So here you are at the end of another year, still wanting to write that book that’s been on your mind, yet still no closer to finishing it than when you added “Finish Book” to your list of New Year’s Resolutions last year. Oh, I get it, things have come up; lots of things. Life got busy, priorities were rearranged and somehow the book thing was moved way down on the list of must-dos this year. Perhaps it was even shifted from your 2012 to-do list to your longer term “bucket list.”
Honestly, adding your book to your list of New Year’s Resolutions is probably one of the best ways to never finish your book. There’s too much pressure with that. Plus, there’s no plan to go along with it. Although it seems like a worthy goal to record, it just doesn’t work that way. If you want to avoid being in this same place this time next year, here are a few things to avoid at all costs, basically ways to never, ever finish your book.
Depending on when something begins, ends or changes; as in ... “When I retire, I’ll write my book,” or “As soon as the kids go visit their grandparents for the summer, I’ll get right down to business with my manuscript,” or “When I finally finish this master’s program (or the divorce is finalized, or the kids go back to school, or ... well, you get the point), I’m going to get started on my book.” These are really procrastination tactics. Don’t fall for them. Set a real deadline with a date that makes you slightly uncomfortable, and get started now!
Keeping hidden notes. Congrats for keeping notes for the content you want to include in your book. However, when you hide them from yourself and from others, you basically engage in the “out of sight out of mind” practice of book production. Your notes should be in your face, visible and accessible so that when you get another brilliant idea, you’ve got them at the ready. Pull out those notes, dust them off, organize them and watch them take the form of your manuscript.
Being a secret agent. Akin to the hidden notes tactic, never telling anyone you know that you’re writing a book is an almost sure sign that you’ll never get it done. What are you afraid of that you just can’t tell anyone you’re writing a book? Do you think they’ll laugh at you; try to talk you out of it; nag you about whether you’re done yet? They absolutely will. So what! When you tell others – especially supportive people – of your intentions, it sets things in stone and allows them to encourage you and to hold your feet to the fire. It’s much easier to let yourself down than it is to let others down. Tell a friend.
Trying to do it all by yourself. Writing a book is serious stuff. Just as you wouldn’t undergo an extreme life transformation without the input of a life coach, or start a business without the expert insight of a business coach, accountant or attorney, you shouldn’t try writing your book without the insight of a writers group, critique group, writing instructor or an author’s coach. Yes, that’s a shameless plug!
Do all of the above (or any one of them, for that matter), and you’ll never, ever finish your book. Take my advice, and maybe, just maybe you’ll have your book published this time next year. Honestly, I’m cheering for you to do the right thing!
Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".