It’s now New Year’s Day and it’s time to get cracking after watching the Rose Parade. But how do you intend to finish that book you’ve had a pile of notes on gathering dust in the corner of your desk? Well I have the three steps to get you started in the right direction.
#1 What’s the issue?
Have you started to write the book you want but never finished? Or enver started? Sit yourself down and find out why you’re not finishing your book. Could it be dreaded Writer’s Block? Are you just not passionate about the subject anymore? Are you out of ideas and need to go back and brain storm? Or is your book not turning out how you expected it to be?
All of these issues are fixable. Take inventory of your book and find out what you want to keep and what you want to scrap or rework. This is all done in the editing process but in this case you need to find out why your book hasn’t been started or finished. If you need to edit half way though since your idea has changed go ahead and do so. There is no rule about when you should edit.
However, if you did just write something I use the 48 hour rule before even thinking about editing something. I give myself 48 hours after writing something before I edit it. It allows your brain to actually read what’s on the page instead of what you should have written and you’ll be able to see your mistakes better if you do.
#2: Be productive.
Don’t waste time. If it’s already collecting dust it’s been too long since you’ve written anything. First, are you still researching your book? This can be good OR bad. If you have just started researching your idea then continue. It can be a great tool to have in your book and makes your expertise grow and gives you more credibility with your audience. You’ll want to find things (such as case studies and statistics) to back up all the knowledge and experience you already have and prove your expertise. On the other hand if you’ve been researching it for several months it’s time to start that book.
Warning: Be aware of research overload. If you book is too filled with research you’ll then overload yourself and your reader with too much information. Readers enjoy having a conversation with the author if you just throw statistics at them you’ll lose them, they’ll put down the book, or give it away to the goodwill.
If you’re still having trouble finding time or being productive I offer this suggestion: How often do you watch shows your DVR? If you’re at all like me I tend to like some pretty amazing shows on TV. I am just like everyone else setting my DVR so I don’t miss my shows. How does this have to do with your book? Take away you’re DVR time. Use that hour or two every night you are using to watch your shows and use it to write instead. You can reward yourself with some much needed DVR time or make it a goal when the weekend comes to just chill out with a big bowl of popcorn and marathon what you missed once you’ve hit your writing goals. If you’re attempting to figure out a way to worm your way out of writing- guess what? It’s on your DVR already. It’s time to procrastinate the TV and not your book. Plus it’ll make the time you’re relaxing worth the wait and you’ll feel accomplished at the same time.
Also it’s time to unplug. No more Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, texting, phone calls, etc. There are 5 things we always forget to walk away from when we write and you don’t tend to remember until they start going off. When one goes off you find yourself racing around trying to turn them all off and have wasted more time than you’ll ever want to admit.
#3 Stick to your deadlines.
Do you have deadline you want to meet? Or have a deadline that is being placed on you by an agent or a publisher?
First, decide if this is a good deadline. Can you actually meet it? Do a little math and figure out if it’s do-able or not.
Second, make weekly or daily goals. Goals are easier to meet when you have tangible goals that allow you to make baby steps to get closer to the goal. Find a time to write and for long or how much. Also, make sure that these goals are going to be met. You don’t want to say you’re going to write for 8 hours on a day that is jammed with meetings, picking up kids, running errands, and calling your mother.
Third, make sure you put the time down in your calendar. Like I said earlier, making the time is hard since you’ll have to move things around and plan a little differently but you’ll need to make a few sacrifices along the way to getting the book of your dreams.