Many people dream of becoming an author but there’s one pesky thing that stands in their way: writing the book. In your head, it all seemed so easy. You envisioned grabbing a cup of freshly brewed coffee, sitting down at your laptop, and writing 10,000 words on a rainy afternoon. But in reality, sometimes when you sit down to write, nothing happens. You stare at a blank screen for an hour, finish your cup of coffee, and walk away convinced that you have writer’s block or, even worse, that you aren’t a writer at all.
Don’t beat yourself up or give up on your book, I have some tips that have helped inspire me to finish my books.
1. Set a timer
If you’re finding it hard to stay focused when it’s time to write, try writing in intervals. There are different ways to do this, but one of the easiest ways is called the Pomodoro Method. You simply set a timer to write for 25 minutes. Choose one specific thing you want to focus on writing during that time, whether it’s your book outline, your first paragraph, or a specific scene. Don’t do anything else during that time.
After the 25 minutes is up, take a 5 minute break, then rinse and repeat. I love this method because 25 minutes is short enough that I can commit to doing it, but it’s just long enough to get into my writing. I’m usually excited to keep going for 3 or 4 intervals, which equals 75-100 minutes of highly focused writing time. When I don’t use this method, it’s very easy for me to be distracted by emails, text messages, and social media notifications so setting distraction-free time blocks for my writing has been a huge strategy I have used to finish my books.
2. Start with the title and description
Before I ever write a word of my books, I already know the title. I start each book with the title in mind and it really speeds up my writing process and helps me finish. I think that having a title makes the book seem more real for me and motivates me to get it done so that I can bring it to life.
I have one book that I started without a title, It’s still unpublished 4 years later…
3. Have a draft cover created
You can take the concept of making your book seem more real one step further by having a draft cover created. There are freelance sites such as Fiverr where you can get a cover made for less than $30. You’d be surprised how having a visualization of what your book could look like can really inspire you to finish it. I think of it as having the same benefits as when people create a vision board. Having a visual reminder of your book can truly be the daily kick you need to get it done!
4. Set a countdown
Set a date to finish your book. Download a countdown app to your phone, set the date, and you’ll get a daily reminder of how many days you have to achieve your goal. The daily countdown will be like a fitness coach, reminding you to put in your writing workout for the day!
5. Join writer’s communities
One of the best ways to get inspiration to finish your book is to surround yourself with other authors who are in the same boat as you. Seeing them post their own daily struggles and wins will definitely motivate you to get your book done. In my own Facebook group of nearly 6,000 authors, one of the main things people post is that seeing other people’s wins motivated them to finish their books so they could be celebrated by the group. Even writers need a village.
Crystal Swain-Bates is a celebrated children’s book author and the owner of Goldest Karat Publishing. Fed up with the lack of Black children’s books on the market, Crystal founded Goldest Karat Publishing to address the lack of diversity in children’s literature. Crystal has written and published 12 children’s books, which have been seen on platforms including CNN and Huffington Post and used as props for hit television shows such as BET’s “Being Mary Jane” and “The Game.” Her book Big Hair, Don’t Care is one of Amazon’s most highly reviewed black children’s books on the market.