Finish Your Book

Nine Ingredients to Ensure You Finish Writing Your Book

Starting a book writing project can be a challenge. Finishing your book can be an even bigger challenge. The following nine ingredience will help you successfully meet both challenges.

1. The first ingredient in writing a book is passion. Ask youself these questions: What story do you want to tell to inspire others? What do you want others to learn? Do you feel strongly enough about your book to give up many hours each week for the next few months to make sure it gets written? If you do not feel passionately about your subject, you will probably not finish the work.

2. You must have self-discipline. It takes discipline to continually sit down at your desk and spend hours writing. Finding the creative energy when you'd rather be doing something easier and more fun is what self-discipline is all about.

3. Find time versus making time. A clear picture of your vision, of what you are trying to create and why it is important, will help you protect that time you found to write. A clear picture of your readers can be an inspiration to you when your own focus blurs.

4. Manage priorities, not time. Take a few minutes and make a list of your priorities. Then look at how you've allocated your time. Finally, look at your calendar and block out specific times in your week when you will work on each activity.

5. Learn how to deal with interruptions. No matter when and where you write, you will face interruptions. To deal with this, you need to find a way to keep your work organized. Then when the ineveitable interruptions occur, you'll be able to easily pick up where you left off.

6. Find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will support, nudge and nag you (if necessary) into completing your book. Knowing you have someone who will support you is one of the best ways to overcome writer's block.

7. Set a deadline. And once you have establish a deadline, don't keep it to yourself - tell others about it.

8. Create a list. Before you can finish your book, you must first start to work on it - that starts with creating a list. Include in your list who you are writing for? What is your theme? What are your chapters or sections? You'll discover a completed list can become a great outline for writing your book.

9. Define a set of "waypoints" to follow. Waypoints will help you measure the progress you are making toward your destination. A goal may be your destination, but think of waypoints as markers along the path.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Finish Your Book, co-authored by Karen Hodges Miller and Lorette Pruden, Ph.D.]

Does Your Book Writing Need an "Accountability Partner?"

A number of writers find that having an "accountability partner" can be very instrumental in helping them complete their book writing project in a timely fashion. Some even admit, if they did not have an accountability partner, their book would never be finished. So just what is an accountability partner?

Simply put, it is someone who will support, nudge, even nag you into completing a difficult project. Accountability partners can be used effectively in everything from weight loss to writing your book.

The relationship works best if each person has the opportunity to be both the nagged and the nagger. A one-way deal is much harder to maintain. Most importantly, make sure that you and the partner you choose have some clear rules about the structure and type of nagging that will occur. For example, communicating weekly, checking on progress, help when the other person is stuck and generally being that combination of support and irritation - all aimed at getting the project completed.

If you want to finish your book, find an accountability partner. It works. When you are having a difficult day, knowing you have someone to call who will support you is one of the best ways to overcome your writer's block

So who will be your accountability partner for your book? Find the right person, then set a regular time and day to check in with each other by phone, email or in person. It can be once a week, once a month or more often, depending on both of your needs and schedules. Making a commitment to another person is also one of the best ways to get past the "I just really don't feel like sitting down to write today" type of feeling.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Finish Your Book, co-authored by Karen Hodges Miller and Lorette Pruden, Ph.D.]

The Importance of Research in Book Writing

Writing a book is not easy, and the problem may have nothing to do with feeling uncreative, stressed or tired. The reason may be that you simply don't have enough information. Spending more time researching your topic may be just the answer - and this goes for fiction writers as well as nonfiction.

Good fiction and nonfiction are both based on knowledge. For fiction writers there are some excellent books available on a wide variety of subjects such as plot and character development - books describing lifestyles in various centuries for historical fiction, or forensic techniques for mystery writers.

Today it is often easy to do research without ever leaving home. Just head to the internet and check it out. You local library can be a great second source. But remember, nothing can replace what academics call orignial research: actually getting on the telephone and talking to a human being or going to see something you are actually writing about. You will discover that orginal research will enable you to add depth to your writing.

Research can be anything from a few minutes on the internet verifying a quotation, to a few hours or even days talking to sources or checking facts in libraries. And it can be very rewarding. If you discover that you are truly blocked and can't move forward with your writing, take some time to think about what you may be missing. You might find that a little bit of research is just what you need to get you started again.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Finish Your Book, co-authored by Karen Hodges Miller and Lorette Pruden.]

Writing Your Book - 4 Ways To Measure Your Progress

Writing a book is, in itself, a very big goal. Just the decision to write is a major step forward. Then you must write thousands of words organized into several chapters or sections. Book writing is a goal that cannot be accomplished in one or two afternoons. You will need several weeks, if not months, to finish the project.

To complete a goal of this size and complexity, the best idea is to break it down into parts - setting smaller goals along the way. As a first step, think about the process of writing - about the timing of your project and how to get it done. To keep the process part simple, here are four basic methods you can use to measure your progress.

1. Words written. Setting a goal of writing so many words, say 800, in a writing session can be an excellent way to measure progress. However, you won't get to 800 words unless you write word one. And if you get on a roll, keep writing. You don't have to stop when you reach 800. But if the last 100 words you write feel as if you are squeezing them out, give yourself permission to stop.

2. Sections or chapters. Another way to measure progress, and a way often used in technical writing, is to write by sections or chapters. There can be a rhythm to the chapter-writing process that can be comforting. Rewarding yourself for each chapter completed can be very satisfying.

3. Time writing. The third choice, time spent writing, is a little dicier. If you write 800 or 1000 words, at least they are on the page. And a chapter exists when you declare it "finished." Time, however, can pass with few or no words written. Many writers, to combat this, develop a discipline and structure of sitting down and writing at the same time of day, every day, for some number of hours. What is written at the end of that time is what they wrote for the day.

4. Deadlines. Journalists live by them. A book, however, is another thing altogether. It has to come to an end. Ask yourself, when is this book coming out? Then set your own deadline for achieving that objective.

The choice of process is yours. Try them all if you're not sure which will work for you. And if you find one that feels most natural to you, go with that.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Finish Your Book, A Time Management Guide for Writers, co-authored by Karen Hodges Miller and Lorette Pruden. To connect with either author, contact Open Door Publications, LLC.]