How to Finish Writing Your Book

Here’s what I have observed: A lot of people want to write a book, and they think about it for a long time. Finally, the day comes when they have some time on their hands. They’re determined. They’re ambitious. They are going to get it done. Hours are devoted to the task. Finally, the big, heavy rock that is their dream book starts to get pushed up the side of the hill. Then, people get busy. Things happen, and life gets in the way. After a while, another window of time opens up, and our budding authors can move the big rock a little further. But at this point the enormity of the task becomes all too apparent. “I know I wrote four pages the other night, which seemed cool at the time, but I need to write at least like, 196 more. There’s no way. This was a bad idea.”

So, how does anybody ever finish writing a book? I can’t tell you what worked for other authors, but I will share with you two things that helped me.

  1. Set a bunch of little goals. Yes, writing 196 pages (or whatever) looks overwhelming. What helped me finish the first book I wrote by myself (I had co-authored a few others before this) was I created a chart, and on it, I tracked my goal, which was to write 30 pages a month. Some days I just edited, and some days I didn’t do anything at all. But every time I did more than a page a day, it was a victory. Yes, I would need to go back and edit later, but the overwhelming part of the project was the length, not the editing. So every victory against the length of the project was awesome. If I got more than a page in a day, and more than 30 pages in a month, I felt like a winner. Honestly? I haven’t relied on this strategy in years, but for my first few solo projects, this was a huge psychological boost.
  2. Write in big chunks and small chunks. Some people are willing to write when they have a few hours free, but they turn their noses up at the random 15-20 minutes here and there. Those little chunks of time add up. If you think you can’t get your juices flowing in “just” 20 minutes, open up your manuscript at random and just start editing. If nothing else, you’ll make progress towards improving your work, and what I found oftentimes was that when I started editing my work, it got me motivated to make at least a little progress.

So, set a bunch of little goals, and write in big chunks and small chunks.

I hope this helps.

Timothy D. Holder is the author of Presidential Character Volume 1, Presidential Trivia 2.0.