This is the fifth installment in our series

“Seven Essential Strategies to Finish Your Manuscript in 2020.” 

Essential Key #1: Remove Your Distractions

Essential Key #2: Practice Self-Discipline

Essential Key #3: Follow Your Body Rhythms

Essential Key #4: My Favorite Writing Tools

Karen Bouchard here.

Embarrassing confession time.

Here’s a little tidbit very few people know about me:

My first manuscript never saw the light of day.

I got pretty close to at least getting it done, writing 30 thousand words and spending a year of hard work…

…and that’s the end of that story.


I never finished it. In fact, I never showed it to a soul.

The good news is eventually I figured out what it takes to finish a book.

I went on to write 15 books of my own (under the name Karen Linamen), co-write or ghostwrite another couple dozen books, and speak all over the country.

Today, as a book coach, I’m even helping other writers develop, complete, and publish great books.

But sometimes I still think about that first manuscript.

I think it had potential.

But it never got wings because I never asked for help.

I had bought into the “lone writer” school of thought. I believed my role as a “real” writer was a create a masterpiece in solitude and then present it in all its glory to the world.

It wasn’t until I started connecting and working with mentors in my industry that my writing skills and my publishing career took off.

Just because you’re temporarily stalled or stuck doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

If your book or your writing dreams aren’t materializing as quickly as you’d like, it doesn’t mean you’re not called to be on this path.

And it certainly doesn’t mean you should feel discouraged.

If you want to finish your manuscript in 2020, I urge you to get the support you need to complete the task.

  • Chances are, you’re already familiar with the kind of support you can get from conferences, courses, and books about writing.
  • In addition, writer’s groups—online or otherwise—give you access to camaraderie and information.
  • You can also find some great writing tutorials on YouTube.

I encourage you to explore all of the above.

But if you want to finish your book in 2020, working one-on-one with a book coach can definitely put you on the fast track. And if you’re feeling stuck, a coach can get you unstuck and moving forward.

What is a book coach, and how can one help you?

Book coaches work one-on-one with writers to take a project to the next level.

Very often, book coaches work with writers before there is a completed manuscript ready to go to an editor or copyeditor.

Here’s what that can look like:

  • If you have a great idea (but not much in writing yet), a book coach can work with you to develop that idea into an outline and then an entire book.
  • If you have a virtual shoebox of great content in the form of articles, blog posts, speeches, half-written chapters, maybe even ideas scrawled on napkins, a book coach can work with you to organize and shape that content into an amazing book.
  • If you have a good start on your manuscript but you’re stuck or discouraged, a book coach can work with you to get you across the finish line.

Book coaches can also provide editing on manuscripts that are farther along:

  • If you have a fully developed manuscript that simply needs some tweaking and polishing, a book coach can work with you to turn that good manuscript into a great one. At that point, you’re done. Your manuscript should be ready for copyediting and publishing.

See? Always moving to the next level.

By the way, if you have a completed manuscript that needs polishing, another option is to hire an editor instead of a book coach.

Both can be great options.

The difference is that book coaching is set up in a way that makes it easier for your coach to work interactively with you, showing you the process so your skills as a writer go to the next level as well.

So how do you find a good book coach?

Go about it the same way you look for any professional.

Conduct online searches. Identify who is producing helpful content for writers. Ask other writers who they’ve worked with. Interview a few coaches and see if it feels like a good fit.

And coaches have specialties, so ask about those as well.

And this is really important:

Look for a coach with experience in many facets of writing and publishing.

I say this because completing your book is one facet of a much broader experience, right?

It’s not just about getting the words on paper.

Ultimately, your book needs to: 1) be competitive in a crowded marketplace and 2) resonate with felt needs of your readers.

If it doesn’t, it might get done, but it’s not going to sprout wings and fly.

So make sure you’re working with a coach who understands the bigger picture and can help you craft your book with that in mind.

If you think book coaching could help you wrap up your book in 2020, let’s talk. 

I do most of the book coaching at Illumify, and I’d love to work with you as your coach and help you get your book finished this year.

Here’s the scoop on working with a book coach through Illumify:

  • Illumify offers book coaching outside of our publishing packages, so you don’t have to have signed with Illumify to take advantage of this service.
  • We work with writers of all genres and at all stages in their journey.
  • We offer coaching in small chunks–as little as an hour at a time–so you can get what you need as you need it, without long term commitments or costs.

To learn more, click on the Schedule NOW link (the one right here or the one next to my name below) and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about coaching.

Heck, we can even do a bit of coaching during our call so you can see what it’s like.

I also want to remind you that, to help you hit your writing goal this year, our staff is offering free no-obligation consultations through the end of the year.

Bottom line, if you need help hitting your writing goal this year, there’s no excuse.

Help is here.

Schedule a free consult with Mike, Larry, or myself to learn more about coaching or get answers to any questions you have about your writing or publishing journey.

Mike Klassen Schedule NOW

Larry Yoder Schedule NOW

Karen Bouchard Schedule NOW

Happy writing!