How Did You Finish That Book?
*** A note on this post. This was originally published on a former website on 16, October 2019. I am leaving that hosting for this one and migrating my former posts over here. Some information may not be accurate, but I am leaving the posts as they were.
I was asked recently by someone I know just how did I manage to finish my book. Was there a resource? A plan? Some sort of map for other people to follow? And I have to confess, I laughed for a good long while. Because when I started this writing journey I was looking everywhere for the exact same thing.
So I was laughing at how very fucking normal a search that is because I tend to think I am pretty abnormal. Whether or not I am is not relevant, that is how I feel. So this post is my answer to that question. I don’t know how satisfactory the answer will be, because I don’t have a real map. What I do have is a ton of determination and a love of learning.
IN THE BEGINNING...
When I started writing my book I was somewhere in the middle of getting a master's. I finished my master's degree in three semesters, so it was somewhere in that spring semester that I decided I WAS GOING TO WRITE THAT BOOK. In retrospect, it was not the best time to start but it was the time that I was ready. Which I suppose does make it the best time in a manner of speaking.
I started out trying to write with no outline and very little idea of where things were going. That worked like a trash fire for me. I got a little way in and I was stuck. No fucking clue how to move forward or where to go if I did manage some forward motion.
Eventually, it occurred to me that I needed to learn a bit more about this. And I started casting about for where exactly are the places to learn these things. I went to the library first, and the book store. I also went to my kindle and to Amazon. I started reading about writing. So many great books on writing.
And then I discovered that there is a whole section of youtube devoted to authors and yet another that is all about books. I started watching some of those.
Eventually, I noticed podcasters. There are some really great podcasters that I am loving as much as the YouTubers I follow.
(I will share my favorites at the bottom, because they are awesome and have really helped me.)
The big things I learned that work for me:
1. I need an outline. It doesn’t have to be super detailed but I need some sort of framework or I am off the rails and get stuck in fuck off land. (If you are interested in knowing more about how I do an outline, let me know in the comments)
2. I have to do some planning to schedule my life. My life needs that so that I have my set times to put my butt in the chair and write. I need that schedule because I live with people. What I do doesn’t look like work to them and I tend to not want anyone to feel like I don’t care. It is a whole thing.
3. Remembering that I can go back and edit that shit. What I write initially doesn’t have to be perfect. It won’t be perfect. It just needs to be done. And if I edit my way through the writing will NEVER get done. I make it a practice to not edit anything until I finish the book. Then it is a free-for-all with the edits fairy.
4. I have to have a deadline. I need that deadline to help motivate me. So at a certain point in that first book, I was like, ok, you need to set up a preorder so you have a deadline. And that was exactly what I did. My book went live on Sept. 30. My deadline was the 26th I believe. I uploaded that manuscript a few days before the deadline. I just scheduled the preorder for my next book, (available to preorder now, goes live February 1) and I feel so much more motivated to get that baby done. Deadlines work for me. It gives me a finite amount of time and it aids in the scheduling. (See #2)
That is the big 4 on how I am getting this done. These rules help me to keep focused on my goals. Without the rules I set for me I flail about doing one thing and another. I still accomplish a lot of things but what I accomplish is not necessarily moving me towards my goals.
RIGHT NOW MY GOALS ARE:
To write and publish 20 books (at least)
To earn a following with my writing
To be financially supported by my writing
They are short, sweet, and each one leads to the next. But without my guiding schedule, those goals are fucked.
ORGANIZING MY LIFE
The one person who has helped me the most in getting my self together and organizing my goals and my life?
Sarra Cannon and her Heart Breathings blog/youtube channel. Her HB90 course is pure magic. There will be a link to her blog and channel below. Seriously, the way she talks about it is awesome. No guilt, no super strict schedule. Most importantly, she insists that you absolutely need days off. Wildly uncomfortable with that, but she is not wrong. More importantly, scheduling in those days off actually helps me with being much more productive when I am working.
CURRENT AND FORMER STUDIES
(because all professions need to keep learning and growing. Forever.)
Jenna Moreci (youtube channel)
On Writing by Stephen King (Have read this like 3 times now.)
The Creative Penn podcasts and books (Her website which has everything, she is fabulous.)
Author like a Boss with Ella Barnard (The interviews are priceless. I get so much from them.)
I could probably go more in-depth here and if you are interested in that, let me know in the comments. I want to hear from you. Now I leave you with two things, my book Selena Rose, Daughter of the Moon is available on Amazon right now. The second book in the trilogy, Thorns of the Rose, is available for pre-order right now. It will go live on February 1.
*On comments- there is a "Wall" below, that is where you comment.