So, you’re a writer, but when people ask for a copy of your novel, you only have two or three chapters to share, and they may not even be from the same work. Finishing a book is hard work, and it’s all too easy to get distracted, overwhelmed, and discouraged. But you aren’t alone! Lots of other writers faced the same struggles, and they overcame them. Here’s how you can, too.
Write Every Day
Ultimately, the only way to write a book is to put in the work. That means dedicating regular writing time – every day. There’s no way around it. Time after time, successful authors talk about their regular writing habits. It may feel tedious, but novel-crafting isn’t easy. The good news is, this will help you become a better writer, too. After all, practice makes perfect.
Add Your Word Count to Your To-Do List
If you are an organized person, this is a must. Finishing a novel is all about consistency, so meeting daily goals is essential. Make sure you complete these tasks the same way you ensure other tasks are finished. Add them to your schedule. Block out time for your regular writing in your planner or add a specific word count to your daily to-do list.
Set Milestones and Celebrate Them
When you finish a chapter, you deserve a celebration. When you reach the half-way mark, move into the final act, or – finally! – finish your first draft, you deserve a personal party. This is, essentially, bribery. Bribe yourself. It works. If you’re a foodie, promise yourself a piece of that really nice chocolate from the gourmet section. Have you had to put off day trips in order to work on your book? Celebrate milestones by getting out and doing something fun. When you have something concrete to work towards, it’s easier to say no to the little distractions you face from day to day.
Gag Your Inner Editor
There’s a nasty little voice in the back of your head that tells you everything you do is wrong. If it’s feeling generous, it may only tell you that half of everything you put on paper deserves a swift and unceremonious trip to the recycling bin. This voice is the enemy of first drafts. So, put a muzzle on it until you’re ready to begin the revision process. It has no place in this phase of your creative process. Hide it, bury it, lock it away, or just ignore it. Just don’t let it bog down your initial creativity.
Work with Other Writers
Lone wolves have a rough life. Although you may write in solitude, that doesn’t mean writing a novel has to be a solo endeavor. Many other writers fight the same demons and celebrate the same milestones. Reach out to them, and you will find a great pack of friends ready to cheer you on and offer advice. Sometimes a word of encouragement is all you need to push onwards.
Are you ready to get started? Make a note in your planner, put your butt in the chair, and lock your inner editor in a sound-proof box. Your novel is waiting.