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 book and finish it? How can we continue writing our book after we have seen the editorial changes we want to make? Starting to edit before we are finished writing is very destructive – it completely halts the creative process.
Below, I have 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.
10 Top Tips to Rescue Your Unfinished Book
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
You can read more about each tip in the next few days.
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