At 10.44pm last night, I sent one of my clients her final, full, shiny and sparkly, ready-to-publish book manuscript. It felt pretty damn good, I’ll tell ya, because this project was a challenge.
It wasn’t the content or client that made this difficult. I can’t share the exact details of this book (as I keep all my projects confidential), but I can say it’s a really smart, encouraging, and powerfully persuasive breath of fresh air for readers. The client’s message and ideas are top notch.
And the client (we’ll call her Emma) is lovely. She sent me real, handwritten, physical notes—two of them—thanking me for our work together. How often do people get thank you notes in the mail these days?! Emma was generous with her gratitude, open with her feedback, smart, and insightful.
The project was a challenge because of, well, life.
Mother effin’ life.
Writing a book isn’t an overnight, pour a-cuppa-coffee-and-get-er-done type project. It takes some time. And during that time, life goes on. Things change. People change. Shit happens.
Hopefully most life changes during a long project are good ones! That was the case for Emma. She got a fantastic place in a graduate university program.
But life is life, and over any time frame there are bound to be some sucky things too. Emma went though a bit of an emotional funk at the start of the year (which many of us can relate to). And she had a tough time finding an assistant, which swallowed a lot of her time and energy.
Share the load
While all this stuff was going down, Emma and I were working together.
We did a bunch of phone calls where she offloaded all her ideas, talked me though everything she wanted to say but just couldn’t get on the page, and told me how she’d explain all these things if she was sitting next to someone.
Then I created an outline and wrote each chapter in her voice, sending them along to Emma for her feedback.
Some people want to dig in and write their book all alone, and that’s great! But if you have a lot going on, like a full graduate university course load, or kiddos to care for, or a business to run, see if you can share the load.
Maybe that’s hiring a ghostwriter (ahem!) like Emma did. Or it could be as simple as asking your partner to cook dinner. You could get your mom to take the kids for a few hours on a Saturday, or hire an assistant to handle your email so you can write for an extra half-hour a day.
Emma’s life is uniquely hers, but it is not unique. We all have stuff that can stop us writing. But because Emma shared the load, that life junk didn’t grind her book to a halt.
It did slow things down, and that’s where the challenge arose. She was frustrated that she couldn’t send me her feedback and thoughts as quickly as she wanted, because she had to prioritize her schoolwork. But despite her frustration, we still made progress.
Do it anyway
So when life stops you writing, do a little bit anyway.
If your book is important…
If you want to get to the finish line one day…
If you dream of holding you book in your hand, knowing you achieved what you set out to do…
Get through a page, a paragraph, or even just a flippin’ sentence. Share the load. Do something, anything, to get one baby step closer to your goal.
Because it’s so worth it.
Painfully slow progress is progress.
You’ll get there
Even when things take longer than you want, sharing the load and doing small bits when you can will get you there. Last night, as it crept up to 11pm, Emma and I got there.
We finished her manuscript.
It felt really good.
I want you to feel that satisfaction, too. I want you to know you’re a person who takes action on their dreams. You do difficult things. You’re one of the few who can accomplish big goals.
You make things happen, even when life tries to stop you writing.
So write a comment below and tell me: How will you make progress—even if it’s painfully slow—on your writing dreams?