3 Tips to Writing (and Finishing) a Book

By: David Lins in Book Writing and Editing
on June 1st, 2021

I just published my debut novel, Skull Valley. And let me tell you, the sense of accomplishment I feel is greater than graduating from college. I can hold my book. It has my name on it. If I die tomorrow, my toddler will probably grow up and keep it on her bookshelf. It can never be taken away from me.

This is why I feel so heartbroken when I read that only 3 percent of people who begin writing a book actually finish their project. They will never know how I feel and that itch will always remain unsatisfied.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There are three tips I’d like to share from my journey that will apply to aspiring fiction and non-fiction authors who just want to write (and finish) that first book.

When Writing a Book, Begin with the End

Have you ever boarded a plane without knowing where it was going to land? (If you have, please send me an email as I need to hear that story!) It only makes sense to have a clear and intentional destination before you set off on any journey. This doesn’t mean there might be some necessary adjustments or unexpected adventures along the way, but you start off knowing where you intend to go.

As I’ve heard many authors say in one way or another, figure out how and why you want to engage with the world. What conversation do you want to have with them? What food for thought would you like to pass along?

It is absolutely okay if you don’t know how to get there. Adventures always benefit from a guide. The first time I traveled to Ireland, I went with a buddy who’d been there before. Because of his advice, I avoided some serious rookie mistakes. A book coach might be the ticket to help you write your book while helping you avoid common pitfalls along the way.

Ready to start writing your book?

When Writing the First Sentence, Begin with the End Again

I’ve talked to so many aspiring authors who don’t know how to write that first perfect line. It’s akin to seeing an attractive person across the room and wanting so desperately to walk over and say something, but that first line is crucial. If it crashes, game (quite literally) over. So you rehearse it over and over. You make little tweaks. You come up with something else that might work. And then? The person walks out of the room. Welcome to the 97% who never finish the book.

Write the last line of your book first. Mirror that moment, but unsuccessfully. There is your first line.

Let’s say you want to write a book about a shy barista who saves the world from a horde of zombie bats. (You can have this one. I’m not the author for it.) At the end, the barista is back at work and incredibly confident because she secretly saved the world. She is so confident that she turns a cute customer down because she knows he isn’t good enough for her. Now, the beginning practically writes itself. She is fumbling behind the counter, unable to compose herself because she sees her “dream guy” waiting in line.

“His twinkling blue eyes were less than ten feet away again, taking in the menu instead of me. Again.”

This works just as well for non-fiction. Remember the conversation you want to have with the world? Let’s say you decide to finish it with your family reunited after you finally decided to put them first. One of the ways you do this is weekly Friday night family movie night. You might end with something like this: “As much as I’ve enjoyed sharing my story with you, I need to wrap it up. After all, it’s movie night.” The first image should obviously mirror it.

“My daughter was in her room with earbuds in, my son was out with his buddies, and my wife was living vicariously through another RomCom on Netflix, while I was barricaded in my office doing something vital for work. Like every Friday night.”

Get Professional Help (When Writing a Book)

The most successful business leaders aren’t always the smartest people in the room. They find the smartest people who excel in every area where they are weak. Writing is no different.

Skull Valley needed editing, formatting, and a great cover. I’m not afraid to admit it. And I hired amazing professionals on each of these elements and the book is better for it.

Maybe you need someone to do all the heavy lifting for you. Or maybe you just need a few editing passes. Or maybe the prospect of publishing seems overwhelming and you need a professional to knock out just a portion of the process. This is why Round Table Companies exists. To get in the trenches with you and help with whatever you need. We’d be honored to help you write (and finish) your book.