A while ago I wrote about how to start writing a book. I figured it was time to write about the rest of the process. I’m sure this looks a little different for everyone, but I think the same elements are necessary for success. Here’s my take:
- Perseverance. It makes sense to start here I think. Once you get yourself started, you really need to force yourself to write. That sounds painful, and sometimes it is, but from my experience, once I make a habit of writing everyday, I begin to look forward to it. In fact, when I don’t write consistently, I feel frustrated. Maybe the best comparison is exercise or running with a goal in mind. Writing is very much that way.
- Patience. You can’t rush something creative if you want it to be really good. Rushed writing often equals bad writing. Usually the first time through is a bit rough, and that’s ok. I wrote my first novel once and then went back and rewrote the whole thing until I was satisfied with the story. It took a lot of patience.
- Optimism. If you’re hypercritical of your work (like I am), you need this to keep you motivated. I’ve learned not to tell myself “I’m writing a bestseller,” but instead to say to myself “I’m writing a good story.” “I want to finish that story. The characters needs to see it through and someone will enjoy this book!”
- Objectivity. This one sort of balances the optimism for me. I don’t think anyone can be completely objective with their writing because it’s very personal. However, I do try to look at my project and imagine what it would be like to be the reader. This is also why it’s important to have other people read for you. They can help identify things that don’t work and highlight things that do.
However you get yourself to write, be sure to enjoy the process. I’m amazed at how my stories will unfold themselves while I’m writing. It’s almost like watching a movie for the first time. And the feeling of accomplishment that follows finishing a book is certainly worth the time spent.
How do you finish writing books?