Get your first draft finished

Do you need to get your first draft finished? If you are struggling to maintain your momentum and get your words on the page you are probably feeling frustrated and stuck.

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Someone else has written your book

The fear that someone else has written your book is one that holds back many aspiring authors from writing their book. The only way to discover the answer to this question is to go and do some research (see my blog posts on online and bookshop research). Once you know the answer to this question, you can move forward. In the meantime, let’s look at some of the main triggers for that fear that someone else has written your book.

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Criticism or Feedback – Which is it and do you want to hear it?

The benefit of hiring a coach, mentor or editor to help you with your book is that they are experienced and (hopefully) expert at giving feedback. This means that any personal elements are avoided and you can receive their comments and ideas knowing they are given in a professional and detached manner.

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Add content to your under-length book

Usually, we worry about writing too much but there are times when we write too little. This often happens when you begin writing without a plan or with a plan that lacks detail. You begin by thinking you have a lot to say, then find that you are repeating yourself. As a result, you start cutting to get rid of the repetition but then you end up with a very short book - too short!

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What to do when you have too much content

It is very easy to write a book that has too much content. This happens because the title is too general, the topic is too broad and the book that lacks any clear argument, angle or focus. What happens is that you literally write everything you know about a topic. As a result, the book you create is often boring to read and very difficult to finish because you keep thinking of something else to add. All is not lost, though, because cutting back the ‘everything’ book is surprisingly easy. All you have to do is make one key decision.

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Finish writing your first draft before you start doing revisions

It is far too easy to get stuck when you are writing. One glitch or change of mind can make you feel as if the whole project is flawed. However, that is rarely the case. Doubts and fears can bring on the kind of negative thinking that has you believe you need to abandon the whole book because one small part of it is not working.

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Create a writing schedule

Rescue Your Unfinished Book Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again: Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits within your business Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points Top Tip 7: Create a writing schedule Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content Below are details of the seventh tip on what you can do to get your book back on track. If you have worked out where your book is going wrong, you may have some more writing to do. If you got stuck early on in the development of your book it’s possible you have a lot of writing to do. Lots or little, it doesn’t matter. What you need to do is work out how long it is going to take you to do it so you can create a writing schedule for yourself. Once you have a schedule worked out, your writing time will feel more manageable and definitely more defined and achievable. It will also make you feel more organised and give you a definite goal to aim for – as opposed to a rough idea that you...

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Check your book structure and key points

Rescue Your Unfinished Book Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again: Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits within your business Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points Top Tip 7: Create a new writing schedule so you can begin writing regularly again Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content Below are the details of the sixth tip on what you can do to get your book back on track. If you are struggling with your book, it’s possible you need to check your structure and make sure you are clear on your key points. Once you have a clear idea of your book structure you will find it far quicker and much easier to write your book. Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points If you jumped into writing a book without a proper plan, you may come up against doubts and uncertainties about your key points. When you dive into the task of writing a book without a proper plan two things can happen: You may find that as you let rip with your creativity a really great idea...

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How does your book fit within your business

Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again: Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits within your business Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points Top Tip 7: Create a new writing schedule so you can begin writing regularly again Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content Below are the details of the fifth tip on what you can do to get back on track with your book. If you are struggling with your book, it’s possible you need to look at your motivation for writing it in the first place, which means working out where a book fits within your business and getting clear on what it can do for you. Once you have a clear idea of how your book could work for your business you will find it easier to create an overall vision for your book. Top Tip 5: Work out how your book fits within your business If you don’t know where your book fits in your business, it’s easy to think it is a peripheral extra bit of work rather than a product that has the power to...

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Check your book topic is right

Rescue Your Unfinished Book Top Tip 4: Check your book topic is right Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again: Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits in your business Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points Top Tip 7: Create a new writing schedule so you can begin writing regularly again Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content Below are the details of the fourth tip on what you can do to get back on track with your book. If you are struggling with your book, it’s possible you need to look at what you are writing about to check your book topic is right. When I say 'right' I mean right for you as the author (it is a subject you are qualified to write about and that you want to write about) and right for your business (for example, that the topic is not a red herring or an inappropriate topic given the current focus of your business). There is more to your book topic than a subject to write about, though. You need to be saying something as well –...

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Get Your Book Structure Right

Rescue Your Unfinished Book Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again: Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits in your business Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points Top Tip 7: Create a new writing schedule so you can begin writing regularly again Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content Below are the details of the third tip on what you can do to get back on track with your book. If you are struggling with your book, it’s possible you need to look at your book structure. When you get your book structure right, it is much easier to get your point across. If the information you are giving is in the wrong order or is in chapter sections that don’t work, finishing writing your book is going to be a challenge. The third tip in getting your unfinished book done is to get your book structure right because when you do this, you can find that your writing flows again. Top Tip 3: Check your structure works by looking at the contents list Structure can have a huge impact on how effectively...

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Create a Book Project Plan

Rescue Your Unfinished Book Top Tip 2: Create a Book Project Plan Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again: Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits in your business Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points Top Tip 7: Create a new writing schedule so you can begin writing regularly again Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content Below are the details of the second tip on what you can do to get back on track with your book.  Top Tip 2: Create a Book Project Plan If you don’t have a book plan and a vision for your book, create one. You can use this to help you decide how to edit your content so you can move forward with your book. If you started your book with a plan, you would be miles ahead of most aspiring writers. Most authors only have a rough plan or idea of what they want to achieve with their book, but few have the kind of detailed book project plan that can pick you up when you lose your way. A plan can keep you on track because it...

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Get Feedback on Your Book

When you are stuck with your book, getting feedback is essential. Only another person can help you because only another person can see your book with fresh eyes. When you get feedback you access the powerful perspective of your prospective reader.

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10 Top Tips to Rescue Your Unfinished Book

Anyone who has ever tried to write a book has one. Even prolific writers have them – they are unfinished books, abandoned brain-children that stare silently at us from our shelves and computer screens. Half-done, our unfinished books linger in our minds, prodding us with reminders of our inability to finish what we started. Some of our unfinished books have fulfilled their purpose. They have been precursors to something better. Letting them go is all part of the process. But some are crying for our attention. Pulling on our consciousness, these are the books that ask us to complete them, and in doing so, complete something in ourselves. But, every time we get that unfinished book up on screen of off our bookshelf, we quickly lose heart again. We step from the open, sunny clearing of intention to the forest of confusion within minutes and, faltering, we put away our work once more, our hopes dashed. And so we are held in an uncomfortable limbo, unable to finish but unable to let go. We never make any progress because what happens every time we think of our unfinished book is that our mind turns away and shuts the door on the disappointment, confusion and grief over our unfulfilled dreams and hopes. So, how do we go about rescuing our unfinished book? How do we begin to release our potential onto the page, make sense of the apparent mess of ideas and draw our book back to life? It’s a question and an activity that many writers grapple with incessantly. How do I rescue my unfinished book? Because it takes more than effort to take your book from unfinished to published; it takes courage, persistence and knowledge to understand how to approach and succeed with this challenging task. What can we do to reconnect with our...

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