Ever Feel Like This When You Start Writing?
Twenty-one years ago, I launched into a full-time freelance writing career. Within days I was offered a pretty lucrative writing gig from an unexpected source that ended up lasting two years.
So how did I spend the beginning of my first day of work on that job?
Seriously, my schedule was full of commitments, but I wasted the first two hours of my day sleeping.
Most of us writers enjoy the idea of writing a book, but actually writing the book? Karen Bouchard, who works for us, once told me, “I enjoy having written a book so much more than writing it.”
In our last post, I shared Essential Key #1 to Finish Your Manuscript: Remove Your Distractions.
Here’s the next one:
Essential Key #2 to Finish Your Manuscript in 2020: Practice Self-Discipline
Now hear me out. Before you jump to the next email, because you want nothing to do with this nonsense, consider this:
Without a healthy dose of self-discipline, you won’t finish your manuscript. If you’re waiting to feel inspired before diving in, your manuscript will never get done. Never.
You won’t enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you send it to the copyeditor.
You’ll miss out on the exhilaration that only takes place when you hold the hard copy of your book in your hands for the first time.
Your family and friends will miss the opportunity to celebrate the joyous release of your book.
Most importantly, people who need to read your book will miss out on its life-changing message or story.
Here are some hints that will help you swallow that jagged little pill:
Visualize the end emotion in mind. Just a little earlier, I called out a few emotions that accompany a finished manuscript:
- The feeling of accomplishment
- Exhilaration from holding that book in your hands
- The shared joy you’ll feel when you celebrate with your friends
- The sense of purpose that results from changing lives
If you’re struggling to get your tushy off the couch, spend some focused time thinking about—and then feeling—those emotions.
Block out time to write on your schedule. I’ve never finished a manuscript without blocking out the time.
Illumify’s Larry Yoder adds,
In my years in books I have known many internationally-known writers and first-time writers and they all had to discipline themselves to finish their project. All of them followed a daily writing/research schedule. If they missed their regularly scheduled time, they made it up on a successive day. Their writing schedule was a work schedule.
Tell family and friends what you’re doing. Announce your deadline. Invite them to your book launch party on a specific date. Encourage them to ask you about your progress early and often. A little accountability goes a long ways.
JUST. DO. IT. Turn off your internal critic, editor, or censor and just put words on the page. They don’t need to be pretty or well-thought-out. If you get stuck on a word, phrase, or idea, skip it and keep going.
Create momentum. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreaded getting started for the day. But once I actually set my fingers on the keyboard, my energy and creativity roared back to life. This happens most of the time for me (including this blog post!).
Schedule rewards for hitting your goals. One fall, I gave myself permission to eat a fun-size Snickers bar whenever I hit my daily goal. You may prefer a glass of wine or an hour of Netflix bliss (say that three times!). Despite knowing I didn’t need to follow my self-imposed rules, I found that it usually worked.
Record your daily word count. For me, hitting the goal and then writing it down is usually my most satisfying reward. This will give you a sense of accomplishment from day one.
Another story from Larry Yoder:
One day while at the store buying books, an older customer overhead me talk about writing to a student.
“Please forgive me for listening to your conversation,” he began. “I have carried in my mind an idea for a great Western novel for years. But sadly, it will never be written because I’m too old. Every day, I wish I had found the self-discipline to finish my story.”
The he slowly walked away.
Only YOU can write your book and only YOU can finish it. No one will do it for you.
Between now and Thanksgiving, Karen, Larry and I are offering a FREE 30-minute consultation to help you hit the mark. Click on the name below to schedule your free consultation:
Michael J. Klassen
We bring your book to life!