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How to Keep Writing and See Your Book through to ‘The End’
By Melinda Copp
How long have you been working on your book? A year or better? When you sit down at Thanksgiving dinner next month with your family members, and they ask you how the book is coming along, will you be able to honestly say that you’re making progress? If not, you’re not alone.
Many writers struggle with seeing their book projects through to the end. Completing a book is a big project, and writers can easily lose momentum in the face of such an enormous task. Other projects get in the way, or something interferes with your writing time, or you can’t figure out what to write next, and your uncompleted manuscript is set aside. When this happens once in a while, you may only experience temporary delays. But when it happens all the time, you could end up tabling your book indefinitely. If you’ve been working on your book—or rather, not working on it—for a long time, consider the following strategies for rebuilding the momentum and excitement you had at the start of the project.
1. Find the time to write
Not everyone can devote full-time to writing their book. But most people, if they really make an effort, can make time every day to work on it. The key is to use what time you have and be ready for unexpected free time to pop up. Don’t allow yourself to think: “I only have a thirty minutes, I won’t be able to get anything done on my book in that short amount of time.” You can make progress in less than a half hour.
Even setting aside a small chunk of time, say fifteen or twenty minutes, on your busiest days will help you reach your goal. Then on the days you do have time to devote a couple hours to your book, you’ll be ready to jump right in and start writing because the material will be relatively fresh in your mind.
2. Use your time wisely
On the days when you do have hours to devote to your book, motivation may not come easy. There’s something about having time that makes people feel like they can waste it. Suddenly you think of e-mailing a friend, balancing your check book, or picking up the newspaper, and these distractions eat away all your time. On days like this, self-discipline will go a long way. You can also eliminate any potential distractions, such as the telephone and e-mail, by turning off the phone ringer, closing your e-mail program, and disconnecting from the internet. Imagine the excitement you’ll feel when your book is completed. And use your time as effectively as possible—at the desk writing your book.
3. Staying motivated
When you feel uninspired, or don’t feel like writing, consider the following strategies for working past your challenges.
· Take a quick walk – Walking will get you away from your desk, get your blood pumping, and help clear your mind so you can sit back down and keep plugging away.
· Skip a section or two – If you’re not inspired to write a particular part of your book today, save it for later and move on to something you do feel like writing about.
· Make plans – If you don’t feel like writing your book, write something about it. Write a draft of your back-cover copy, or start a list of marketing ideas. Write something that gets you excited about your book.
4. Write Quickly
When you’re not sure what to write next, or everything you write seems wrong, you may be putting too much pressure on yourself to write well. So loosen up, and just start writing. Don’t stop to edit your sentences and criticize your work, just free write whatever you can think about your topic.
You will probably have to cut some parts later, but once you get going, you’ll probably write many things you’ll want to keep. The point is to just start writing and gain momentum so the project gets done. Keep in mind that the first draft is the hardest part; once you have the material down, you can shape it from there.
The benefits of writing and publishing a book are easy to imagine—success, fame, a few minutes on Oprah’s couch. However, many potential authors get caught up in the process required to get those benefits—actually writing the book, doing the work, applying butt to chair, as they say. But this doesn’t have to be you.
When you use these four strategies for staying motivated and keep writing, sentences will form on your pages, and you will make progress. Every word you type brings you one step closer to your goal of completing your book.
About the Author:
Melinda Copp is an editor and writer based in South Carolina. She works with her clients to create written copy that reflects their personality and professionalism. For more information about Melinda and her services, visit her online at www.MelindaWrites.com. If you have any questions about how Melinda can help you, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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