How To ACTUALLY Finish Writing A Book In 4 Steps
Struggling to write THE END on your novel? Try these steps!
When you first start writing your novel it's like a mad dash across the pages to get the words out of your brain and onto your media of choice, but then… something always happens. There are chores to be done, errands to run, dinner to cook, children to have, partners to love, shows to watch, lives to be lived, and all of a sudden those pages you were able to write start gathering dust just waiting for you to either toss them in the trash or pick them up again and finish the story.
Well at this point clear your mind of any and everything you have to do. If the laundry needs to be done, it can wait, if your partner needs attention tell them to go watch TV, if your food is burning… well isn't that why you have smoke alarms?
It's time to sit down and make a plan for how you're actually going to finish writing your book.
WRITE AN OUTLINE
Don't roll your eyes at me. I'm not the one who is struggling to finish my book. Outlines are the saving grace for the busy, overworked, distracted, or procrastinating writer.
Food shopping is easier with a list, right? Well, writing is easier with an outline. It takes all the guesswork out of knowing what you're going to write so the brain can take a backseat and the words can just flow out.
Your outline can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. Take out a piece of paper... yes now… your story has waited for you long enough. It doesn't need to gather any more cobwebs.
Write down these four things to start your outline.
- Who is my main character?
- What do they want?
- What is standing in their way?
- How are they going to overcome it?
There's your outline, now you just need to fill in the in-between spaces.
MAKE WRITING A PRIORITY
When making your mental to-do list stop putting writing at the bottom. I don't know a single person who does the last thing on their to-do list. It's either forgotten about or shuffled to the bottom of the next day's list and the cycle repeats.
Put writing in your top three. I would put it in the first line, but sometimes coffee takes precedence in the morning.
Kids have to go to school or you need to go to work? Get up half an hour earlier and write. Take a faster shower and write. Skip the coffee drive-thru and write.
Find the time in the morning to write because we know as soon as the end of the day hits you'll have no more energy to give but plenty of excuses. Dinner needs to be cooked, the kids need to go to bed, your partner needs attention, and then it's the same cycle all over again and the book will continue to gather dust.
Write down on that piece of paper you have in front of you where in the morning you can put thirty minutes to an hour of writing time. Move around what things you need to fit it in, but make sure it's as soon in the day as you can put it.
MAKE IT A DAILY TASK
If you're pulling your hair out on the previous step we can try it this way instead. If you write every single day, even if it's only a few words (please at least get a sentence or two down) it'll only be a matter of time before your first draft will be done.
If you have a piece of paper in front of you I'm going to assume you have a notebook of some kind, or you can pick one up for a dollar or so at your local store.
Keep a notebook by your coffee maker and see how many words you can get in before it's finished brewing.
Keep it by your daily vitamins and write after you take them.
Keep in by the couch and write during commercials if you can't pull yourself away from the Tv.
Keep it in the bathroom if you must and jot down some words instead of beating that next level of candy crush.
Keep it in the car and write before you go to work or even on your break.
Make writing in this notebook a task you can not miss every day and your novel will have no choice but to move along. Sure it might be moving slowly, but it's going a whole heck of a lot faster than if you don't write anything at all.
MAKE A DEADLINE
A little contradictory to the last step but it's a necessary one.
If two things that'll help you finally finish writing your novel it's going to be the scary words of deadline and accountability.
If you have all the time in the world to write your novel you're going to take all the time in the world to write your novel.
On that piece of paper you still have in front of you write down a reasonable deadline let's say between 3–6 months from the date you're reading this and circle it. Now take that date and text it to your chosen accountability partner. "I will finish writing my book on xx-xx." This could be your partner, a close friend, or if you really need the push, your mother, who will constantly ask you how the book is going and if you're going to meet your deadline.
Of course, what's a deadline without some stakes? If you finish by your self-proposed deadline make sure there's a reward on the other end of it.
Although nothing is more rewarding than having just finished your book.
OUCH! I know it was cheesy, but you didn't have to throw your paper at me.
Reward yourself with dinner at your favorite place, a relaxing spa day, or finally getting your mother off your back, even better, take your mother out to dinner for being your not-so-silent partner during the writing process.
It doesn't take much to finally finish writing your novel, just time, dedication, and a little persuasion from your mother. If you follow these steps you'll have no choice but to finish writing your novel.
Just keep writing and you'll reach the end.
Best of luck!
B.K. xo xo
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About the Creator
Barbara King is a first-time author of the new dark fantasy novel The Dark Gods. King is a recent college graduate from Southern New Hampshire University where she earned her BA in Creative Writing.
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