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10 Writing Tips to Get You to “The End”

Feeling like you'll never finish your book? Take heart and read on...

Anyone who doesn't realize that writing is hard work, isn't a writer. Even the best writers get stuck. Whether it's blank page syndrome, or just life that's distracting you, here are ten ways to get yourself to the last page of your book.

1. Be Yourself

Write about something you'd like to read, and write about what you know – at least for the first book. Give yourself the benefit this first time around of keeping your subject matter as simple and as close to stuff you know as possible. There will be ample time once you're a published author to write that heavy-research-thriller you've always dreamed of.

2. Set (Realistic) Goals

This ties in nicely with #1 because setting realistic goals will also help you keep it simple. Give yourself time and word-count goals and set them up so that you have to meet them in three ways... daily, weekly, and monthly - and make them believable or you're setting yourself-up for failure.

3. Write First, Edit Later

Even if all you have is stream of consciousness, make sure you get it down. You can always go back later and edit. In fact, you're going to HAVE to go back and edit later, so why slow yourself down with the writing/skimming/editing wheel mid-stride?

4. Make It A Date

Set aside time every single day, the same time every day if you can, for writing. If at all possible, it might even be helpful to have a special location where you write free from distractions. This can get you into the mindset that when you're in that place, all you can do is write.

5. Forget Being Inspired

The feeling you get when you first have the idea for your book, like the beginning of every romantic relationship, is going to fade. Be prepared to keep your writing relationship going even when your days are no longer full of 'wine and roses'. If every writer waited until they were inspired to write or finish their book, we'd have very little to read.

6. Reward Yourself

There are lots of ways to do this, and you should pick the kinds of things that you love, but your rewards must only be given when you reach your goals. You can schedule them for when you reach specific goals, or give them to yourself randomly after you've reached a particularly difficult goal, but that is the only time you should allow yourself to feel you've earned it.

7. Involve A Few Readers

It has to be a terrible feeling to get to the end of writing your book only to have your readers tell you that it's not worth reading. Choose a handful of people who will both provide you with some honest feedback and give you a reason to finish. There's something powerful about this relationship in that you have the benefits gained from critical feedback, as well as people pushing you to finish the story so they can find out what happens!

8. Limit Distractions

If you're following #2 and #4, you should have no problem with this tip. In this day of electronic invasion however, it's completely plausible that you're writing on a device that will also give you access to the Internet and its never-ending, charming distractability. If at all possible, eliminate your connection (even temporarily) while you're in “Writing Mode”.

9. Get Enough Sleep/Food/Etc.

Hunger and fatigue become just another distraction, and a powerful one at that. Your brain will lack the ability to finish your thoughts so your mind will wander aimlessly and your prose (and readers) will pay the price. Whatever your nutrition and rest needs are, satisfy them. You can't thrive if your body is in survival mode.

10. Have A Plan

Your idea could be the best on the planet, and you're still going to need a map of some kind to keep the story on track and your characters involved in moving it along. A traditional outline, notes jotted on a napkin, Pinterest vision boards, whatever it is – create it and use it every day to keep your forward momentum and have 'The End' clearly planned before you start your 'Once upon a time'.

Writing a book is not for the faint of heart. If you're having trouble finishing your book, keep writing, keep editing, keep going. If you have some tips of your own that have worked, share them with everyone else in the comments please.

 

2 comments
  • Admin and Christopher Holliday like this
  • Christopher Holliday
    Christopher Holliday Great article. #3 ( write first, edit later ), #4 ( make it a date ), and #8 ( limit distractions ) are my top three areas for improvement. On a long piece of work, like novel length, you can literally spend months if not years editing and re-editing with...  more
    January 2, 2015 - 1 likes this
  • Patricia Capracotta
    Patricia Capracotta I'm hoping to experience that for myself this year by finishing something of substance. If I follow a 'finish, celebrate, edit' routine right now I'll be inebriated 50% of the week. lol Thanks for the input on that :))
    January 2, 2015