Many would-be authors get overwhelmed by the size of a book-length project. Many of us find ourselves with additional free time on our hands this year with fewer barbecues, football games, or live events. How can you use this time to finally write your book?
Here are some of my top tips from my writing coach archives.
Write down your end goal.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve heard this one a million times. But, look, if you don’t know what you want to accomplish, you’ll never get it done. As Lewis Carroll famously wrote “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
Know what you want to accomplish. If you’re like most writers, when you start to untangle this “what I want” knot, you’ll find it’s far more complicated than you first thought.
For example, maybe your dream isn’t just a book, it’s a series, and movie rights, and a worldwide book tour. Those are all great ideas, but one step at a time. If you can hone in on the first step toward your dream, then you can break it down into actual action steps, moving it from nebulous dream to achievable goal.
Choose a deadline.
Choose a day that you are going to have this project done. This step cannot be overlooked, however, while deadlines are a huge motivator, here’s a pro tip: Post your deadline out on social media. Tell your friends, your parents, and especially someone who intimidates you just a little bit. Let these people hold you accountable and keep you motivated.
Once you set that deadline for yourself, you’re going to work backwards from that date to create your work plan. How much writing do you have to do each day to reach your goal, and how can you carve out the time to make it happen?
Find your best writer and be that writer
All kinds of would-be mentors want to tell you that you have to do it this way or that way in order to be a real writer. There are some rules, especially if you want to establish a wide audience and sell well. That said, in the creative phase the most important consideration is finding your creative flow.
Write with a pencil or a tablet. Write outdoors or in your bed. Use an outline, or allow the natural flow of ideas. None of this fluff matters; here’s what does: Find the place where you can be at your creative best to get that draft out of you.
After all, you can’t publish until you have a book. And you can’t have a book until you get it done.
The biggest key to success I have seen in writers who finish and publish well is that they find and embrace the writer they are, so they can write book after book with creative ease.
Show up every day like it’s your job.
My writing mentor Julia Alvarez, wasn’t the first one to say it, but she was the first one to say it to me: Being a writer is 90% applying butt to chair.
Write in your car. Write in a hammock. Write on your lunch break. Whatever you do, make writing a habit, and you’ll see the results.
You don’t get a dream body by going to the gym once, or even once a week. The same is true of writing a book. Show up. Do the work. Even when it stings.
Follow these steps above and you will notice how much lighter it feels to write and finish your project.
Annalisa Parent is a writing coach who has helped hundreds of authors to finish and publish well. She used neuroscientific principles to guide the writing process through her programs in the Writing Gym. To find out more, and to download her free e-book The Six Steps to Go from Struggling Writer to Published Author, visit www.datewiththemuse.com
The views expressed herein are not those of Colorado Independent Publishers Association, its officers or directors. They are solely and completely those of the author. The Colorado Independent Publishers Association will not be held liable for any legal action resulting from information published in this newsletter, and the organization’s insurance will not cover any such action.