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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3 Reasons to Start Writing

Writing is an activity that helps you discover new ideas, recall those you have since dismissed, and share all of them with your audience.

In many ways, writing is like a meditation – it’s a focusing technique that clears the way to bring forward the best that you have to offer.

If you happen to be a business writer, the writing process serves to create viable solutions to problems for the communities you serve.

Writing Helps You Remember

How can you expect to find something that you are not actively looking for?

In many ways, writing is a commitment to a goal – with an understanding the solutions will indeed come. It’s a matter of intention that is sometimes coupled with fear and desire. Use whatever works for you, because anything that brings your full attention and awareness to the task at hand is what is needed.

You have to bring your full capabilities to the problem at hand – your assignment, task, or endeavor. It’s a process of putting your being into motion – with attention, awareness, and focus.

When you exercise, you become more aware of your health. When you write you become more aware of ideas. It’s all about awareness.

When you write you are open to ideas, practically willing them to manifest – and they do.

Ideas are like money – if you look for them they will arrive. You have an amazing power to create, but you have to make the effort and commit to the practice of writing to achieve desired results.

Writing Helps You Discover

Stephen King said this: “Writing is like walking through a desert and all at once, poking through the hardpan, I see the top of a chimney. And I know there is a house under there, one that I’m pretty sure I can dig up.”

You have to start writing to uncover what you have yet to discover.

Here’s a true story. I wrote this article twice – with the first draft being lost, thanks to a faulty Internet connection.

My natural reaction was to be fearful – but I’ve learned from previous experiences not to do that.

Those ideas are still there – you only have to go back and unearth them again.

Know that and it will set you free – and your ideas will come along for the ride.

Writing is a Vehicle for Sharing

However you capture your ideas, you want to digitize them so that they can be shared.

Your memory bank is loaded with so much valuable information, but it is valueless if it doesn’t reach your target audience. Capture and share them.

As my colleague Sam Horn likes to say: “If you think it – ink it.”

The web revolves around one primary objective – and that is search. When you capture your ideas you will want to tag them with keywords – the ones that resonate with your ideal customers – and therefore, the customers you have yet to serve.

You need to capture your ideas on a medium from which they can be shared – a website, your blog, an eBook, or in part, the social networks.

When you digitize your ideas, you create a legacy that you can draw on for years to come. It becomes a source of content that resonates with your customers – and attracts new ones.

There are countless reasons to start writing, with one of them being self-expression.

If you are businessperson, why not use your writing to share that wisdom to serve your customers – helping them while moving your business forward?

If you are looking for an excellent book that will help you with this, check out On Writing by Stephen King. It’s an honest, insightful, and entertaining perspective from a master of the craft.

The cover has been changed, but I still like the one depicted above from when I read it cover to cover on an international flight over ten years ago.

My promise is it will inspire you.

Leave a comment below or share this with your community with any of the share buttons below – or with those on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Until tomorrow,  Jeff