How To Start A Book (And Actually Finish It)
Starting a book is easy and this is a pitfall I see many new writers fall into. Because it’s easy to figure out a simple book idea and start writing, they often rush the first stages, which leads to failure, for they can’t finish the actual book.
The real challenge of writing a book is writing it and actually finishing it, for if you have hundreds of drafts on your shelf, you’ll never be as experienced as a writer, who has few published books on his shelf.
So, how do you start a book in a way that allows you to actually finish it as well?
Well, hear me out, for I’ve gone through this process!
Build a solid foundation for your book
Writing a book is a long and challenging task. It will take a lot of work and effort to write a normal 65k word book, but it can still be done.
But for you to get to that finish line, you have to make sure your foundations are built well.
What do I mean with foundations?
Things like plot and the actual idea should be clear in your mind. You don’t have to know every single plot point to get started, but it’s a good idea to know where you’re heading towards in order to avoid that “mid-book crisis”.
You must also make sure that your idea is big enough.
As Jerry B. Jenkins said,
If you tried to write a book before and you ran into a roadblock at the 20 or 30 day mark or maybe the 20 or 30 page mark, it could be because your idea wasn’t big enough.
You have to make sure your book idea has enough weight in it. Your idea has to grow with you in order to make a full book out of it. If you’re going with a small idea, you’re sure to hit the wall when you realize you simply can’t write that 65k words out of it.
So make sure your idea is big enough and that it’s planned accordingly. This is the vital step at the very beginning which will make finishing your book possible.
Don’t give up, even during the toughest writer’s block
Naturally, to finish something, you mustn’t give up.
This can be hard during the marathon of the middle, especially if you get a tough writer’s block. During this time, it’s very important that you have your outline by your side. This will keep you on track and prevent you from falling under the pressure of the writer’s block.
During the midway, you also have to keep your goals in mind. When I was writing The Battle of the Broken Mind, I described to myself the feeling of writing that sweet “the end.” I kept telling myself what I wanted to do with this story and how it deserved to be done and read.
With this kind of positive attitude, you can triumph over the marathon of the middle and get towards the finish line.
After all that, just end the book.
It might be tempting to keep writing and writing for eternity, but every story must come to an end at some point.
I highly suggest you to just find the seemingly natural point where the story should end and just end it there, without remorse. If you keep going longer than the story should actually go, your readers will get confused and tired, which is something you don’t want to do.
You can also realize that you can’t seem to find an ending, or that the ending you wrote is terrible.
I urge you to push through these feelings, for they are something you can fix during the writing of your second draft.
The point of the first draft is to get the story down into a form that can be polished.
After you’ve written THE END, take a break.
This was something I missed during my first writing session.
I finished the book and started editing it right away, which is a terrible idea for a few reasons.
For example, if you start editing your book after spending an immense amount of time on it, you’re basically blind to possible mistakes and opportunities to improve your story.
This is why it’s incredibly important to take a break before moving into the editing phase. Taking a break allows your brains to cool down, which in turn allows you to make improvements and fixes.
Writing a book is a large task, but by building a strong foundation, keeping your spirit high, and not giving up, it can be done.
Keep reminding yourself of your goals and dreams and think about the feeling of accomplishment you’ll feel once you hold your book in your hands.
Hopefully, you found this article helpful! If you did, be sure to check out my other articles as well!
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