If you talk to your friends, family members, and acquaintances, you will discover that most people have no shortage of ideas for a book. You’ll find many are mid some kind of novel, memoir, or business book. However, throughout the years, I’ve noticed that many people can start a project one way or another, but most have trouble completing a book.
If we could sneak a peek at the average laptop, I’d bet you’d find folders containing books in various stages of development. You might discover a completed outline for a business book, but no first draft. Or you could uncover fifty pages of a sci-fi novel dated over two years ago. Maybe you’d see detailed notes of various interviews of family members, but sadly no memoir had been begun.
So, why do writers tend to push off working on their great ideas? The solution could be as simple as solving these three main problems:
Carve out the time
If you’re new to writing and it’s a hobby, I suggest that you establish a regular time to write, so you can go about completing a book. Even if you hire me as a ghostwriter, you will need to set aside an hour or two a day to help me gather notes or review pages that I’ve written for you.
Find a time of day when you know you won’t be disturbed. You might like to get up a little early each day and write as the sun comes up while enjoying a good cup of coffee. That’s my favorite time. Or you might set aside time at night when the kids are asleep (before your eyes droop). That’s a good time to tap away on your keyboard with a nice cup of Chamomile tea.
Either way, make sure to write something, anything, every single day.
TIP: If you skip a day, don’t beat yourself up and stop. Just start again the next day. The most important thing is to continue writing.
Find a good space
Unless you’re one of the few people who thrives on chaos, you’ll want to have a dedicated writing nook. Choose a place somewhere around your home, where you can’t be disturbed. That would be most convenient. If you can swing it, find a room with a door (preferably one that locks). Some people hang a sign out letting others know that they shouldn’t be disturbed.
I know a few writers who head for their library or Starbucks to get some peace and quiet. Others opt for the great outdoors, and they don’t even mind the occasional visits from beetles and spiders. It really doesn’t matter where you set up, as long as you can write without distraction.
TIP: When working toward completing a book, try out a few places and see which one works best for you. Which spot helps you be productive?
Set doable goals
Finally, it is important to set regular goals for yourself. Professional writers always think in terms of words when writing their first draft, not pages, because pages can be misleading. They’re too dependent on the font you use. Now, if you’re in research mode, time or quantity of notes are good yardsticks.
It’s hard for me to give examples here because the word count target will really vary from project to project. I am able to write ten thousand words per week if I’ve done months of research (or I know the topic very well). Other times I’m happy to get two thousand words done by Friday.
Whatever your decided goal, set it ahead of time and then do your best to reach it. The ultimate target is completing a book.
TIP: If you find you want to take a lot of breaks, that usually signals a problem. It probably means you don’t know which way to go in the story or you need to do more research. I have found that operating off a good, solid outline helps because it keeps me on track.
Now that you know the three main solutions, you can set aside the time, find the right place, and reach the writing session goal you set each day. One of your first goals should be a finished first draft. Remember, it can be revised at a later date, so don’t worry about perfection. It takes hard work to write your book, but the rewards are well worth it.