Writing a book can be a daunting task. I should know, I’ve been lucky enough to publish three successful niche-market books. Writer’s block, technical details, and deadlines all seem to loom over you while you work, and if you have a day job like me, finishing a book can seem impossible. Like anything, it requires focus and drive. Here are a few tips to help you succeed.
Set aside writing time
I can’t tell you how important it is to set aside time to write. You can’t publish a book if you don’t do the work. Set a daily schedule, sit down, and do nothing else but write. Okay, you can pace around if you need to think, but no dishes, no vacuuming, no sudden obsession with spots on the windows. Write. Stay focused. Don’t give up.
Set word count goals
To compliment your scheduled writing time, set some word count goals. That’s not to say you should just type whatever words come in to your head; I like to think of word counts like nutrient dense foods, meaning every word should count. Don’t stop until the goals are met.
Don’t edit as you go
Many stories, articles, and novels die on the beaches of instant review. The editing process should exist as its own separate thing. Don’t write a sentence, then review and edit it. Or paragraph. Or page. You’ll lose the narrative quick if you head down that tunnel. Write the whole thing first, polish it later. Editing is 80% of the work and 95% of the fun.
Listen to your editor!
Once your work is accepted for publication, your assigned editors will review your work and provide you feedback. Editorial feedback is never meant as a personal slight. Editors know their audience, and they want your writing to be tight and appropriate for their target demographic. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn in fiction writing, but once I got my ego out of the way and started paying attention to what the pro’s where telling me, my skill improved and the editors were happy.
Don’t drag out the author review process
When you submit your manuscript to your editor, he or she may make some changes and return the text to you for “author review.” This process is largely about making sure the changes are true to your original intent or narrative. Don’t drag it out. Editors are busy people.
Stop goofing off
Why are you reading this? Get to work!