Writing a book is by far the hardest fun thing I have ever done. I enjoyed creating my own characters, developing a story around them, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. But I’ll be honest–writing that many words is HARD. There were days that I wanted to give up. I actually convinced myself at one point that maybe it would be best to just do it the following year, you know, when life is more normal. But seriously, when is life normal? When do we have everything lined up in a row and set in their place that creates the perfect environment to focus solely on your writing? I’ll tell you: never.
If you make writing your priority–and you can–then you will make time for your writing. You will wake up earlier, stay up later, tear yourself away from the internet…whatever it is that is holding you back from accomplishing your writing goals. I thought it was going to be impossible to complete my manuscript as I worked full time and job-hunted full time and went on interviews and kept in touch with my family 200 miles away, while simultaneously setting time aside for my boyfriend and me to still have a normal relationship. However, in that whole mess of 2018 (literally the entire year I was a ball of a hot mess), I kept coming back to writing. I knew how important this book was to me, and I wrote.
If you have that drive, that passion, that desire stronger than anything, to finish your manuscript, I have for you the top five tips on how to do just that:
- Just get the words on the page. Save the editing for later.
It took me a while to get used to resisting the urge to edit as I went along, but that was only holding me back. I would obsess over every sentence before I allowed myself to write the next section, but over time I learned how to resist the urge. Over time, my sole focus turned into simply getting words on the damn page. I couldn’t care how anything sounded, how pretty the words flowed, how well I set up a scene…I just wanted to get the ideas in my head onto the page. Remember, nothing is permanent yet. That is what the editing process is for–to go back and improve your story. The first draft is meant to tell the story to yourself.
- Set aside the same time every day to write.
I work best on a routine schedule. I think that’s why it was harder for me to write when I was waiting tables because my schedule was different every day. My best writing was in December when I had the remaining 31,000 words left and I finally started my new job with a routine schedule. I dedicated the first hour and a half of my day to simply sit and write, every single morning. Having this blocked writing time allowed me to focus on writing knowing that I had other blocks of time dedicated to other things such as the gym and house chores. If you don’t have a routine schedule, try to find a pattern in your weeks and notice when you usually have chunks of time available–or when you can make time available. You could create a different block of writing time for each day of the week.
- Experiment with where you write.
Some people write best at a desk, while others write best on the couch. Some prefer writing in bed, while some prefer writing at the park or even on the floor. As much as I felt it was most proper to write at my desk, I discovered that I wrote best on the couch. It’s weird that your creative juices flow better in different environments, but it’s true! Don’t feel weird about not writing “properly” at a desk. Try different areas of your house, visit your library, go outside–you may find inspiration in unexpected places!
- Experiment with your method of writing.
When I first started writing my draft, I hand wrote it and then typed it out over the weekends. This method was okay, but I found it more time consuming to type it afterwards than it was worth. Eventually, I ditched the hand writing and just typed my draft and that worked very well. However, some may prefer hand writing their entire draft and then typing it all out when they’re done. There is no wrong way to do this. Once I discovered that I preferred typing my draft, I purchased a tablet that made writing on the go easier! If you have a tablet, I recommend trying that, too.
- Tell everyone you are writing a book.
Saying your goal aloud makes it that much more real. People are usually pretty impressed when they hear someone tell them they are writing a book, and let me tell you, they are even more impressed when you tell them you finished it! By talking about your book, you are getting a head-start on your readership, too. Talk about your characters, talk about your plot–entice your potential followers! Commit to your goal.
These are just a few tricks that worked for me to get that first draft DONE. Let me know what you are learning in your writing journey! Let’s learn together.