Are you wondering if you’re really ready to finish your book?
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell – especially if we’re getting bogged down by our self-doubt. But that self-doubt can be a sign that you are ready to finish.
And while we at Resilient Writers want you to finish your book, it’s also important to remember that we don’t always have to be in a state of finishing to be a “Real Writer.”
[02:09] I really strongly believe that there has to be time in a writer's life where we're just playing around.
[04:12] I think a writer is someone who writes, but there's no question that it kind of gives you that extra...
True confession time: I put off writing this blog post because I was afraid it wouldn’t be perfect.
I find that hilarious now, but I used to be sooo much worse than this: I would put off writing because I was afraid it wouldn’t be perfect and then NEVER get back around to my work-in-progress.
At this point in my life, I’ve done the work to own my own B.S. and I can see myself coming, so I pay attention whenever I start to get those procrastination signals and I can typically turn myself around fairly easily.
Here are my best tips for beating perfectionism in the New Year. The bonus here is that if you do the hard work to beat them once, it gets much easier with time.
If you’re anything like me, procrastination sends you some thought signals before it cosies in and settles down to stay for awhile. Noticing these signals takes some practice, but just learning how to recognize these can...
There’s a major mistake a lot of writers make when they’re just starting out writing their book. Can you guess what it is? (Hint: the answer is in that first sentence!)
The mistake is all in how you think about your book -- including thinking of it as a “book” at all in the beginning.
We have very capital-R Romantic ideas about books and writing, ideas we’ve picked up from reading or watching movies and just fantasizing about what it must be like for published authors.
If you’ve never done it before, here’s how you might think writing a book goes:
Mm-hmm, sorry about that...I can tell you from experience that this is not the typical experience for most published authors.
What’s missing is a true understanding of the book-writing process -- how we really get from idea to finished product.
In my First...
The gap between writing smaller, individual pieces of work -- short stories, poems, essays -- and writing a full book sometimes feels like an incredible chasm.
With individual pieces of work, no matter how challenging, the satisfaction of an ending comes much sooner and more frequently, generating a sense of momentum that is inspiring in and of itself.
With a book however, the ending can seem a long way off. And the distance between where we are now in the project, and a final published version of our book on the shelf can feel like a literary Ironman marathon.
If how to manage the enormity of a book-length project is keeping you up at night -- or leading to avoid your writing (uh-oh!) -- then here’s how I suggest you get yourself organized to help you manage some of the stress of a project of this size.
If you have been spending a lot of time on research, or “research” -- the...
You can be forgiven for thinking that writing a book is all about the craft: how to write compelling characters, or how to structure a mystery novel, what to leave out when writing your memoir, or how to handle backstory, or how to curate a collection of stories or poems so it hangs together well as a whole.
Of course, these are elements of writing a book. But truth be told, they are not what gets in the way of most writers.
For a lot of writers, the story of writing a book goes like this…
Then...start to worry.
Put your heart in it.
There’s an old writing joke that makes the rounds (I think I first heard it from an article about Margaret Atwood) about a writer and a brain surgeon chit-chatting over drinks at a cocktail party. The brain surgeon pipes up:
“When I retire, I'm going to write a book."
And the writer, in a very wry and dry Peggy Atwood kind of tone, says: "How fascinating. When I retire, I'm going to take up brain surgery."
I mean, it’s not ROFL funny; it’s a joke about writers after all.
The brain surgeon’s operating assumption (haha) being that of course anyone can write a book.
If only, my medical and non-medical friends...IF ONLY.
But then, who can write a book? Is it as easy as the Internet makes it sound?
One Internet guru promises you can finish a book in 30 days.
So then the next dude has to promise you can do it in just 3 EASY STEPS!
Hang in there, writers -- we’re just weeks away from a book requiring no steps at all!
For writers working in narrative, there’s nothing quite as anxiety-provoking as the question of whether or not we have the structure right.
We work for months on our messy first draft, some of us for YEARS even, hoping with our fingers crossed that when we get to the end, we’ll have a story that basically works and won’t have to be completely rewritten from scratch because we didn’t get the fundamentals right.
The trick is in how to do that exactly…
There are many options for structuring a story – and likely some that have yet to be invented – but in this blog post, I’m going to clarify the classic 3 act structure and hopefully demonstrate how you can use it as a tool to help you shape your messy first draft so that you end up with a book that works at its most basic level.
This structure is classic like a Chanel suit because it’s that well-constructed and can take you anywhere, and it’s also classic as in Seen on TV,...
Are you writing to FINISH?
Nearly every writer has days when the voices in her head get snarky and loud.
>> Why even bother?
>> Is this even worth it?
>> Who do you think you are to write a memoir?
>> You’ll never get this published.
>> Why don’t you stop wasting your time and do something useful for a change?
Honestly -- that voice is such a b*tch! And she always shows up uninvited and at the worst possible time.
If you hear that voice often, then you will at some point wonder if you should even bother finishing and if your book is worth it.
So let’s take that question at face value and try to answer it:
Should you even bother finishing your book?
Simon Sinek has a great book called Start with Why and it’s lead me to thinking about the importance of WHY we write in the first place.
Because depending on why you write and why it matters to you, the answer about finishing your book will be...
Here in Ottawa, Canada where I live, it’s summer. The lilacs have faded, the peonies have all dropped, and now the roses and lilies are blooming in the gardens around town.
In the early evenings when I walk Mr. Darcy, the air smells like barbeque and I can hear music playing, the sound carrying across the parks from a downtown jazz festival.
Summer is Canada in all its glory and the last thing I want to do is be stuck inside finishing up a poetry manuscript and revising a novel. I’d much rather be lounging outside in the heat on a hazy afternoon, cool drink in one hand and fat juicy paperback in the other.
But I am still writing.
This blog post was written at 7am, during a Writer’s Flow Studio community writing session.
(Shout out to the Friday 7am crew! Especially Mari who finished her book and sent it off to beta readers yesterday, and Lenore who had a publisher ask for her full manuscript after she joined a Twitter pitch event, and Jackie whose...
You want to write. You want to finish books and get them out into the world.
Weeks or maybe even months have passed and you’re no closer to finishing your latest work-in-progress. It’s still IN progress, only now maybe there’s a layer of dust on top of the box you keep your manuscript in.
If you’ve been working on a novel, you may feel disconnected from the characters and their dilemmas.
If you’ve been writing a memoir, you may have begun to doubt that you really can – or even should – write this book.
If you’re pulling together a collection of short stories or poems, you probably have pieces of work – some finished, some unfinished – lying around and the sense of chaos may be overwhelming at times.
Bon courage, my friend…every single writer and creative person has been in this place at one time or another. Or, in all likelihood, many times. It’s one of those experiences that tend to come back...