Finishing what you start

An acquaintance recently asked me, “So is writing a book hard?”

After I got passed the WTF moment and the urge to stomp on his foot, I answered him this way:

“No, writing a book isn’t difficult at all.  But actually finishing it is incredibly difficult and often painful.”

I’ve finished two now with a third in process.  I hope I’ve learned a few things along the way.  Everyone works differently, and my methods may not work for you.  But they might, so here it is:

  • Set daily and weekly goals for word count.  I created a punishment and reward system for myself mostly involving martinis and chocolate.  In fact, it worked so well, my second book is about a book club that likes – Martinis and Chocolate!
  • I wrote the plan on paper and shared it with a few friends.  Now I was on the hook.  My friends knew of my goals and they asked me about it.
  • I checked off each successful day on the plan in a cheerful, pink pen.  Non-successful days –  no checks.  I really hated those days.
  • I built some contingency in to the plan.  Life happens.
  • Built writing in to my schedule.  It wasn’t easy with a day job and a family.  But the key was to write at the same time, in the same place.

For me, the key to finishing was creating a plan to finish.

What are your keys to finishing?


2 thoughts on “Finishing what you start

  1. The best way for me to finish is to do challenges with friends. I did NaNo with a friend and finished something I’m hoping to get edited. I’m working on another as a challenge with a friend and I’m almost halfway through. That seems to be my best bet. If I’m not doing it that way, I have to write something daily my minimum is usually a thousand words.

  2. I tried NaNo this year but just couldn’t get my word count high enough. Did get a decent start on my second book, though. I would love to do a thousand a day. Usually during the week, I am lucky to get 700.
    Stop back by the blog when you finish. Perhaps we can post an excerpt. 🙂

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