Are you a limbo writer? In other words, does your prose sit in a perpetual purgatory on your hard drive waiting for your attention? If so, let’s analyze where you’re tripping up and help you get that writing project over the finish line.
I’m going to break this down into three areas of concern. You determine where your faults lie and then see if you can apply some of the solution tips.
Then stop for a second. Take a deep breath and know this–if you haven’t finished writing a book–you’re not alone. It’s a difficult thing to do. So, instead of returning to that (insert distraction here: ex. Pinterest, Fortnight, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Knitting, …), be kind to yourself.
It’s okay, let’s solve this together …
You have this condition if:
- You’re full of ideas, but they’re half-formed.
- Too many ideas fill your head and you can’t narrow them down to one.
- You’ve narrowed your ideas down to a premise, but that’s as far as you got.
I actually suffer from this condition so I’m writing from experience. Start writing. It doesn’t matter where you start, it matters that you do start. Pick ONE idea and write a scene, any scene. Then, write another. Once you’ve done this, then put the project away for a week. When you return to read the scenes, take some notes. Who was in the scene? Start developing backstories and guess what? You’re in the character development stage! Bravo!
Your next step is to make an outline. If you’re scowling at the screen, I feel you. I fought against outlining, but after my second book, I realized I was an idiot if I thought I could continue to ‘wing it’. Do yourself a favor, make an outline.
Your Middle is Sagging
You might have a saggy middle if:
- You’ve become bored with the whole project.
- The outline was exciting to make, the actual writing is not.
- You’ve become so lost, you don’t even know what you’re doing anymore.
If you’re suffering from the first two bullet points, it’s time for a break. Do something else, but have a definitive time limit on that break. Tell yourself, I’m going to take two weeks off. I’ll go on walks during the time I would’ve spent writing or something like that. Writing really keeps you on your butt, so movement is always recommended.
The trick is, when you return from your writing hiatus, finishing needs to be your goal. Start setting up word counts for the day, the week, the month, whatever. You need to see that you’re making progress so you can push through.
Finally, if you’ve lost the strand of your plot, try this article.
Final Finishing Failure
This applies to you if you:
- Abandon one writing project for another.
- Start more than one writing project at the same time.
- Developed a fear and dread of the editing process.
It’s not wise to have more than one project going at the same time–especially if you’re not good at finishing projects. Therefore, set goals for yourself and stick to them. Maybe even find someone who’s in the same boat as you and cheer each other on to the finish line.
If it’s a fear of the editing process, I understand. That’s not fun for everyone, it’s the least creative part of finishing a book. But, it has to be done. Again, set goals and maybe reward yourself when you achieve those goals. Stickers and candy work for little people, what will work for you?