How to finish writing your book

Writers are often heard moaning, “why can’t I finish this book?”

I totally know the feeling (got five manuscripts staring at me over here). The good thing is  that I am not stuck. I’m procrastinating. When you, as a writer, find that you’re actually stuck on your writing, then something is wrong, and you’ll need to strike a few matches and rekindle that fire.

Take a siesta

I’m not talking about a mid-writing-session break. That’s for when you are actually writing. For those days (or weeks) when you have stared at your computer all day and not written a single word, you need to turn off your computer, put away your notes, grab a tote bag and get out. Go outside. Get an ice cream gone. Hit up the game arcades or a bowling alley. Ask a friend out for lunch. Take as much time as you can and do something – anything – other than writing.

You are stressing about your book and your mind isn’t focused on the right things. You are worrying about copyrights, printing, how you’re going to promote it and a hundred other points that are irrelevant before the book is actually complete.

redefine your Book goals

Trying to do too much in a short time sets you up for failure, which leads to disappointment which leads to discouragement and possibly a failed writing career. Set small, easy targets, and reach them! It’s more motivating and your book will be complete before you know it. Setting mammoth goals that you can’t reach is the fastest way to convince yourself that you’re “not really a writer.”

Get someone to criticize your writing

Sometimes a kick in the ass is all you need to write again. Take what you’ve written so far and show it to someone you know who is straightforward and not afraid to point out problems. Nothing will motivate you to start writing again more than having someone go over your work with a fine tooth comb and a microscope. Yes, you’re probably going to feel hurt, angry, humbled or all the above. Get used to it – once your book is out, and you start reading reviews from readers, you’ll have to deal with a lot more of that along with all the good people say.


Don’t give up. You love writing. The words are there, they just may need a little coaxing to come out. If you find that none of these techniques work, and you need someone to talk to about your book and the challenges you are having, email me at yourwritinglady@gmail.com and let’s see if we can figure out how to get you back into it again.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Some reasons I find it hard:

    1) It feels like it can never be done. There’s always something that can be done to make it better.

    2) You say you’ll do it tomorrow and you never do.

    3) Life gets in the way.

    Oh well I could go on and on.

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee Patterson says:

      Some ways to make it easier:

      1) Ask yourself what you are trying to say to your audience. Then step back and read your work from their point of view. Then find a member (or two) of your audience and ask them to read it and tell you what they got from it. If they get the message that you wanted to send correctly, you can go ahead and get ready to publish.

      2) Hold yourself accountable, or get an accountability coach/partner. Set a small goal everyday. Nothing huge, just something manageable that you MUST reach daily. If you don’t reach it, deny yourself a pleasure that you would normally enjoy, and carry the balance to your next day. (If you need an accountability coach, contact me at yourwritinglady@gmail.com)

      3) When we aren’t feeling motivated or particularly confident about doing something, we often postpone it and allow life to replace it with something else. Take back control of the steering wheel. Look at your schedule and see where you have downtime that you’re filling with things that aren’t helpful or relevant to your writing goals. Replace the most unproductive thing with your writing goal from the previous point, and stick to it. Reward yourself well every time you reach your goal – don’t feel a drop of guilt about it either. 🙂

      Hope that helps, bookshelfbattle.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D.I. Ozier says:

    You’re exactly right that one of the best way to achieve any big goal (including writing a book) is to break that goal up into smaller pieces. That can help make the project seem more manageable whilst also giving you a feasible road map to completing the goal.

    Another thing to go is have someone (a friend, family member, or writing partner) act as your personal cheerleader for each of these small goals. Think of them the same way you might think of the volunteers who stand at regular intervals along a marathon’s course, ready to give water to the runners. That little bit of encouragement and congratulations can do wonders for your ability to accomplish your goals.

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee Patterson says:

      Love the way you put it D.I. It’s like the way I eat a muffin while wearing lipstick. Instead of taking my usual giant bite, I break of small chucks and deposit them safely in my mouth without making a mess or taking forever to finish the damn muffin. Lol.

      Like

  3. Taking a rest from your book is so important- but I was unable to do it until I had no choice (4 weeks of nonstop morning sickness!) … when I finally looked at my manuscript, it was like I had a new set of eyes on it!

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  4. Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing! I think I’m in the procrastination phase right now. I’m writing three stories, and when I get stuck on one I switch to the other. And sometimes none of them. =P

    Like

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