It’s exciting, isn’t it?
Writing your first book and then sending the final version to your editor and later it being available (and SELLING!) on Amazon.
The months (or even years) of hard work are over and now you can watch with pride as your book goes out into the world.
But, what if you’re not there yet? What if you’re still struggling to finish your first book?
In this post, I’m going to be honest with you.
I’m going to tell you about four of the most common myths new writers face when struggling to finish their first book.
These are the myths about writing that hoodwinked me before I published my first book.
Myth 1: I Will Finish My Book if I Just Work Harder
If you’re a new writer, telling yourself to ‘work harder’ or ‘don’t be lazy’ is TERRIBLE advice.
Telling yourself to work harder might get your ass in the chair on day one, but when you miss a day, you’ll feel bad. And if you miss two days, you’ll feel even worse.
Then, your book becomes this BIG THING you’ve got to do.
Like any hard and difficult task, you’ll procrastinate about it, put it off, and even forget about it.
Yes, writing is tough when you’re starting out, but don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
Once I realised telling myself to “work harder” wasn’t helping me write and would never help me write, I found a solution that helped me get better results.
More on that soon.
Myth 2: I Should Write Different Things at Once
A short story.
A blog post.
The great American novel.
There are so many tantalising and exciting new ideas to explore.
Often new writers work on different writing projects at once, and they struggle to organise their ideas.
That’s fine if you’re Stephen King, Neil Gaiman or a pro author who has been at this for over 10 years, but if you’re starting out, it’s a mistake.
I’ve observed the science, and when you switch from one project to the next, it takes between 20% and 40% of your creative energy to associate yourself with your new creative project.
It gets worse :(
Because you’re getting distracted and working on multiple projects, you’ll delay finishing your book.
You’ll postpone the feeling of accomplishment that comes when you publish your first book.
This feeling is an essential reward if you’re finding it difficult to create a writing routine that lasts.
Myth 3: I Should Write My Book When I’m Inspired
Let’s be logical about this.
A novice athlete who wants to run 26.2 miles for the first time can’t turn up on the day of a marathon and expect to finish the race.
She has to train when she doesn’t want to, practice when she’s tired, and squeeze her sessions into her otherwise busy week.
She has to practice like a professional.
When you turn up in front of a blank page, it takes precious creative time to warm up and figure out what you’re trying to say. And if you haven’t practiced writing in days or weeks, it’ll take even longer.
Look, inspiration is nice.
There’s nothing better than sitting down in front of the blank page with a hot idea and an urge to write your book.
But, if you wait around all day to come up with an idea and for inspiration to strike, what will you do if it nothing comes?
Will you wait till tomorrow, next week, or next month for inspiration to tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, it’s time to write’?
Because that’s a sure-fire way to never finish your book.
Believe me, I’ve been there.
Myth 4: I Should Write My Book at the Weekends
I don’t want to upset you but….
….deciding it’s okay to write a chapter in your book only on the weekends is a sure-fire way to finish nothing at all.
Sure, there’ll be the inevitable Saturday morning when you write for two or even three hours, produce 1000 great words and say, “That was a morning well spent.”
But, what happens if you don’t find time to write on a Saturday or Sunday and you miss a weekend?
Or what happens if the weekend’s writing session is a flop?
It’ll be an entire week before you put your butt in chair, hands on the keyboard and turn up in front of the blank page. And if you miss a weekend?
You’re putting 7, 14, or even 21 days in between writing sessions.
You’ll never get into the rhythm and momentum of writing your book.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait that long to finish what I started, which is why I changed how and when I write.
The Power of Small Daily Wins
Most people believe they must write for hours at a time to become a successful writer.
Instead, after carefully observing how authors succeed, I’ve discovered harnessing the power of small daily wins is more important if you want to finish your book.
When you harness the power of small daily wins, you’ll stop procrastinating about writing answer the more important questions new writers face.
You know the ones:
What’s the best way to avoid going off on a tangent when I’m writing?
How can I organise my ideas?
How do I figure out when to stop perfecting my work and start publishing it?
I’ve used the power of small daily wins to find the time to write three books in two years.
When you tap into the power of small daily wins, you’ll feel like a million dollars.
This method helped me, and (if you stick with it) I assure you it’s the quickest way to write your first book.
This post originally appeared on Become a Writer Today