Do You Have a Book Inside of You? 6 Tips to Help You Finish
They say everyone has a book inside them. March is National Reading Month maybe use that as motivation to finish yours.
I fell in love with reading when I was young, and then became obsessed with the writing process. I wanted to read all the books I could on the writing, and I started attending workshops and seminars by writers I admired.
When I got into a recovery program years ago a wise mentor encouraged me to focus on my strengths during the process. He told me to write everything. He told me to write down my problems, and to try and write my way out of them. He told me to write down the things that made me angry and burn them. I’ve bunt a lot of pages over the years.
I had written numerous things over the years, but all of them had remained unfinished. A few years ago I decided to tackle the task of writing a book all the way through completion and publication.
In 2014 I finally finished and published Rhythm Wisdom: The Endangered Humans' Traveling Guide Volume 1.
Here are 6 tips that will hopefully help you finish the process:
- If You Like it You Already Have an Audience. I’ve heard from multiple friends of mine who got shot down before they even started writing. They shared the book idea they couldn’t wait to share with someone, and the person they shared it with gave them some crappy feedback. We have all been there, hoping someone would say something like: that’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard! Instead we hear: I don’t get it, or I don’t think I like it. We can’t bank on someone’s opinion wither we should write a book or not, it’s really between you and the pages. Never share your idea with someone to early or before you are confident in the project. The person’s opinion can derail your confidence. No one knows for certain what will be a smash hit, but you know the book inside of you wants to be written so listen to that voice.
- You Will Hate Your Book Before it’s Finished. Writing a book takes a long time, and when you think you are close to being finished you will learn you are not. You will learn you are not finished more than once. There will be multiple re writes. There will be multiple title changes. There were times I thought I was close to being finished, and realized I had to take the time to fix some major themes in the book. These would be 6 more months of changes before I would finally be done. The project you were thrilled to start, will become annoying, and less sexy as the months, and sometimes years wear on. Remember the honeymoon phase of your book will fade, but publishing a book is a marriage not a fling.
- You Will Want to Give Up. You Will want to give up on your book. Don’t. It is worth it to hang in there. It might help you to know this ahead of time. You will feel it’s easier to just give up on the book all together. You will tell yourself you started on the wrong project, and try to convince yourself to write something else. Don’t. Instead push through the pages, and pound out more words. Instead of giving up read Steven Pressfield’s weekly blog about Resistance, and other writers courage you will need. Be part of a writers community. Don’t let jealousy keep you from the group. There will always be someone better than you, let their skill push you to improve, and not drive you to hide in a corner. Finish your book.
- Find Your window. Every dream requires a space to practice, and perform. The practice part is the countless hours in private, and the performance is when the dream becomes public. You will have to find your window to work on this book. Most of us tell ourselves we will get to it later, but then something else occupies the later. It’s why most have to do it earlier, like earlier in the morning. Most people don’t love mornings, but for most it’s the only window available to write. The bonus is your writing will receive your energy before it’s burnt up throughout the day. Just start with fifteen minutes at first. Wake up fifteen minutes earlier every day to write, and then build up to more blocks of rocking on your dream. Your entire life will be energized and benefit from giving your dream a window. I promise.
- Promote Your Product. Books are the same as a business. You may think you have the best product in the world, but it makes it hard to sell when no one knows about it. You spent countless hours, days, and often years working on this book. We forget that other people are unaware of the book that has been at the front of our mind for years. If it makes you squirm a little, its OK it makes most of us uncomfortable to self promote. There are tons of great articles to google on the best ways to self promote.
- Other Writers Will Help You. They may not help you in the way you want, but most writers will offer some help. Most writers want people to read their work before it's published, most writers don't have time for this. We all want recognition from our peers telling us the piece of work is good enough, but they are also busy writing, and most wont have time to read your work. This doesn't mean they don't want to help, it just means they don't have time for that kind of help. And neither do you. Most writers will have time to offer you tips, and tricks they have learned along the way. Take the advice they can offer, and don't take it personal if they don't give you exactly what you were looking for. I made the mistake of asking multiple people to read the first draft of my first book, and no one did, and I now I understand why.
Here is a short list of suggestions for books I recommend writers read.
Steven Pressfield’s: The War of Art
Ann Lamott: Bird by Bird
Steven King: On Writing