If your New Years Resolution is to finally finish that book you’ve been wanting to write for years (or you started writing but never finished), you can hire me (of course) to be your mentor, but here are some of the most common things that I tell writers to help them be successful.
- Make a commitment. I often recommend a time commitment (30-60 minutes a day) rather than a word count goal because you can’t always control word count and it can trigger negative avoidant behaviors around writing. But when you’re writing, you’re staring at a blank screen if necessary–not messing around online.
- Accept that you may be writing a shitty first draft. Keep going even if it feels like it’s terrible. You’re learning important things about writing as you push forward through the hard parts. And later, it can be impossible to tell which parts were hard to write and which parts were easy and felt like they were perfect.
- Be willing to re-assess. You may reach a point where you know that you’ve gone wrong somewhere and this is not where you intended to head up. That’s the time to go back to the beginning, figure out where you headed off in the wrong direction, and then ruthlessly cut everything from that point on and start fresh. Trust me when I say that trying to save the wrong things at this point will just waste time and delay your progress.
- Don’t fuss with the little stuff. Grammar and typos are things you need to worry about at some point, but you have bigger stuff to focus on here, and fiddling with small details just distracts you from plot and character issues, which are the big ones.
- Procrastination is going to be a problem, I guarantee it. The funny thing is that it will come up in a lot of forms you may not recognize, like telling you that you need to spend a year researching something before you write anymore. Or telling you that you should write an easier book first before tackling the really big one.