Finishing a novel is really hard work.
Every writer who tries has work their way through some major obstacles – like fear, discouragement, distractions – that stand between getting the words down and the finish line.
At least that’s what I’ve experienced and what successful authors have told me in various podcast interviews.
So when I hear through tweets, posts on Facebook or Instagram or in emails that another writer finished their book, I am thrilled. I think it’s because I can understand(in some measure), the war they waged to get through resistance to the other side to hold their book in their hands.
The reason it’s a big deal is finishing a book is perhaps one of the most important things a writer can do, but it’s also one of the hardest.
Oh, the irony… !
But there’s hope 😉 There are some keys that I’ve discovered, that increase your motivation and success to write and finish your book.
Read on to learn more…
5 Keys to Help You Finish Your Novel
Beginning a book is such fun. It is filled with delicious moments where your imagination takes you on reckless journey of wonder.
When you begin writing your story, everything seems possible.
It’s on the homeward stretch that finishing your novel becomes really difficult.
What is finishing a book so tough? Why do some writers give up on their story? What are some resistance/pressures that convince so many writers that they just can’t(or that they shouldn’t) finish writing their novel?
Before we get int0 keys that will help you finish your novel, here’s some obstacles that writers face everyday that can cause them to not finish. Maybe you can relate to one or two?
Some reasons why writers give up on finishing their novel…
1.The writer gets hopelessly lost(usually in the middle) and doesn’t have any idea on how to get unstuck.
2.The writer is convinced that she/he doesn’t have what it takes to write or finish their novel. They are persuaded that all the words they’ve written so far are terrible.
3.The writer begins to expect her words to be perfect and compares herself to other writers who are writing and publishing more books or making more money, etc.
4.The writer loses interest in the story or the book becomes something different then what they thought it would be at the outset.
5.The writer begins to realize how much of her/his own emotions they need to put into the story, and it gets too painful for them to want to finish.
In all of the above, the real secret is to keep writing. Ask questions of your characters and of your story and don’t give up.
5 Keys to Help you Finish Your Novel…
1.Your biggest enemy is not the imperfections in your writing, but the blank page.
One thing you should write on a index card or sticky note and put somewhere near your computer is this: I can always fix a words on the page, but I can’t fix a blank page.
If your words are terrible, it doesn’t matter. Pat yourself on the back, because you had the courage to write. Even words imperfectly written are better than no words written at all.
When you write even a little bit on your story everyday this is what happens: it moves your story forward, it helps you understand your characters better, it helps motivate you to finish because you see your story moving forward.
2.Write something you love to read.
This is super important. In fact this probably should have been in the number one spot.
When you choose your idea for your book, honestly answer a few questions: What type of books do I love to read? What novels keep me awake reading until 1am because they are page turners that I can’t put down? For example, if you read romances, write a romance. Also think about what else fascinates you. Do you really like horses, cowboys and ranching? Consider writing a contemporary or historical cowboy romance.
Remember, that you’ll be writing this book for a few months and will need to have a story idea that inspires and entertains you. So write the book you would most love to read.
3.Dive into the details of your story.
After writing a few novels, here’s what I’ve come to realize. Our lives are detailed. We live super specific everyday. For instance, we don’t just put clothes on in the morning, we choose the emerald green cotton long sleeved, boat neck top and choose to pair it with our newest pair of diva denim jeans.
When we write our characters and settings, they are very much like our regular lives. We write stories that are more alive and inspiring when we add specific details. Honestly, I’ve found that writing these details, inspires me to keep writing and finish the novel.
Details bring things to life. They tell us – show us – things. Details invite the reader into the world you’re creating and into the characters who live in it.
4.Be true to your story.
Understanding the genre of the story you’re writing, really does help to bring clarity to your story and your characters. And once you have a clear picture of your story – characters, setting, theme – you’ll have a clear vision and inspiration to finish your novel.
For example: if you set out to write a mystery, then write a story that mystery readers love. The same goes for the action adventure of a thriller or the happily every after ending of the romance novel.
Also another important thing to remember about your story, the reader wants to read books about people. They want to live life vicariously through the hero/heroine. Really learn who your characters are so that your readers can feel like they are in the fictive dream.
5.Remember it’s only a book.
When you are writing and perhaps feeling a little tense about how your book is coming along, this is a great time to remind yourself: it’s only a book.
Yes, it’s important. Yes, you really want to get it done. Yes, you are a great storyteller and you take it seriously. But remember, your life doesn’t depend on the outcome of this book. This isn’t life and death.
When I’ve reminded myself of the fact that it’s only a book, it actually helps me to relax enough to get into the writing and creativity zone.
I’ve noticed when writers tense up and make writing a grim “I’m-hanging on for dear life” type of activity, after awhile they will want to quit.
Finishing your book, means you need to get into a creative play zone where your imagination is able to wonder freely and bring all sorts of ideas to you about your characters and your story. That’s when you’ll be truly inspired to write and finish your book.
I hope these five keys to help finish your novel has inspired you.
Most importantly, in between good and bad days, the biggest lesson is to keep writing. As writers we don’t always recognize inspiration. Sometimes the inspiration might come to us slowly and feel more like drudgery. But, that days work might look amazing a week later. And even if it doesn’t, you’ve still learned something through practice.
I encourage you to not quit. To keep writing and to finish your novel 😉
What are some of your biggest obstacles to finishing your novel? Please do comment below… I’d love to hear from you!