How to Write a Book While Running Your Startup
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
I wrote a book! Can you believe it? Me neither. While the book was tangentially related to my startup's mission -- providing consumers a sustainable skincare line -- it wasn't easy.
Obviously, I'm not the first or only entrepreneur to have ever done this but to me it feels pretty epic. Most days, I'm barely managing the growth of my business, but these past few months, I've been working harder than I ever have before. I definitely feel that I've learned what it means to push your own limits, and I can't believe I survived.
For those looking to do the same, here are my tips for writing a book while you're running your company.
Begin by blogging.
Aren't you blogging for your business already? If you aren't, you should be. To me, it's one of the best ways to talk to your potential customers and to really connect with other people. So start writing and try to keep your content steady -- it should be consistent and have a coherent theme that ties it all together. When you start working on a book proposal and the first draft of a book, you will be eternally grateful for all of the content you can pull from.
Stop. Watching. Television.
This is actually something that Jason Sadler said to me during our live chat on Entrepreneur.com, and I think about it all the time. The reason it is such good advice is because it makes me think of how much of each day I waste staring at a screen. And it pushes a button with me, because as a busy entrepreneur, I really value my "free" time, or time I think that I'm relaxing or "being balanced." Whenever I watch TV or am being unproductive, I like to tell myself that I need that time to feel sane -- and maybe to a certain extent that's true. But I'm pretty sure none of us need as much time off as we think.
Say goodbye to your social life.
You will have a deadline, and if you don't, you should still give yourself one. So say goodbye to your nights and weekends. And your friends. You're going to have to just suck it up for a little while.
For me, it was really helpful to keep in mind that I had always wanted to write a book, and I got what I asked for. A book is not just going to appear in the world without lots of work on your part. So it was important for me to quickly accept that for a very brief period of my life, I was going to compromise my social life in exchange for making my dreams come true. Now I'm crawling slowly back into the real world, and it's still there. It will be for you, too.
Your writing may creep into your work life.
Be ready for the writing to take over your job sometimes. Close to my final due date, I realized I still had not written enough, so I gave in and took a week off to finish. I was still checking email for the business but only sporadically. I did not go into our office at all. That week, I spent from 9 a.m. to midnight writing and editing. It was actually super fun in a weird way. It was much easier to focus, I was able to get into a zone and become more creative and when I was done, I was done. Also, you'd be shocked how much you can get done with enough time: I wrote about 30,000 words and pieced together the entire first draft in one week.
So there you have it. I'm exhausted even talking about it, but I'm also incredibly proud and fulfilled.