5 Writing Tips for Finishing Your Book on Time


The process of writing  is uniquely personal. Therefore, there are many idiosyncratic habits that many authors cling to.

That’s not what this article is about. These are breakthrough tips that will challenge what you have believed about the writing process.

I learned these tips on the way to writing my first traditionally published book, which was written in less than a month. In fact, they were a direct result of that intensive period of writing.

#1 – Writing is Easy – Editing is Hard

Writing a book is much more than writing, and that happens to be the first tip.

Once you have the basic outline for your book it’s time to start writing. It turns out the outline I created a full year before writing my book is nearly exactly what I followed when I finally got down to the writing, which happened to be a month before my publisher’s deadline.

Accept the fact that your first draft of your book will be crap and have to be rewritten. So, just get it done. As Seth Godin says, fail fast.

I wrote each chapter of my book in less than a day to meet that deadline. But that’s just the beginning.

What you will discover is writing is remembering. You’ll pull together all kinds of ideas; some will be brilliant and others will be edited out. By editing I’m talking about rewriting.

Having tried a number of methods, I learned that rewriting, again, and again, and again, is still much less time consuming than trying to clean up that original. If it starts as crap it will remain so until it is completely rewritten.

Editing is rewriting. It’s the hardest part of writing. Tweet this

#2 – Write Without a View

When I started writing my book my office had a beautiful view of a lake. That’s exactly why nothing happened, and how I ended up with such a tight deadline.

These days my office is a windowless room where I have no idea if its day or night, and that’s exactly what you need to if you are a writer.

In addition to avoiding distractions, when your energies are confined to a smaller space the focus on your writing intensifies.

Get rid of the view and watch your writing flow. Tweet this

#3 – Whether Flowing or Stuck, Keep Writing to Completion

Some days it was a challenge to write 2,500 words. Other days over 10,000 words flowed. The challenge is to keep your butt in the seat and accept what you create.

My goal every day was to write a chapter; and I did. I refused to leave that office until I had a complete piece, regardless of its quality. Finished is finished and it feels darn good.

That said, it is interesting that a longer piece of content is far more difficult to edit than one that is shorter. Why? We fall in love our ideas and dread the thought of tossing them out.

Whether you are writing the first draft or the fifth, keep going to completion. Tweet this

#4 – Question What Your Writing is About

It is much easier to write to a question than a subject heading. That’s how you draw out your best ideas and achieve clarity for your audience.

When you are writing, and especially when you are rewriting, ask questions.

  • What is this about?
  • What is the theme?
  • Where is this going?
  • What does this want to be when it grows up?!!

If you are at all like me, you may need to have a meltdown to make a breakthrough. Believe me, I had plenty. Thankfully meditation kept me sane. After that you will be at peace and create some of your best work.

Resistance to completing any project means its important to you.  Tweet this

#5 – Ask for Feedback Only When You Are Finished

The expression that everyone has a book inside of them is probably true. However, your book will not come out if you invite others to the party. You have to do this alone (unless you have a co-author) to bring out your unique perspective.

When I was done with my rewriting I invited friends I respect to offer their feedback. It was all valuable. Even the feedback I did not agree with forced me to challenge my own thinking.

You will become even more confident about your writing when it is challenged. Although, getting that feedback too early means your work is no longer your work, and that will create needless doubt.

Stephen King says, “Write with the door closed; rewrite with it open.”  Tweet this

This is more than great advice, it’s essential for getting YOUR book finished, not the book someone else wants you to write.

Are  you planning to or already writing a book? Leave a comment and share.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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Why I Write

Why I Write

Writing for me is a process of going to a place that is uniquely personal to create something of value.

Meditation accomplishes the same thing, but how it works to manifest physical reality from thoughts is not as obvious. That said, I find it interesting that many of the writers I know also meditate.

Writing is Marketing

More people would probably give writing a try if they better understood what it can do for them personally, as well as their audience – which, if you are a typical small business, is your clients and customers

When you consider the challenges of writing and publishing in the days before digital, there are few valid reasons for not practicing this method of communication that also serves to engage your business with new buyers.

In our digital business environment writing is marketing, and what business does not want to be a better marketer?

When I started blogging I had no idea what I was doing – not really. In fact, I cannot even bear to read many of those earlier posts.  However, they served the purpose of getting me here.

That alone is one reason to write. You cannot learn it if you aren’t doing it regularly.

In fact, I’ve recently learned that any activity that pushes the limits of what you thought possible literally serves to strengthen the capabilities of your brain. You can learn more from the book Super Brain.

Teaching Yourself to Write

It’s a known fact that you learn anything better when you teach it. Start by teaching yourself to write for your target audience. Then have the guts to put it out there, while of course striving to get better.

There is too much repurposing of information on the web these days. It’s nothing more than noise. Whereas, your unique perspective will contribute unique value.

If you simply take the time to rewrite common information to better target and personalize it for your audience, you will be on your way to content marketing mastery. Try some of these better practices.

  1. Make it a habit.
  2. Shut off the Internet
  3. Use apps such as OmmWriter to better focus.
  4. Subscribe to blogs such as Copyblogger and Brain Pickings.
  5. Buy the just released book Why We Write – it’s very inspiring.

The One Reason I Write

If you asked for the one reason why I write, there would be a two-part answer.

On a personal level, I write because I can. 

Despite the challenges and investment in time, when it’s really working its a ride like no other. Try it.

On a practical business level, it makes me better at everything I do.

The more you write and rewrite, the easier it gets to produce quality work. On top of that, in this digital age we are all now publishers.

You have the capability to have your original content shared by tens and hundreds of thousands of people across the globe — or just in your local community.

Here’s a true story.

Yesterday my social share counters on my primary site (this blog) all went to zero. Nearly seven years of social sharing vanished in a moment. Fortunately, the problem was fixed today.

However, that got me to thinking. What if it was permanent?

What if all of the social media sharing counters across the web went to zero – and for that matter, all of Facebook likes and other digital social signals did the same?

The bloggers would then own the world, at least those of us that have our years of written work secured on a domain we own and are regularly backing it up.

Why?  Because sharing starts with content.  It’s what drives the web.

Think about that.

Looking for a competitive advantage?

Start writing.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

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