How I Wrote a Book: The Joy Of Missing Out

When it comes to finding your true purpose in life… Do you have all of the tools that you need to get started?

This is just one of the questions that we’re tackling this week on Episode 134 of the podcast, and for me, it’s a BIG topic to touch on as Season 11 of Productivity Paradox moves along… because, here’s the thing:

Your purpose—that one thing that you feel you were meant to do in life—is essentially what drives you to pursue all of the things you’re most passionate about! Purpose and passion, for me, go hand-in-hand and are the gateway to truly finding that element of fulfillment and happiness that we all crave.

But guess what! Far too many of us mistake the words “passion” and “passion project” with hobbies. (They are not as similar as you might think!)

And while we touch on the differences between hobbies and the things that we’re most passionate about on the episode this week, I thought I might take some time today to dive into one of my passion projects… and to share some insight on exactly how I was able to see it through to completion!

By doing so, I’m hopeful that those of you that might be in need of a boost to give yourself the grace to say Yes to YOUR passion project will find the motivation that you need to take a peek at your schedule and to rework it so that you can align your day-to-day with what gives you that sense of purpose and fulfillment in life…

Because isn’t that what we all need a little more of, time for ourselves to truly get started on seeing our Big Dreams and other goals to fruition?

Remember: Overwhelm isn’t having too much to do, it’s not knowing where to start!

So, without further ado… Let’s take a look at exactly how I was able to accomplish what is quite possibly my biggest passion project of all: writing my book, The Joy of Missing Out!


The 5 Things I Did to Write My Book


1. Made Room in my Schedule—

Now, I totally understand how overwhelming it can be to even consider moving a schedule that’s already working for you completely around to make time for just one more thing

But here’s a bit of tough love: if you truly want to see your Big Dream or that project you’ve been putting off on the back burner for—well, forever!—through to completion, then you’ve got to find the time you need to work on it!

For me, my ideal time to write is in the morning well before anyone else in my house is awake. But for you, your ideal time to focus on your passion project could be during your lunch hour—say, maybe 3 or 4 times each week, right after a workout at the quiet coffee shop around the corner from your gym, or in the evening before you get started on your bedtime routine!

What matters most here is that, whatever time you choose to focus on what you’re most passionate about, it’s a time that you are absolutely uninterrupted. Period!

(Need some help finding that extra hour you need to get some focused work done? Check out my TonyaTV episode this week for some of my favorite time-making tips!)



2. Said NO to Temptations—

This one can be super tough, especially if you’re someone that falls into the rabbit hole of Netflix or social media from time to time…

One hard and steadfast rule that I made for myself while I was in the thick of the writing game for  JOMO was to not allow myself to indulge in ANY new television shows. This meant: no Netflix, no Hulu, no HBO… nothing!

Some ideas to rid yourself of temptations as you begin focused work on your project, I might recommend doing a time waster audit. Take stock of your day and note any distractions that you might fall victim to a little too often… think of things like, incessantly searching Amazon for new things to buy, checking your email every 15 minutes, and so on and so forth.

Before you get started on your project, a good way to avoid any temptations is to say No to background noise (i.e. turn your television off completely), remove any apps that you frequent on your phone (Facebook, Instagram, and so on!), and set yourself up somewhere that you 1) feel comfortable to work, and 2) doesn’t give you the urge to stray from the focused time you’re looking to spend on your project!

Another last little tip I have here is to give yourself a set bedtime. For me, this was essential in helping me to stay the course in my “No TV” rule.

Having a strong routine in place, whether it’s in the morning or the evening or both, can make any rules you might set for yourself stick for good!


3. Set an Intention—

I like to think of the word “intention” here as being synonymous with a mini goal. If your big project is to write a book, for example, then an intention you might set when you’re first starting out is to focus on what your book might look like in the end.

What this meant for me is that I began by mapping out The Joy of Missing Out in its entirety. I considered what I wanted to include in each chapter by focusing on what I felt was most important to talk about, and then went from there… chapter by chapter, outline by outline.

For you, it might mean that you’re setting an intention to write a set number of words each day, or a set number of pages. Or, your intention will likely be something entirely different depending on exactly what your passion project entails!

The point here is that having an overall end result in mind is great… but giving yourself the push to really dive in by setting small, easily attainable bite-sized goals (intentions) is imperative.

Give it a try!


4. (Temporarily) Cut Back on my Responsibilities—

Remember what I said about balance, right? Balance is bogus, so let the idea that you need to balance all of the different parts of your life go before you even begin.

Instead of seeking balance in life—especially if we’re looking to get started on the steps necessary to see a Big Dream come to life, then what you want to focus on instead is the idea of leaning into a priority.

In other words, make your passion project your top priority at home. For me, this meant that I didn’t take on any new house projects… and I leaned on my husband John a lot for the support I needed!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it too, whether this means you’re delegating some at-home responsibilities to your kids or your partner (or a combination of both), you’re delegating some of your work responsibilities to your team for the short-term, outsourcing some items on your list, and so on.

Whatever you can do to cut back on what you have going on outside of your passion project, the easier it will be for you to find the time and energy you need to sit down and get to work on it!


5. Embraced the Whitespace–

Here’s another hard truth for you: it is nearly impossible to work all of the time.

Whenever I found myself a little bit frazzled or verging on burnout—whether that burnout was stemming from my job at IWP, my home life, or the energy that I put into my writing (note: writer’s block is real, friends!), one thing that helped me the most to refocus and find my center again was to truly embrace the whitespace.

What this meant for me was that I needed to accept the fact that some days are easier than others… and it’s totally OK to give myself a little bit of reprieve when I need it!

For you, your whitespace time could come in the form of a full day off from work (your day-to-day job and your passion project), or it could come in the form of breaks between each mini goal you set for your project.

However long or short those breaks may be is totally up to you! When it comes to embracing your whitespace, do what makes the most sense and that will give you the boost you need to dive back in when it’s time.

The more grace (and space!) you give yourself when you need it, the better off you’ll be in the end. Trust me!


And, there you have it! These are just five of the things that I did to get my writing and my book off of the ground. So, now I want to know: What are the things that you’ll make a point to do when you get started on YOUR big passion project?

Share your ideas in the comments below… And tune in to Episode 134 this week for even more insight on how to make your passion project work for you (and your schedule) and how you can make doubly sure that your passions are truly in alignment when your purpose. You won’t want to miss it!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton