Writing A Book On A Bed

How to hold yourself accountable for your writing goals

As an entrepreneur writing your first book, you are accountable for your writing goals. 

Unless you’ve managed to snag a publisher to run with your book idea, chances are no-one else has a serious investment in its completion. 

That means, when you write, or whether you write is up to you. 

Of course, you know this. 

And you likely know a number of ways that, with determination and rigorous systems, you can successfully strategize time to write. 

Set deadlines. Make writing dates. Get up at 5am, and crank out a couple of chapters while the rest of the world snores on.

All of these are good ideas. For someone. They just might not be right for you.

Meeting deadline and writing dates can be difficult if you’re a woman entrepreneur

It’s no secret that women in business generally face greater challenges than their male counterparts. And you may already be clocking in more business hours than you want as a result.

For example, small women-led businesses are typically self-financed, solo enterprises that run alongside household and care-giving responsibilities.  

Lack of funding and valuable support systems can push even the most diligent of fempreneurs to second and third shifts after regular working hours.  

If you’re raising a family too, it can be difficult to balance demands on your time at home with your writing ambitions. Especially if your book is additional to the work that’s already taking you from the home.

And if you’re raising a young family, chances are you’re already up at 5am breastfeeding or getting the rest of your kids ready for their day. 

All of this is to say, that writing as female is not simply a matter of following the steps and formulas that are already out there.  

Those steps haven’t been fitted out for you. And being comfortable with this is half the battle. 

I used to believe that to be truly successful I had to wake up early and check off a whole list of productivity-enhancing tasks before starting my day. 

Truth be told, getting out of bed wasn’t the issue. Feeling the benefit of it was. 

For starters, my then-toddler had inbuilt Mom-Movement Radar. As soon as she heard me up, she was there, ninja-fast, thwarting my every effort to mediate, exercise, write, or do any of the things the early-rising success gurus suggest. 

And even if I did get in some minutes of real work, it was never my best work. That’s because I’ve since realized that my sweet spot for writing is somewhere between 1pm and 4pm. 

Additionally, I realized that the nature of my life meant that I was often too exhausted to ‘write every day.’ 

Ditch the blame and shame

So, I stopped blaming and shaming myself for not having the energy levels of a teenager. Instead I made the decision to be OK with the fact that when I did find a spare moment in my day, I wanted to curl up on the sofa with a Sarah Waters novel or a couple of episodes of Derry Girls instead.

As women entrepreneurs, we’re carving out new ways to work, and writing our book is part of that. 

It’s important to remain steadfast to the understanding that as women, as well as individuals, we have different priorities that make certain productivity strategies and system null and void for us. 

Write with ‘real-life’ workdays in mind

To stay accountable to all our goals, not just our book-writing ones, they have to be formed with our real working days in mind. 

That might mean working on your book two or three times a week – or two or three times a month. 

So be it. The point is to keep moving forward in what way you can; Staying accountable to the book-writing strategy that works for you.   

For example, what works for me is to define 3-5 writing goals a week. 

I then break them into smaller goals and add them as one of my five daily goal-focused business actions (I wrote about the idea of focussing on five actions a day here).  

That said, I generally don’t have a writing goal every day. I can typically find an hour or so each Monday or Wednesday for book-related tasks but that still gets switched around a bit. 

And if a goal has to be carried over to the following week, I’m pretty fine with that too. I make a note of it at the end of my week.  

No sweat. No guilt.  And I carry on from there.

Sometimes, I go a week or two without working on my book at all, because I’m busy in other areas of my business, or I’m meeting personal obligations. 

It doesn’t mean I have forgotten my book, or that I’m not accountable for my writing goals. 

I haven’t and I absolutely am. 

But shit happens, especially when you’re a female solopreneur.

And in that capacity, I’m learning that flexibility is a great bedfellow for accountability. 

If you are a woman entrepreneur wanting to write a book to elevate your business, and would like support to get to the finishing page – know that you can always drop me an email for a no-strings chat: colgansiobhan@gmail.com

Siobhan Colgan

Siobhan Colgan is a business owner and writer. As part of her work as a writer, she also helps other creatives and would-be writers find their voice. Email her at colgansiobhan@gmail.com to find out more.

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