I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.Ē - Winston Churchill
No, Iím not calling you a pig. Now that I have your attention, I want to talk with you about finishing your book fast and getting it to market faster. Did you start on your book and lose focus? You would love the rewards of a completed book but wonder where you could fit writing into your schedule.
Donít be discouraged; let me share some tips that will jumpstart your writing again. Trust me, if it feels like youíve been stuck in the mud, these tips will pull you out. I call them the habits of highly effective authors. Successful writers set up a system of writing using steps that become habits. Practice the habits below and write your best book now:
1. Do a reality check.
Do you have a plan in place? Donít set yourself up for failure by not planning. Even if itís a simple intention goal like ďI complete my book (title of book) this year by (date and year.) I educate myself and do what it takes to complete it.Ē Set one and write it down so you can hit the target.
2. Setup a writing schedule.
Keep it simple. How much time can you devote to your book? Schedule at least 10 hours per week. Snatch an hour here and an hour there, if you must. When my schedule is tight, I write one hour in the wee hours of the morning and one hour late at night. I have to prioritize and so must you if you want to get it done. I must admit since I am an early bird, my early morning writing takes less revision than the late night.
3. Act now.
Too many of us for too long have hid behind the words, ďItís too hard.Ē Now is the time to take charge of our fears and conquer them. First things first, to overcome procrastination -the fear of failure- is to act now. Most times the bottom line of procrastination is fear of failure.
Setup your writing schedule and begin today. Or choose to sign-up for an easy 7 lesson ecourse ďJumpstart Writing Your Best Book Now. ď Send any email to firstname.lastname@example.org Remember, action will destroy fear. Each successful step of your system will deal a death blow to fear.
4. Avoid marathon writing.
Have you ever thought, ďI have to get away from everything to write a successful book?Ē No you donít. I know several novelist and non-fiction book writers who had to write during a long commute to get their best book written and out to the world. They accomplished it because they systematically worked on their book until it was done. In the midst of your busy life, designate your time to write (work on your book) with a goal to completion. (Reasonable time to completion)
5. Use the tracking approach.
I canít keep up with where I am after interruptions of life. It is a common challenge to find your place after being interrupted with family, work and daily life. After all thatís why many think you must get away to get it done effectively. Yet, thereís hope for those who canít get away or choose not to. Successful writers all over the world use the tracking approach. They succeed because they commit to doing a little each day.
There are 2 methods you could use for your tracking. Time is the method where you commit to a writing a certain amount of time each day. With the cumulative factor involved your commitment doesnít have to be that much. For example, to accomplish my book writing goals I commit to writing one hour a day in my most productive time. For me it is right after my meditation and reading time. With this method donít be overly concerned about how much you write, just keep the time commitment.
The other method is focused on output. Commit to writing a certain number of words or pages a day, perhaps 750-1,000 words or approximately three and a half pages double-spaced text. The key factor is to stick to it until completion.
6. Donít become chained to writing in order.
Jump around and fill in the blanks. Review your chapters and whatever subject or topic you most drawn to, begin there. Many inexperienced writers feel they have to complete each chapter in order.
Itís called linear writing (writing each chapter in order.) You donít have to write each chapter one after the other. If you happen to get stuck on chapter two, you could be stuck a very long time. I think this type of thinking comes from grade school where we are ritually taught to do everything in order.
If you have been thinking that way stop right now, no need to raise your hand. You have my permission to work on whatever chapter moves you or you feel passion bubbling for at the moment. Feeling stuck on a chapter, try another. There you have it now go with the flow.
7. Maintain your momentum keep your writing commitments.
Do your ever feel like I am stuck. I have to stop writing until I feel it again. Donít worry many of us have felt that way. From what I said earlier you may have gotten the impression that you just write when you feel like it and quit when you donít. If so, no thatís not what I meant.
Unseasoned writers may play the martyr and push through just to put something on paper or give up and try again another day. We would never get it done like that. When you get stuck simply close that chapter and pull out your chapter outline and choose another chapter.
8. Successful authors rewrite and organize their ideas for the most impact.
New authors tell me all the time, ďI just write whatever comes to my head and thereís no need to re-write. My editor will handle all that.Ē
My response is always the same: Itís o.k. to free write when you are working on your first draft. The idea is go get the thoughts out of your head onto paper. For no one can express it quite like you. Oh sure, there are some better or worse writers but not exactly like you.
In fact, my advice is to avoid re-writing during your first draft. Concentrate on finishing each chapter then use your tracking time to self-edit: Check your ideas for flow, grammar, spelling, and chapter endings. Work on your chapter titles and lead in introductions.
I know this may not feel good to some but its smacks of plain ole laziness if you donít work on making your copy the best it can be. Donít leave all the dirty work for your editor unless you really canít do any better.
9. Learn to delegate and share faster and faster
Donít succumb to the feeling that you have to do it all yourself. As writers, we can get pretty isolated in our thinking if weíre not careful. Do your research and reading time apart from your writing sessions. You may be able to ask your spouse, a teen-aged son or daughter, a friend to help with your research.
Know when to let go of your chapters and book. Donít self-edit and pick your book apart word by word. Learn to use your skills at the highest level possible. Some of the mechanical tasks of proofreading ask a family member, part-time employee or again a friend to help. After you have done the best job you can with your manuscript, donít be afraid to pass it to a professional. Learn to delegate faster and faster.
10. Value your time. Learn how to do it easier and faster.
I donít know anything about computers so pecking my book out would probably take forever. Donít run from technology. At least take the time to learn about the shortcuts in your current software. Welcome to the new millennium! Embrace technology make your software work efficiently for you. You can sign-up for a basic computer course. Get a book to learn the short-cuts. Not ready to invest, look for some free tutorials online.
Even so, nothing can happen until that first draft is completed. Procrastination is ultimately based on fear of failure. It has stopped countless of book projects and stolen the vision of many more. Donít allow procrastination to become a giant towering over your book dreams.
Then there are others who are not afraid but simply get bogged down with lack of focus and a plan. Develop the habits outlined above and youíll be surprised at what you accomplish. Write your best book now and bring it to market faster!