5 keys to getting 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. Getting back in the flow of writing can be a challenge if you have been distracted or too busy to work on it consistently.

Leaving your book unfinished drains your energy. Click To Tweet

You probably already know the cost of leaving your book unfinished: it nags away at you, it drains your energy and it leaves you with a morass of negative feelings that you simply cannot process. Apart from anything else, you have probably told people about it and now you feel you have let yourself down by not producing it. So, now you want to get it done.

If you are stuck or have lost your momentum with getting your first draft finished, you need to deal with these five issues so you can finally get your book off your to-do list and into publication.

1. Time

If your schedule is packed to the hilt you have two choices: give up on your book until things ease off (not as bad an option as you might imagine) or allow yourself to use some of your spare bits of time e.g. between appointments to write (the odd half hour here or 20 minutes there).

Make sure you have a clear contents list so each time you sit down to write you know what you need to focus on. Avoid reading back what you’ve written otherwise you will get distracted and your writing time will get eroded.

Let yourself go when you write; do not judge, prevaricate or let doubt or fear cloud your mind.

First draft
So get it done!

2. Focus

If your mind drifts off onto other things every time to sit down to write, begin each writing session with a mindfulness routine. Clear your head, clear your desk and clear your computer. You only need one document open when you are writing your book and that your book or the chapter you are currently writing.

Close your eyes and take a moment to focus on your book: remind yourself why you are writing it, what it will do for you and your business, and why you are excited about it. When you are feeling calm and ready to write, get started and give all your attention to your book.

Defining a clear period of time for working on your book and setting a timer will also keep you focused. Your sessions can be as short or as long as you want them to be. There are no rules so do what works best for you. If you think you will achieve more in three 20-minute sessions than one hour-long session do it.

3. Motivation

We all get wrung out and exhausted with big projects – and a book is a big project for most of us. I can remember experiencing a dip in energy when working on many books when I was an in-house editor. Often it is just one step in the process that gets us down but it can be enough to make getting our book finished seem like a far-off dream.

The key to motivation is to keep taking action so you keep moving forward. Each time you take action you will have more work finished and less work still to do. To make the action easier, break each task into small chunks – individual chapters, content for key headings within a chapter etc and then list each piece of work. As you complete each a task, tick it off. It will give you a sense of progress and achievement, which will motivate you to continue working.

4. Purpose

When you get stuck, have a prolonged period away from your book or lose your confidence in your book you need to remind yourself why you are doing it. Hopefully you have written a book plan and have a clear purpose for your book, but if not, it is never too late to sit down and write out your key purpose in writing this book.

Along with small steps and consistent action, reminding yourself of your purpose will keep you moving forward so you keep making progress with your book.

5. Discipline

We like to think we can always achieve success because we love what we are doing, but sometimes we need to be disciplined and business-like if we are to overcome the blocks that stop us from achieving our goals within our business.

If we want to get past our natural resistance and achieve our objectives we need to learn discipline. Discipline sounds horrid but it can be liberating. Once you know you can sit yourself down and get a task you dislike finished you no longer have any excuses left. The more often you practise discipline, the more it helps you move from a place of weakness ‘I’ve got to do it’ to a place of empowerment ‘I’m going do it’. Over time, you create new habits that support your ability to take responsibility and get the results you want.

Let's Talk! Would you like to talk about your plans for your book? If so, why not book your complimentary Publishing Strategy Session today? Together, we can get your book published with less hassle than you can possibly imagine.

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Deborah Taylor
Deborah Taylor

Hi, I'm Deborah Taylor and I'm a publishing consultant and book-writing mentor. I work with established business owners who want to share their message by writing a book but are struggling to get started (or finished). I help them write, publish and launch a stand-out, attention-grabbing book that will raise their profile, reach more of their ideal clients and grow their business. I am a trained editor with over 15 years' publishing experience with major blue-chip UK publishing companies such as Hodder & Stoughton, BBC Books, Cassell and Pearson. I have produced books on every subject under the sun and with professinals and experts from a wide range of professions, from chefs and gardeners to life coaches and career consultants. I would love to help you write a book you love and that will raise your profile, attract new clients and bring you exciting new business opportunities.