of tea, my wife would need me for something.

Finally, when I got the chance to sit down and write, I was utterly exhausted.  Ever been there?

The thing is, in the middle of our day, or the end of our day, life just finds a way to tire us, or busy us further.  If we try to just fit it in when life doesn’t get in the way, we’ll find that we’ll never get adequate time to write.

So, how did I overcome this?

There is only one time in the day where life doesn’t have a hold on you and you have total control on when it begins: Your morning.

Waking up early in the morning, like 4 a.m., was one of the best decisions I made.  The kids aren’t up to ask for things, you spouse isn’t there to task you, and hopefully, your job or schooling doesn’t have a hold on you at that time.

Your morning, before you would naturally wake up, is the only time that you can truly control and consistently devote to a craft like writing. It was from this that I could pursue self publishing as a career.

Now, you might be lucky and have a set period during the day where you can consistently have uninterrupted writing time.  If that is the case, then seize it and and make it a daily habit.  Schedule your writing in like it is an appointment.

However, if you’re like the rest of us, and don’t have such a thing, then start getting up early and controlling that time now.  Just be sure to take it easy.

Coffee is for closers

It’s important to use psychological principles to condition your writing habit, and thus, help you get up on time for your writing.

For me, rewarding myself for meeting my writing goal were essential. After all, it’s easier to do something if we make ourselves feel good about it.

What was the reward I found most effective?


I made it a rule that I was only allowed to drink coffee if I got up at the time I intended, and sat down to write. Although very self masochistic, the idea of going without coffee far outweighed the temptation to hit snooze on the alarm clock and stay in bed a little longer!

For you, it might not be something else instead of coffee.  Perhaps it’s allowing yourself to listen to music during the day, or have that bagel in the morning.  If you can’t think of something, then check these out.

But whatever it is, find a way to reward yourself and make that happiness factor synonymous with spending adequate time writing.

A fond farewell to Netflix

Getting up at 4 a.m. seems impossible, right?  Well, only if you’re going to bed at 11 p.m.

In order to get enough sleep and still get up at 4 a.m., I needed to go to bed at a decent hour.  So, I analyzed my time and found that there was one activity that I did that didn’t need: Netflix binging.

Every night after tucking the kids into bed, I’d head over to the TV and flip between Netflix or Amazon prime video, looking for my next binge watch.

However, in order to get enough sleep to function, and still be able to get up early, I had to make a drastic reduction in this area.

Guess what? It wasn’t as painful as I expected! I actually ended up getting more sleep, feeling more alert, and enjoying movies more as an occasional treat rather than a daily habit.

So what are some things you may wish to cut back on to better serve your writing goals?

  • Movies and TV shows: Although highly entertaining, and somewhat mind numbing, movies and tv shows aren’t as important in our lives and the time spent watching them can quickly add up.
  • Social media: Ever found yourself looking at Facebook, scrolling, scrolling and scrolling? Then all of a sudden, 15-30 minutes have passed? If not, then teach me.  But if you’re like the rest of us, this can happen.  While social media can be a great method to promote your writing, it can also be a large time suck.

So, it’s not about denying yourself the things you enjoy entirely. Rather, it’s about being conscious of our time and ensuring we spend it in a way which serves our aims.

Write a book: 3 super effective time hacks for busy people

If you want to write a book, and you’re already busy, use these super effective time hacks:

  1. Get up early. It’s the only time life can’t interfere and the only time you control directly.
  2. Find a way to reward yourself for getting up and meeting your writing goals.
  3. Cut something out, and get to bed early so you aren’t a zombie in the morning.

These three simple changes in my life allowed me to make writing be a part of my daily routine without sacrificing anything truly important like my livelihood, profession, or relationships.  Without it, I’d still be wishing I could one day be a full-time writer. Want to write a book? Find the time, and make it happen.

Want to write a book, but struggle to find the time? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Dave Chesson is the creator of the e-book keyword research tool KDP Rocket (yes, Carol uses, recommends, and proudly affiliate sells it). He also shares in-depth book marketing guides on Kindlepreneur.com.

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  1. Elaine Rebman

    Love the advice!
    I do like to rise early but tend to get distracted reading other books.
    Time to set aside time to devote to my book!

  2. James Nguma

    Awesome post. For those with procrastination habit of snoozing off the alarm, use the 5-second rule by Mel Robbins to cure the habit.

    • Dave Chesson

      Yes – anything to get past that is super important. For me, it’s just the fear of no coffee for the day…haha.

  3. Joey Held

    I’ve read a few articles by Dave and I always enjoy them – I think there are great lessons here but I’m not sure my body can handle only five hours of sleep! I’ve tried that in the past and it doesn’t end well 🙂

    • Dave Chesson

      Hi Joey. Thanks, that totally made my day to read. As for five hours, that’s true. This is a marathon and in the long run, 5 hours of sleep will drag you down. Everyone’s situation is different, but for me, I removed movie/tv/netflix from my evening and so after putting the kids to bed, and chatting with my spouse, I then went straight to bed. This had me in bed by 8:30pm most nights, giving me 7.5 hours of sleep.

    • Joey Held

      Thanks for the reply, Dave – I totally misread that line! You had me worried you’d turn into a zombie by 2020. 😉

    • Dave Chesson

      haha… “Coffee!!!” (in zombie groan voice)

    • Carol Tice

      I did about 2-3 years where I never saw a TV show… was building my blog. I’d work on it 8-midnight, and then catch about 6-7 hours. Couldn’t do that anymore…but everyone’s different. If you can’t get up early, try dropping the timewasting at night!

    • Carol Tice

      I’m optimized at 6.5 hours and a 15-minute nap in the day, that’s my ideal. Lately though I wake up way too early and can’t get back to sleep! Makes me nuts.

    • Joey Held

      I’ve never been a great napper but maybe it’s time I give it a try!

  4. Brandon Shaffer

    This is very educational and useful. Thank you for the time you have put into assisting aspiring writers. I just started a blog myself and would love some feedback. My blog includes various topics of discussion coupled with bits of writing, primarily poetry. I will be updating it regularly as well as giving tips and tricks writing beginners.

    • Carol Tice

      Brandon, dug you out of spam, commenters can’t include links in their posts here.

      As it happens, I do provide blog feedback — check out my offerings (and resources on creating a blog that earns) here: https://smallblogbigincome.com

    • Dave Chesson

      Glad you liked it. Make sure to keep up with it. Make it a morning routine and grow it over time. Blogs aren’t sprints or bursts of efforts. They are marathon races, and you finish a marathon by keeping pace and putting one foot in front of the other.

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