After doling out that sage advice about finishing a book last time, I thought maybe I should offer a few suggestions for those who are stalled.
- Make a schedule and stick to it. This will look different for everyone.
- Minimize distractions. Again, this will be unique to each person. Only you can decide what will work for you.
- Keep a log. In a writing craft article I read a few years back, the author, who was a writing teacher, said his students found this particularly helpful in completing work. It’s done like this: In the evening, record what you want to accomplish the next day and when you intend to do it. It may be something like, “6:30 a.m. Flesh out main character.”
It may include other things, such as length of time or number of pages you want to write. At the end of the day, evaluate your progress: “Good progress; ready to write first chapter.” And so on. The act of writing it down helps motivate you to do it.
- Closely related to the above: A page/word goal. Many writers use the 1,000 words/four pages a day, or for one writing session, technique. If it works for you, great!
- Outline your story, so you always know what’s coming next. Then you can use those bits and pieces of time to write, rather than foundering on the rocks of uncertainty. Many writers don’t outline, however, so again, this is an individual thing.
- Plow on through to the end. Even if it’s not as good as you’d hoped. Remember that old saying about writing: “First you get it down; then you fix it up.” Revision is for polishing. The first draft is, well, the first draft.
I googled “finishing a novel,” among other words/phrases, and found several blog posts and articles on the subject. Here are some links I thought were worthwhile:
From Rasmus Rasmussen
From Holly Lisle
From Timothy Hallinan
And finally, a here’s a link to an online class taught by writing coach Cynthia Morris, “Make Writing a Happy Habit.” I recently took her “Blog Triage” class. She provides practical, useful information, and is incredibly responsive to questions and comments.
If you have suggestions, thoughts, or some “sage” advice of your own, please share!