I’m writing my first book. It’s easier than I thought it would be. And at the same time, harder. For me, the toughest part has been the daily discipline of writing — showing up even when I’m bored with the book and want to move on.
But apparently, my publisher isn’t cool with that. I guess that contract I signed actually means something. Weird. So I’ve had to force myself to do some things to stay focused…
Book writing tips that work (for me and maybe you)
Here are some tips that have worked for me, allowing me to keep my head in the game. Maybe they’ll help you with your book, too:
- Set a daily word count goal.
- Write when you feel energized and inspired.
- When you need to rest, rest. Just don’t use that as an excuse to be lazy.
- Also write when you don’t feel like it. Some days, you just need to show up and put the time in.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t hit the daily word count goal, or miss a day. Give yourself grace. Tomorrow’s another day.
- Celebrate small victories. Pat yourself on the back for 300 words. Today, it’s enough.
- Set aside time to write. Protect that time at all costs. For me, early morning is best.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you sleep in or miss your daily time. Just keep writing.
- Get a feedback group to give you honest critique. Don’t be defensive; hold your work with an open hand.
- Pray. Ask God for help. Or, if you don’t believe in God, pray. Trust me: you need it.
- Allow yourself a few quirky indulgences. For me, it’s French Press coffee and ambient music to get into the mood to write.
- Write in chunks. Focus on one section at a time. Don’t let the whole book overwhelm you. Today, just worry about your little section.
- Go out of order, if you need to. If you are most excited about the middle of the book, start there. Follow your passion. You can always go back and write Chapter 1 later.
- Don’t check email. I’m serious. Close it right now. Do not even leave it open. Email is a productivity-killer.
- Don’t check Facebook. Again, I’m not kidding. Close that window.
- Don’t check Twitter. Hey, what’s wrong with you? You’re starting to sound like me. Just get to work already.
- Always have a way to take notes (I use Evernote on my phone). Bring your laptop or notebook with you wherever you go. Steal five or ten minutes wherever you can — in the car, waiting for the bus, on your lunch break, whatever. Every little bit counts.
- Read books that inspire you. Read a piece of fiction or a memoir or whatever you find inspiring. And of course, I always recommend The War of Art.
That’s it. Remember, this is a marathon. Pace yourself. See you at the finish line. (For more book writing tips, see: 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book.)
What book writing tips would you add to the list?
*Photo credit: Kheel Center (Creative Commons)