Posted on 03/18/2021 at 11:22 AM by Guest Author
Struggling to finish writing a book? The good news is we have some practical tips and insight to help. Discover how to make this year your most productive one yet!
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“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” — Sylvia Plath
They say that writing a book is one of the hardest things to do, but that’s not entirely accurate. In reality, it’s the part of the process where you finish writing a book that proves most difficult.
It’s a distinction worth making because until you type the very last word on the very last page, your work remains incomplete. And for many authors, reaching the end is a lot more challenging than getting started.
You’re here now, which means you likely decided some time ago to write a book.
But whether it’s your first or your ninth, you just can’t seem to see it through. You even made a pact with yourself to complete it this year, but you’re still not making the kind of progress you’d like.
Why is it so hard?
The truth is every author, and every situation, is unique. Only you can determine what’s really holding you back. That said, there are a few roadblocks authors frequently run into — one or more of which may sound familiar.
You don’t have the time.
Even a novella can wind up being a time-consuming project. And if writing isn’t your full-time job, you probably have work and other obligations that take priority.
If you haven’t been able to finish writing a book, it may be because you feel you just don’t have the time.
You’re tapped out creatively.
Regardless of whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, there’s creativity involved in your work.
Unfortunately, sometimes you lose the creative flow and struggle to get it back. You may feel as though you don’t have anything new or interesting to keep moving forward.
You’re worried it won’t be good enough.
Self-doubt is an issue for even the most seasoned authors. There’s always that fear that what you write won’t be good enough.
You can’t stand the thought of it not meeting your (or your potential readers’) expectations, so you’ve slowed down or stopped altogether.
Here’s the thing...
You need to find a way to overcome whatever reason(s) you have for not completing your book. Otherwise, that book you were so passionate about initially will just sit on your desktop, bearing that Work In Progress label forever.
And that means you’ll miss out on all the opportunities that come with having a fully complete and published title available to readers.
“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.” — Nicholas Sparks
There’s a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with completing a book. Most authors can attest to it being one of the greatest feelings ever. Unfortunately, you won’t get to experience that feeling unless you’ve reached the finish line.
But it’s more than that...
Here’s what else is at stake when you don’t finish writing a book:
You’re unable to put your story or knowledge out to the public.
You miss out on potential fans who would enjoy your book.
You’re unable to promote something that isn’t complete.
You prevent yourself from turning writing into a career.
You don’t reach your full potential as an author.
When it comes down to it, failing to see your book through to the end doesn’t just leave you with an unfinished project; it leaves you with an unfinished project that people won’t see or be able to buy.
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” — William Faulkner
Now that you have some deeper insight into why you haven’t completed your book — and what’s at stake if you continue this way — it’s time to get to work.
Fortunately, just identifying your roadblock(s) can make a huge difference. By opening your eyes to what’s holding you back, you can press forward with greater motivation. And the tips below will go a long way.
Here’s what to do...
Create an Outline
Even if you’re halfway through your book already, it’s well worth creating a new outline. This is especially true if you’ve hit a creative snag or decided to restart an abandoned project.
Developing a new outline can help you refresh, stay focused, and work your way through every chapter.
It’s worth noting that there’s no wrong way to create an outline. You can do a detailed outline, a list of basic points, or even a very rough draft. Ultimately, it’s all about what works best for you.
Schedule Writing Time
To finish writing a book, you must make time to do it. If you’re truly committed, then you need to schedule writing time and mark it clearly on your calendar.
It should be viewed as any other event or obligation to get you into the habit and keep you moving forward.
Some additional tips are as follows:
Note which days you plan to write.
Decide how long you plan on writing each day.
Let others know you’ve blocked off this time for writing.
Of course, your primary goal is to complete your book. But it can be intimidating to think of it this way.
That’s why it’s worth setting smaller, realistic goals. Doing so gives you a better gauge of your progress and makes your primary goal seem a lot more attainable.
Like everything else, the goals you set are up to you. For example, you could set a word count for each writing session.
Or, you could set a due date for each chapter. The key is to set little goals that move you closer and closer to the end.
If you plan on self-publishing and don’t have an editor checking in on your project, it’s all too easy to get off track and stay there. Even with goals in place, you may find yourself not meeting your writing obligations.
That’s why you need to find another way to hold yourself accountable. And oftentimes, the best way is to simply reach out to someone for help.
A family member
Your writing group
A fellow author
Don’t Aim for Perfection
Finally, the best way to finish writing a book is to push forward until you reach the end. If you continue writing and rewriting until it’s perfect, you’ll never stop.
The fact is getting stuck on awkward phrasing or not-quite-right action sequences won’t do you any favors. It will just keep you from completing the project.
So, get your first draft written, revise as needed, and remember that you’re your own worst critic.
“Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.” — Peter Mayle
It’s not easy to finish writing a book. And chances are you’ll run into roadblocks along the way.
But if you’ve started a project you’re passionate about, you owe it to yourself and your potential fans to see it through. So, use the tips and guidance here to stay productive and complete your book this year!
(Finished writing your book? Make sure you’re prepared to promote it! Download our Ultimate Guide to Data-Driven Promotions and learn how to leverage data to improve your book marketing results!)
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