Are You a Commitment-Phobic Author?

03/09/2011 04:26 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Have you ever heard that you should dress for the job you want? The implication is to look the part so that your boss can picture you in the position as a natural transition. Imagine if you dressed way too casually for your sales position while at the same time trying to land the new manager spot. Even if you have the expertise and the experience, you may be jeopardizing your ability to move your career forward if people cannot imagine you representing the position well.

The same is true for being an author. You need to lead the life that you are imagining you will have as a writer. So what does that look like? How much time are you spending writing or thinking about your book each day? How often are you thinking of ways to build or expand your platform? What is your time commitment - really? Are you putting in the time and are you actually taking steps everyday to make your dreams come true? Are you networking and connecting with other authors?

If you believe that all successful authors drop their real job and rent a cabin in the woods in order to write, you are mistaken. Accept the fact that you will have a full-time job and a life while you are working towards being an author. You need to squeeze in this new writer life that you are creating. Believing you will get to it when you have some extra time is an illusion.

Financial advisors tell you to take a percentage of your income and pay yourself first to reach your financial goals. The same is true for being an author. What part of your day can you own for yourself that is helping you reach your professional author goals?

I am of the belief that you shouldn't have something on your wish list that you really aren't dedicated to. You quickly find out how committed you are to becoming an author by looking at your to-do list and your calendar. If your book and your career is not showing up then give yourself a break and admit you really aren't that committed. It's like losing weight - you have to really want it AND you must do the work to get there. Simply knowing you should, or thinking about doing it won't make it happen.

Every single day when I make my to-do list I have my work projects and my own book projects listed. Quite often I use my lunch time or my time after dinner and my weekends to work on my book. It is not only a time management issue it is an emotional management issue. It is a muscle that I had to develop because I could certainly say I was too busy. That would have never led to any of my published books.

I don't think I have ever met a successful writer who didn't tell me at some point that they got up a little earlier than they wanted to because that is how they fit everything into their day. They get up earlier, work a little later, and commit time on the weekends. They all schedule time to pursue their dreams.

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch& Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: