As with any book you write, it’s easy to stop blogging your book in the middle. And many writers do. When you take on a challenge like National Book Blogging Month (NaBoBloMo), which asks you to write a book, albeit a short one, in just 30 days, the likelihood of quitting increases for a variety of reasons. However, you can avoid most of them.
Here are 12 ways to avoid never-finished-blogging-(or writing)-my book syndrome.
Become conscious of behavior patterns.
Take a look in your computer folders. Do you have 10 books started and not finished? What about your nightstand—five books started and not read? Maybe you also have three art or garden projects you began and never returned to. List all the things you’ve started and not finished, including courses, programs and friendships. Do you see a pattern?
Determine why you start and stop.
Now that you know your pattern, you need to understand it. This is key. Do you stop writing (or working on anything else) when you get bored or feel afraid? Do you bite off more than you can chew? Do you over commit? Do you have trouble saying “no”? Do you get excited by opportunities presented but not evaluate them before jumping in? Once you understand your behavior, you’ll have an easier time changing it.
Know what you are getting into.
Find out before you start what it takes to complete a book, blog a book, produce a successful book, or finish any other project. This will help you avoid feeling like you took on too much once you begin, a common reason writers quit before they can write “The End” or see their book in print.
Also research what it takes to succeed as an author and what it costs (emotionally, financially, psychologically, time wise). Knowing this can help you make it to the end of your project without suddenly saying, “Oh…I didn’t realize I had to do that, sacrifice so much or pay such a high cost. Forget it.”
Set realistic goals.
When you decide to write a book, or to take on a challenge like NaBoBloMo, be realistic. Do you have the time? Do you have the energy? Do you have the financial means? If not, don’t take on the project—at least not until you know you can complete it. Otherwise, you’ll just end up quitting in the middle.
Make a time line.
Chunk down your goal, such as to blog a book by the end of April, into smaller pieces. If you are blogging a book, these might be the titles of your posts. Place them on a time line. Imagine the beginning of this challenge, April 1 at the start of the time line and the end of the challenge, April 30, at the end. All your posts, or the bits of your book would be scheduled along the line. You can also do this on a calendar.
This provides you with tiny deadlines to help you meet your final deadline. And it allows you to feel the cumulative effect of all your tiny successes. If you don’t take this approach, you might get caught with not enough done as you get close to your deadline, causing you to just drop the project at the end.
Create a schedule, and stick to it.
In conjunction with your timeline, set a schedule and goals for how much you will accomplish. I’m not talking about saying, “I’ll blog a book this month.” Actually put your writing periods on your calendar. And set clear productivity goals as well, such as 300-500 words written and published per day or per post. (You can apply the same principle to writing any book.) This, again, gives you deadlines to meet along the way, helping you stay on track and get that book done rather than ending up overwhelmed at the end.
It’s great to have goals that stretch you. However, if you set goals that make you feel you will snap, you might do just that—or give up before you can. Feeling overwhelmed or discouraged will not help you feel enthusiastic about your project. Finishing your book must feel doable.
Give yourself a break.
You do not necessarily have to write every day to finish a book or blog a book in a month. Your creativity, passion and inspiration will suffer if you never give yourself a chance to recharge. Build days off into your schedule.
It’s fine to reward yourself with a bowl of ice cream, some chocolate, a walk with the dog, some reading time, a phone call to a friend, or a yoga class after you complete your writing goals for the day. For larger goals, like completion of a chapter or the whole book, go out for dinner or a movie…or take a trip to your favorite store and buy yourself a gift.
Write for the right reasons.
Explore your motivations for writing or blogging a book, especially if you take on a challenge. Does completing the book have personal meaning for you? Or does writing or publishing a book seem like a way to make money, achieve power or gain something else? If you write, or blog, to fulfill your potential or a personal or soul purpose, you will continue on to the end, willingly working 24-7 if necessary. If you are doing this for your ego or to gain something material, the likelihood is you’ll stop when the going gets tough.
Focus on one project at a time
Taking on several projects at once is a sure-fire way to set you up to fail. It’s a better plan to choose one project at a time and work on it until you can check it off as done. If you have a lot of manuscripts started, but not finished, pick one to complete first. Then move on to the next one. You might start with a short project first (like blogging a book in a month). As you see that you can complete a manuscript, your confidence will increase. You’ll soon know you can, indeed, write a book. Also, your habits will change!
Often writers don’t finish their projects because that they don’t now when they are done. They just keep writing and writing, blogging and blogging, revising and revising, or editing and editing. At some point, you must declare your book project finished. This is where a deadline really comes in handy.
Or make a list of qualities that will determine if your book is done, such as:
- All beta readers returned their comments.
- Revisions were made based on beta reader comments.
- The manuscript has had two rounds of developmental editing.
- The manuscript has had one round of line editing.
- All revisions were made based on editors’ suggestions.
- The manuscript has been proofread.
Once you’ve achieved these, you must stop fiddling and move on to print.
Do you have any tips that help you finish your writing projects to add to this list?
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