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April 17, 2012

Newbie's Guide to Writing: How to Finish The Damn Book

by Michelle Miles

Last month, I talked about finishing the damn book. I hope that post motivated you to get out of your own way and start writing to the finish line. Part of writing is the ability to complete a project, edit it, submit it and move on. But if you’re having difficulty finding a way to finish that book, the maybe you need some help. Don’t be a fence-sitter. Here are five tips to help you jump off that fence and get back to the keyboard.

1. Treat it like a job. You want to write. You call yourself a writer. But it’s the last thing on your to-do list every day. This does not a writer make. I realize how difficult it is to carve out that writing time when you have a full time job, a family, etc. When dance classes and sports take over your life. When you have to answer for The Man from 8 to 5. But if you never treat it like a job, your future career, you will never make it a full time job. Even if you only write 15 minutes a day, you should be doing it every day.

2. Set yourself a daily goal and stick to it. Figure out what your schedule is for writing. Do you write best in the morning? At night whenever the household has gone to bed? Carve out that time and stick to it. For me, I write on my lunch hour at work. I take my lunch every day and sit in the restaurant in the building and hammer out the words on my keyboard. Maybe that doesn’t work for you. And if not, you have to figure out what does. Most important: try to do it at the same time every day. It will be a way to train your brain when Creative Time is.

3. Make your writing time sacred. Tell the family to bug off while you write. Okay, maybe not in so many words but you get my drift. Tell them this is your dream and you will do anything to follow it. Don’t feel guilty for not spending every second of every day with the husband and kids. They’ll understand and get it. The point is, don’t allow anyone to interfere with that sacred writing time, be it 15 minutes or 60 minutes.

4. Allow yourself to write crap. If you’re just starting out, know that your words are not golden. In fact, they most likely will suck. It’s okay to suck. You will suck until you learn the craft. You will suck right now but probably not later. Tell yourself this is okay. Puke out those words on the page and keep going. You can always edit it later. If you keep writing and working and learning, you will get better. I promise!

5. Don’t stop believin’. Journey said it best. Don’t stop. Ever. Believe in yourself. Believe in your writing and never give up. No matter how many rejections you get.

Michelle Miles writes contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance. You can find out more about her books at her website and follow her on Twitter @MichelleMiles.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Michelle, the best writing tips. I agree with writing crap because it can be fixed. I admire how you dedicate your lunch time to writing.

Vicki Batman

ShanonGrey said...

Great advice for newbies and pros alike. Thanks.

Sylvia said...

Hi Michelle,
Very good advice. I write early morning and from 5:30 to 7:30 every night, but lately, I've let social media and marketing take over that time slot. Time to get back to finishing the book I'm working on. I'm in the final editing stages and frankly, I'm ready to start a new project. The book I'm working on turned out to be a favorite, but it's time to move on. Great advice!

Robin Helm said...

Good article, Michelle. My creative time is in the morning, and it's a fight sometimes to make myself write.

Alisha said...

Great advice, Michelle! Like the Nike ad, just do it! :)

Sasha Summers said...

You said it Michelle! I'm struggling with this one - I find ways to feel guilty for writing even though it is my JOB. Another post to print, highlight and tack on my corkboard to keep me steady! Thanks for the reminder!!!

Kathy Ivan said...

Its always good to be reminded that as writers we have to FINISH THE BOOK. Some days life wants to interfere and get in the way and I'll usually let it.

I always have to write in the evenings, because the day job takes up my entire day. So I'm trying to plug away at a steady pace from 9 p.m. onward.

Thanks for the great post, Michelle.

Liz Lipperman said...

Oh boy, did I need this! Personally, I let every distraction known to man get in the way. I've always wondered if this is a defense mechanism I use because of the self doubt that I can actually fins a book that someone wants to read.

I need to get better with this. Thanks, Michelle.

Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge said...

Good post.
"Allow yourself to write crap" is some of the best advice people can give authors. I know I only get "on a roll" if I've been plugging at it for a while.