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Finding the Time To Get Work Done on Your Story

October 12th, 2012
From Dennis Lowery

In my article, “How do you start to tell your story?” I touch on a good way to think about the start to your story… but I know that most people need an important element in order to get started:

Time. It is sometimes used productively; it is sometimes wasted; but, more often than not, time is always wanted. There is a finite amount given to us each day and infinite ways to spend it.

For those who are busy—who want to write a book but feel they lack the timethere is hope.

You cannot create more time … but you can use what time you have in a different way. It is a matter of balance, with a dash of decision thrown in. As Kipling put it: “Fill the unforgiving minute, with 60-seconds worth of distance run”. If your unwritten book is one of those important things you want to get done … time can be carved out even from the busiest and most demanding of schedules. I’ve done it. I know many professionals who have done it. And you can do it too.  Let me show you how.

There is a tremendous personal, professional and commercial upside and reward to being a published author. You probably already know that or have seen it to be true. But writing a book is a big project. One that many professionals want to accomplish—but often fail to make happen.


“There is just not enough time to get it done!” is what I’ve often heard.

But there is enough time in the day to get it done. (I’ll share with you why, based on some unique thinking and techniques I’ve developed  over the years—that, I believe, can help you).

Although it is a tired cliché, it is so appropriate, that I have to use it here:

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

How, then, do you write a book? One word and sentence at a time.

While this might sound simplistic and some of you may be thinking, “very funny … that’s not much help”. But as simple as it is, that is exactly how books are written.

If you did no more than 1,000 words a day (about 17 words per minute for 1 hour) … you could generate a 50,000 word first draft manuscript (about a 200 page book), in 50 days. Less than two months. But sitting down to a keyboard and doing that day-in-day-out for 50 days can be difficult for many busy professionals … and impossible for some.

So what can you do?

For those who have many demands of them, or do not have that hour each day to actually sit down at the keyboard and work on your book … I ask you this. What if I showed you how to generate a 90,000 word first draft manuscript in about 30 days and it would not require you to sit and plug away at a keyboard each day?

Are you interested in learning how to do that?

It can be done. You have to know or learn how and it requires discipline.

You probably have the following questions for me:

Doing it your way how much time would it take out of my day?


What tools do I need?

Your phone (cell or landline)

How do I do it (and is there some cost involved)?

Adducent tip - Call In and Create for Your BookUsing conference call technology, which provides you a way to record calls from multiple parties on the call, you use your phone to dictate the pieces of your book and interview others to capture additional content… one “bite” at a time. Then you can have the audio files transcribed; turning them into editable text files. It is easier to re-write than to get the original content down on paper. This method enables you to fast-track creating a rough draft of your book! And if you don’t have time for the re-writing, shaping and editing process–what you accomplish using this method will help lower the cost of having a writer or ghostwriter complete the work for you.

For my clients I provide an exclusive number to use for solo dictation and the transcription services for their recordings.

Using this approach to creating content for your story enables you to spend time productively on your writing project, from anywhere you happen to be and have phone access.

Here is why this works and how such an approach would work for you, if you are pressed for time, yet have the desire to write a book(s).

Most people can think and talk faster than they can type. Most people speak over 120 words per minute but type less than 40 words per minute. At an understandable pace, a person can dictate about 100 words per minute. In five-minute chunks, you should be able to produce 500 words. With a total of 30-minutes a day, you can produce 3,000 words per day—generating a first draft manuscript of about 90,000 words in 30 days.

Or a 50,000-word first draft manuscript in a little more than two weeks.

Or if you only have 15 minutes per day, then 1,500 words per day will build a 50,000-word first draft in about 33 days.

Why is this method particularly useful if I have one or even more people that are sources of information for my story? 

The capability to include others in the content creation in this manner (by having them dial-in to be on the call with you) enables you to bring in former staff, colleagues etc. who have things to share that are part of your story or part of what you want to include in your story. This approach is well suited for those who plan to include information from, and interviews with, several people as part of the development of their book.

Keep in mind the following about this method:

  • You need to have some computer proficiency to download your audio files after each recording, naming and keeping track of them, and to deliver them for transcription (or have someone who can do this for you). Transcribing the audio files, does come at a cost. You can use your audio files and put them through software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, which will turn your spoken file into a text file (requiring you to edit, as no software currently available is 100% accurate and error-free). You have the cost of the software and the learning curve in using it. If you use a transcription service, it is best to use a resource that has experience with your topic or the subject/setting for your book so that they “understand” what you are saying, which will help to minimize errors, or blank “dead” spots that need clarification that will arise from the transcription process.
  • This first draft will be very rough (as all first drafts are) and will need much more work. It will probably need research, and you will want to incorporate any written materials and records that you do have on hand or access to that will add to the content of your book. It will require editing to ensure consistency and continuity to smooth and polish it, to turn it into a second and then final draft.  This is all part of the process and stages of progression for writing your book. Or you can have someone help you and what you’ve done will lower the cost for professional help to develop and polish your rough draft further and get it publication ready.
  • This method can and will enable you to get a large amount of content compiled for your book, in a relatively short period. Using this technique and managing the topics of your dictation, and flow of the download and transcription of the parts, you can begin “knitting” the pieces for your story together into a whole “cloth.” Depending on the resources you use, they can also begin to edit the work, flag areas in need of more material to flesh them out or that need the support of additional research and information.
  • It helps to have a guide for how to be consistent with this approach so that you stay on track, so the digital audio files are kept straight and can be transcribed and efficiently managed for placement into the structure of your manuscript in the appropriate sections.

Now that you know there are ways to use even small chunks of time to effectively write your book … you have to have a plan for how to approach the project. I show you how best to start so there is a “rhyme and reason” to your efforts in my article: How to Plan & Organize your Writing Project

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