Fits and Starts: What to Do When Your Book Writing Stalls

By: Mary Anna Rodabaugh in Book Writing and Editing

Few things in life are as exciting as something new. It could be a new job, a new addition to the family, a new adventure, a new hobby, a new personal habit you are developing, or even a new wardrobe. We love new things and the excitement and potential new things bring into our lives. It should come as no surprise that the newness of writing a book brings a plethora of thrilling emotions. Those emotions kickstart the book writing process, making you eager to run to your notebook or computer and get the words on the page.

Then, somewhere shortly after the newness fades, that urge to run to your device feels less inviting. In fact, you may even dread it. As you set a writing schedule and commit to getting a certain number of pages written or words banked, this new and exciting venture begins to feel like…work.

That is because writing a book takes a lot of work, blood, sweat, and maybe even some tears. RTC Executive Editor Kelsey Schurer gets it.

Writing a Book is Scary

Without holding back, Kelsey shines a light on the gamut of emotions every author feels when writing a book. As exciting as it can be, the book writing process can also be a bit terrifying.

“The hard truth is that writing a book means being immersed in the project over a long period of time,” Kelsey says.

It takes commitment and motivation and discipline. Then, when you do push past the commitment hurdle, imposter syndrome sets in. Many writers question if their take on their story is even worth reading. They may feel uneasy about “everyone” reading about their innermost thoughts, shadow sides, and dark secrets.

“Despite the fear, most often there’s no valid excuse to delay finishing. The book deserves to be written. And yet, we still try to bargain with ourselves,” Kelsey says.

“It is time for the world to read and learn from your work! ”

Four Tips to Finish Writing a Book

Acknowledgement of authors’ very valid feelings is helpful, but practical tips to get authors to finish writing their book is more beneficial. That is why Kelsey presents four tips to finish writing your book.

  1. Take an artful break to stimulate your creativity in a different arena. This could look like a meditative walk outdoors or a 30-minute coloring book session. An artful break could include painting a picture or baking some cookies. Use this time not to unplug from the book writing process, but to reflect on what has been written and where the book’s story should go next.
  2. Ask for feedback. A surefire way to get unstuck and boost motivation is to seek feedback from someone you trust. This could be a mentor, a dear friend, or a fellow writer. Make sure this person will give you honest and open feedback, not just tell you what you want to hear. Often when given touchpoints to edit, the motivation to write comes back full force.
  3. Seek a professional to help. No, Kelsey is not suggesting you enroll in therapy to finish the book (but hey, it could be helpful if you’re uncovering a lot of buried trauma from your past). Kelsey suggests finding a book writing coach to hold you accountable to deadlines while encouraging you through the process and across the book writing finish line.
  4. Just do it. You may find yourself wanting to polish your 106th draft for the 107th time. There comes a moment in every author’s book writing journey where that particular book has arrived at its destination, and it is time for the next step. Recognize when you’ve hit this point, and relinquish the manuscript from your editing grasp. It is time for the world to read and learn from your work!