Struggling to finish writing your book? You’re in good company. According to the trusty internet, ninety-seven percent of writers are in the same boat. Whether that stat is exactly right or not, many writers know the struggle of reaching the final page of their book. Write long enough, and you’ll realize there are several struggles that hinder the writing process and your ability to complete a project.
(Are you taking other missteps? Here are 6 mistakes self-published authors make.)
Of course, there’s the infamous writer’s block that can hamper your creativity and make you lose motivation. Then there is the break up. You simply fall out of love with your story.
Fortunately, there are solutions to help you overcome whatever is keeping you from finishing your book.
Want to know why you’re feeling stuck? Keep reading to discover the top three reasons and some tips for pushing past them and finishing your book.
1. You Lack Planning
You can have a dozen brilliant ideas for your book, but it’s hard to execute without a well-thought-out plan. Planning provides you with direction. When you feel like you’re starting to lose track of your story, you can always go back to the plan.
However, a plan is just the starting point. You don’t have to stick with it. As the author, you’re free to go with the flow and see where your story takes you.
Your plan should consist of a premise: the book’s main idea. Basically, you should be able to strip your story down to a sentence or two. In the movie world, this is known as a logline.
With a work of fiction, this will summarize the setting, main characters, and central conflict. In non-fiction books, the premise contains your main argument.
Along with starting with a premise and expanding it to an entire novel, you can also try making a story grid. This method makes use of the Foolscap Method, a creative brief that helps you map out your plot structure. It answers the following questions:
● What is the genre of your story?
● What point of view will you be using?
● What are the conventions and obligatory scenes for your chosen genre?
● What or who is the protagonist’s object of desire?
● What is the controlling idea or theme?
● What is the beginning hook, middle build, and ending payoff?
2. You’re Doing It Alone
Are you having doubts about your work that you can’t seem to fix? Stop keeping your book to yourself. Great writers become great because they get feedback from others and learn from it.
Behind every successfully published book is a reliable and supportive team. It’s important to find people you can trust who will read your manuscript. Find someone who can answer your questions or provide you with valuable feedback.
Having family and friends on your side can give you a boost of motivation and confidence that you need. But eventually, you need feedback and editing help from experienced writers and editors.
If you don’t have writing and editing connections, go to a writing workshop or class or attend a writers’ conference. Or stay home and get help online. Find beta readers online who will review and critique your work or get advice from writers’ forums.
3. You Don’t Give Yourself Enough Time
Every once in a while, all writers struggle to move forward in their manuscript. It can be especially hard if you don’t have a deadline. Suddenly, your excitement dies away and you’re left with no motivation. Unfortunately, this lack of motivation makes it much more difficult to finish your story.
Overcome this problem by setting a deadline for your project. Then stick to your deadline without excuses. Allocate some time each day or week to write or edit. Whether you can afford ten minutes a week or two hours every day, put it on your calendar and stick with it.
Just remember that your brain, like the rest of your body, needs time to warm up. So ten minutes may not be enough time to push your story forward.
Find yourself staring at the screen when it’s time to write? Get your creative juices flowing by experimenting with free-verse or some stream-of-consciousness writing. These exercises capture the natural flow of your thought process and allow you to write freely.
Finish Writing Your Book
Completing a book requires dedication, hard work, and plenty of time. If you’re reading this, you know it doesn’t happen overnight. But take heart! As long as you’re consistent and committed to your writing, you’ll get there eventually.
And once you reach the finish line, we’d love to get it off your computer and onto bookshelves. Submit your manuscript to Argyle Fox Publishing to get started.