Writing and Publishing

Block Out Four Hours to Write

The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Last week I blogged about forming a habit to write regularly as prompted by the book The One Thing. A second idea that resonated with me from Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book is the idea of blocking out time to focus on one thing, in my case writing. While most people might strive to block out an hour a day to focus on their one thing, the authors advocate a four-hour time block—in the morning.

I realize this is impossible for most writers who jockey writing with work and family and life in general. Yet a couple of months ago I would have said the same thing about myself. Though I would have liked to write four hours every morning it loomed an unrealistic fantasy. But when a ghostwriting project made it absolutely necessary to spend four hours writing each weekday, I found a way to do it.

The results are amazing—not only for my writing but for other things as well.

I’ve long felt that my work as a magazine and newsletter publisher did not require forty hours a week to do. Some weeks I could prove this as correct, while on other weeks my work would absorb every minute I could give it—and insist upon more. Now that I don’t have more time to give to my work, I’m finding I can typically do it in less time. My goal is twenty hours a week. Though I’m not there yet, I am close.

Setting aside a four-hour time block to write has resulted in me being more efficient in other areas as well. I have even more incentive to say “no” to things that don’t matter. I feel so free (most of the time).

Because of the intense writing project, I’m on, my four hours a day writing has become more like five or six. So once this project is over, it will be easy to scale back to only four hours a day. I would have never thought that.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

4 replies on “Block Out Four Hours to Write”

Got to try this! I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo writing. Too many other things keep getting in the way. I keep telling myself I have to treat writing like it is my job, which it is, and put it first instead of after I run errands for everyone else. Four hours really doesn’t sound that unmanageable and would make a huge difference.

Patricia, it has made a huge difference for me. Though I’ve only been doing this for a couple on months, I’ve had several 2,000-word mornings and once I wrote 2,700.

But until I committed to it, I would have never said it was possible.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!