It’s easy to start a book, but not so easy to finish one. That said, the key to publishing a book is to finish the book. For almost every writer finishing the book is the hardest part. How do you stay motivated when you hit that place in your book when you’re certain it’s worthless and you should throw the whole thing out? Here are four tips to stay motivated.
Remember a page a day will get you a book in a year. On average books run about 365 pages. Broken down that means you only need to write a page a day to finish the book. Each page should have at least four paragraphs, more with dialog. Focus on writing one page and if that seems too difficult, concentrate on writing those four paragraphs. Even if you think it stinks, write the page and the next page. One page everyday until you hit the end.
Save your revisions for after the entire book is written. Many people get so caught up in perfecting the first chapter that they never finish. The truth is no one - no matter what they tell you - writes a perfect book the first time. That’s why there are editors and copy editors and galley editors. You should spend most of your time revising your work or polishing, but don’t do it until you write the end. If you only write beginnings, you will get very good at beginnings and not endings. Both are important.
Make yourself a writing space. Lots of people like to write at coffee houses or in the library, but if you have to go out to write that is one more obstacle in your way. I recommend that you create a spot in your home that is quiet and comfortable and just for writing. Everyone has a corner somewhere and putting a lovely chair, table or desk in it is helpful. Have a laptop? Write on a chaise or a recliner. Make it a space you want to go to everyday.
Surround yourself with supportive people. Find a critique group, a writer’s group or a writing buddy. Even a spouse or partner can support you by being interested in your work, helping with dinner or the kids and giving you the space to write your page every day.
You can learn a lot about how to write, but you can’t actually know how until you write the book. The entire book. The only way to write the entire book is...to write it. I hope these four tips help you put your bottom in a chair and write every day. Remember the goal is not perfection. The goal is to write The End.