Jenna Hermans Blog - How I wrote my book Chaos to Calm

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From Idea to Reality: My Journey Writing “Chaos to Calm”

How I made time with four kids, a traveling husband, and a full-time career to complete the book of my dreams (Hint: Part of it was written in a bar!)

How I made time with four kids, a traveling husband and a full-time career to complete the book of my dreams (Hint: Part of it was written in a bar!)

When I tell people I published a book, before they even ask what it’s about, their mouth opens in shock. “What?! How?! But you have four kids and a business! And you also have time to exercise? I don’t get it?”

How I made time to write and publish a book amid full-time work and parenting with four kids is a question I’ve been getting asked a lot. So, I thought I’d share the story of how I got it done to hopefully inspire you to take action on any big dream or goal you have.

How I made time to write a book

1)It didn’t happen overnight. As I’ve discussed before, one of the Pillars of Calm is Habits, particularly small habits that add up. I didn’t go on a big writing retreat to bust this book out in a weekend. It took years of development, in little bits at a time. A person who finishes a marathon takes about 40-50,000 steps, just in the race itself, not to mention all the steps in training prior.

2) Writing the book was more important to me than the time I had to sacrifice. As my family’s “go-to” parent during the day, it wasn’t easy sometimes to miss even a little quality time with the kids snuggled up on the couch watching a movie. Or a social event I might have wanted to go to because I had to meet a deadline. At the same time, I believe I’ve modeled how to follow a dream to my children, and I knew it would be temporary. 

3) I scheduled blocks of time. Even if it were only for 10 minutes, if a time allotment was on the calendar, I would stick with it. The only timeline you’re up against is your own. The key is to be intentional and strategic about your time. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

4) I spontaneously seized opportunities to write when I saw them. I wrote in the most random places. I recorded voice notes while on hikes, driving, blow drying my hair, and sitting on the toilet lid when my youngest was bathing! I even wrote part of this book in a bar. (I’m not gonna lie; having a margarita in my hand made it more fun!) 

Jenna Hermans Blog - How I Wrote Chaos to Calm the Book

5) I recorded ideas right when I had them. Whenever I thought of an important concept to capture, wherever and whenever inspiration struck, I would text myself or record a quick voice note so I wouldn’t forget. 

6) I delegated parts of the process.

  1. For tasks I knew I’d be slower at or weren’t my expertise, I brought in others who were equally passionate about my purpose. I hired a writer to help organize my notes, work on flow and editing. And when it was time to promote the book, I asked for PR help. Delegating to someone who can do it better and faster than you is a superpower!

7) I committed to writing this book, not only to myself but to my community. When friends would ask, “How’s the book coming?” it motivated me to keep going. I wouldn’t let myself or them down! I made writing this book non-negotiable in my mind.

8) I let the challenging moments come and pass. When the process was difficult, or I was afraid to put my heart out there, I reminded myself that just because it was uncomfortable didn’t mean I should stop. I felt the fear of it and did it anyway. Like any athlete training for a triathlon getting up early and swimming in a cold ocean, I did the work even when I didn’t feel like it, knowing it was helping me achieve my dream.

9) I didn’t let perfection stand in my way. I made an effort to do my best and relinquish the rest! If I hadn’t, I’d still be thinking about how to word a particular sentence in the book! I trusted the team I had.  

10) I learned how to pivot when things didn’t go according to my plan. One of the hardest parts of my journey was deciding to let go of the dream of working with a “Top Five” publisher. I had a wonderful agent in New York, but the time it was taking with publishers requiring that I gain a “following” and have a certain number of newsletter subscribers before they’d even take a look at my proposal was so frustrating and time-consuming, that I had to find another way. Moms need the help in this book, like now. Enter The Collective Book Studio, a partnership publisher who believed in my work and helped me get it across the finish line into a helpful guide and a beautiful piece of art.

Find a way to make it happen

If you’re considering a dream project or goal, stop saying, “Maybe someday,” and get started! If I can do it, you can, too. 

Don’t let a lack of time or resources stop you from pursuing your dreams. Set up a framework for any goal you’re trying to create. Time is like a budget. Be intentional and strategic about how you spend it.

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from my experience, it’s this: If it’s important to you, you can find a way to make it happen. 

So go out there and chase your dreams, big or small. The perfect time to start is now. If I can do it, so can you! And I can help! 

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