Have you ever started writing a book but failed to finish it? Most authors understand the disappointment of writing a book that never seems to come through; not because you don’t know what to write but because you simply can’t bring yourself to write it. Sometimes you’re weighed down by the magnitude of the task or distracted by the multitude of other matters competing for your attention. Regardless of how we experience it, we’re all facing the same problem – resistance.
I love the way Steven Pressfield puts it in his book, The War of Art:
There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance. Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I’m going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.
To be successful as a writer, you need to create systems and structures that will make your writing easier. First and foremost, you need to see your book not as an end in itself, but as part of a larger plan. The consciousness that you’re working towards a bigger goal can provide the inspiration you need to fuel the writing process. No matter how successful your book is, it will not by itself provide the income and security you desire. Your plan should be to leverage off of a successful book, rather than retire on its earnings.
Having created your plan, you need to devise an efficient way of executing the writing process. Don’t try to write the book sequentially from the first to the last chapter. This is called linear writing, a mistake that many authors make. Another mistake is trying to get away from everything and drop all activities so that you focus on writing your book. This is called marathon writing. Both methods are not usually effective for all practical purposes, and they are usually characterised by lots of stress.Instead of practising linear writing or marathon writing, approach writing as a jigsaw puzzle. Click To Tweet
Instead of adopting linear writing or marathon writing, approach writing as you would approach a jigsaw puzzle. You will not always get the entire picture at once; it will usually come in bits and pieces; hence, you need to develop an effective strategy for harvesting your thoughts. It is also important that you develop a writing regime that will help you write consistently. Have a writing calendar and follow it. Like I’ve heard Michael Hyatt say several times, consistency is more important than frequency. It is better to write one hour every day than to write three hours today, two hours tomorrow and not write again for the next two weeks.
Another useful tip is to develop a framework for each chapter. It is easier to write when all you have to do is fill in the elements in the framework rather than starting on a blank page. Don’t expect your first draft to be perfect; just get it done. After getting it done, you can rework and revise until you’re satisfied with the final output. And mind you, you don’t really have to write. If writing is not your thing, simply speak your book and record it. Then get someone to transcribe it and hire an editor to finish it.