Starting a book? That is the (relatively) easy bit. Keeping going is a bit harder. Who wants to sit alone in front of a keyboard while everyone else is out playing. Facebook is waiting. Maybe a blog would be more achievable than a whole BOOK? So here’s my take on why many writers stop before the end. This is not any professional research, just my observations from experience.
Starting a book? That is the (relatively) easy bit. Keeping going is a bit harder. So here’s my take on why many writers stop before the end. This is not any professional research, just my observations from experience.
Everyone starts off with a bang, writing every day, working on their plot. That lasts for about 30 days. And then the going gets tough and writers start to make excuses. Work is pressing, kids are demanding, too much travel. You will do it later…. Now is not the right time for you. Next year…
Excuses. What really happens? The hard reality of writing a full book starts to reveal itself.
Why? It is darn hard to write an 80,000-word book. That's a long time you need to spend in front of a computer screen. The muse does not always sweep you along. The plot does not always flow. The discipline is not always strong.
Who wants to sit alone in front of a keyboard while everyone else is out playing. Facebook is waiting. Maybe a blog would be more achievable than a whole BOOK?
So who are the writers that do actually write a book? Simple. The ones that finish one.
The writers that finish their books are not necessarily the ones with more ideas, more talent or more skill. They are not necessarily any better writers.
But they get one thing right – they simply keep going. They move beyond the first month of enthusiasm. They move through the long, hard middle of the book. They keep going. Word after word. They just keep writing. It’s that hard, and that easy.
Most writers will tell you, realistically, that it takes a minimum of a year to write a book and get it to a point that you are happy with your draft. Sure Steven King may bash his out faster, but you can pretty much bank on it taking a year to get from an idea to a version you feel is ready to be sent out to a publisher or agent. This year is not all spent simply writing of course. Once you have your first draft down your task is more about tweaking, refining and fixing. That’s why we want to get your first draft out as soon as we can. Then you can go back and make it better, fix errors and refine your work.
Sarah Bullen is a writing coach, agent and book editor. She is a structure fanatic and book whisperer and is here to help.