J J Hanna
Running your Writing as a Business
Updated: Feb 24, 2020
Over and over again I hear the question, “How do you make time for writing?”
Life is busy. Life will always be busy. That’s just the way we are in this culture of side hustles and full time “real” jobs.
So how do we make time for writing and make space to be as successful in it as we want to be?
The answer is simple. We run ourselves and our writing like a business.
What do I mean by that?
Well, the first step is to actually map out your week. That’s right. Make a schedule. You will never accomplish everything you want to accomplish if you don’t sit down and set aside time for the things you want to do.
So the first step is to mark out what your week looks like. If you’re like me, you have some things that are non-negotiable. A job, a weekly get together with friends, another weekly get together with other friends...
Put those on there first. Those hours are already accounted for, so they’re off limits for your writing.
But now look at the rest of the hours. Is there a minimum of six hours a week that you can put toward your writing? Three hours two nights? Mark that off. If the mornings work better, mark off the times in the mornings. I don’t care when you do it, but aim for six hours a week. That could look like one hour every day except on the weekend or a large block once a week. It’s up to you and your schedule and your family’s schedule. But is there a time when your spouse is at work and your kids are at sports and you have at least an hour to write?
Next, make a list of goals. What do you want to accomplish? When do you want to accomplish it by? Write those down. Make them S.M.A.R.T.
This means that “I want to write more” is not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. But “I want to write 10,000 words by the second week of February” is getting closer. “I want to write 10,000 words by Valentine’s Day” is a S.M.A.R.T. goal. It’s specific in what you want, the word count is measurable, it should be attainable while still pushing yourself, it’s relevant to your career, and you’ve given yourself a deadline. That means you know exactly whether you’ve accomplished your goal or not.
If you make a list of goals like that, you’ll be more motivated to do things for your writing in those six hours you’ve chosen then you would be otherwise.
Now, the hardest part about running yourself as a business is that you don’t have a boss getting on you to show up to work. You don’t have a manager that can fire you if you don’t do your job. So figure out your big why.
Why do you write? Why do you want to get a book published? What is your mission and your big, overarching goal for yourself?
Print that out and put it on the wall by your desk.
If you see that every day, you will inevitably remember what brings you to work and you’ll have a much easier time buckling down and focussing in the time you have.
Following these principles will bring results. One way or another, if you sit down six hours every week to write, you will make progress in your current project and your career because you showed up to do the work.
The first step to success is showing up. You owe yourself that.
J. J. Hanna graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Professional Writing. She's currently working with literary agent Cyle Young as a literary scout. In what free time she has left, she also works as a freelance writer and editor. To hire her for editing, writing, speaking, or consulting, see the services tab. She can often be found cuddling with a cat, reading the latest suspense novel, or filming YouTube videos about the publishing industry.
Follow her on most social media @authorjjhanna