Have you ever wanted to write a book? Maybe you’ve thought about it. Maybe you’ve even started writing, but got stumped halfway through.
Recently, I took a poll of writers in our community. What I found is that 85% of writers have had a great idea for a book, have even tried to write it, but haven’t been able to finish it.
Yes, finishing a book is hard. Trust me, I know just how frustrating and overwhelming it can be.
But it’s not impossible.
Here’s the story of how one author finally finished her book.
How You Write a Book
Sue had dreamed for years of writing a book, but despite her years of experience writing as a journalist, she couldn’t seem to finish a book.
She knew if she tried to write her book alone, she would join the ranks of aspiring writers who never make it to the final page.
She needed accountability, deadlines, and support along the way, so she joined the 100 Day Book program.
And it worked.
“Coming up on the holidays, it would have been really easy to just skip a few deadlines and just let go. That program is what kept me in line.”
That didn’t mean the process was easy. But the encouraging community of writers and editors kept her going when she got stuck.
“I did miss two deadlines, I will admit, and there were people both times who emailed me and said, ‘Where’s your story? What’s going on?’ That really kind of cemented that it’s not really my own arbitrary, ‘oh I’d lose a hundred bucks’ deadline. People are expecting [my writing].”
By the final deadline, she held her finished book in her hands.
4 Things You Need to Write a Book
Writing a book is a major undertaking, and it requires a holistic solution. We’ve found that you need four things to finish writing a book (and Sue had all of them through the 100 Day Book program).
Sure, you want to write a book now. But halfway through, when you’re stuck and every word is a painful chore to write, your enthusiasm will wane.
Instead, create incentives and consequences to keep you focused on your goal.
For me, this looked like writing out a check for $1,000 to the presidential candidate I didn’t want to win, to be sent only if I failed to finish my book. This consequence made me more focused than I ever have been on my writing.
For Sue, her incentive was $100 back from the 100 Day Book program if she met all her deadlines and finish her book. If she didn’t finish, that money would go to one of the most hated organizations in the world: the American IRS.
Sometimes, you need a little extra motivation, and for Sue, this worked.
If you’re like me, you need deadlines to finish your projects, whether that’s your homework or something due for your boss or a writing project.
“I want to finish my book sometime soon” isn’t a useful goal. Instead, set a firm deadline for when you'll finish your book. Then, break up the book writing process down into smaller weekly deadlines so you can write your book in manageable pieces.
For Sue, this meant finishing a chapter of her book by Friday of each week. As she completed each chapter, she was able to see her word count build and track her progress toward her final deadline.
When the writing gets tough, even deadlines and $100 might not be enough to keep you going.
That’s why it’s important to find a community to support you as you write. Alone, you might quit. (If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably quit.)
But when you’re surrounded by a community of other writers, their encouragement can keep you going even through the toughest parts of the process.
Personally, I almost didn’t meet my final deadline to finish my book. But my community reminded me that if I didn’t finish, they would hold me to my worst consequence.
4. Expert Guidance
Writing a book is one thing. Getting invaluable feedback on your book from start to finish to keep you on track and inspired is even better.
I know it’s scary to share your writing, especially when you know just how rough that rough draft is.
But the feedback you’ll get when you do will empower you to keep writing, enable you to address hiccups before they become major problems, and even inspire you with new ideas that can make your book even better.
Challenge yourself to share your draft with at least one other writer as you write your book. No, it won’t be easy.
But it will be worth it.
Your Next Step
Ready to write a book? Before you sit down to write, surround yourself with the tools and support you need to be successful.
Starting a book is exciting and fun. But when you reach the middle and have to press through to the end, you'll find that support might just be exactly what you need to keep going.
Your dream of writing a book, like Sue's dream, is absolutely worth pursuing. Find your incentive, create your deadlines, ask for accountability, and follow expert guidance to make it a reality.
And then, sit down and write!
That being said, if you're still not sure you can actually do this alone, or if you just want some extra help along the way, check out 100 Day Book. In this program, we've helped thousands of aspiring writers turned authors to accomplish their dream of writing a book, and we'd love to help you, too. Click to learn more about 100 Day Book here.
Have you ever tried to write a book? What do you find most challenging? Let us know in the comments.
Take fifteen minutes to think through your book idea. What's the story you want to tell? Write a summary of your story from beginning to end (or as much of the story as you know right now).
When you're done, share the highlights with us in the Pro Practice Workshop. And if you share, be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!
If so, I hope you’ll invest in yourself and join us in the 100 Day Book program.
Hurry, though—enrollment for the course closes tomorrow.
If you’re ready to finish your book, you can sign up here:
But whether you join us or not, I hope you’ll use the steps above and commit to finishing your book. It won’t be easy, but it will absolutely be worth it.
I believe in you. Now go write!
What's holding you back from writing your book? Let us know in the comments.
One of the most effective parts of the 100 Day Book program is the lesson on creating a book plan. We’ve found that people who finish a book plan before they start writing their book are 52 percent more likely to finish their books.
The most important part of the book plan is your book’s premise, and while we go into depth on how to write your premise and create a book plan in the full 100 Day Book program, you can get started right now with this free premise lesson here:
Want to Write a Book? Do This First
Get started on your book right. Write your premise, get a solid foundation for your book, and then use the tips above to finish.
And if you’re ready to take the next step with the 100 Day Book program, we would love to go on this journey to a finished book with you.
Have fun and happy writing!
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.