There are an unlimited number of opportunities in book writing to give up and walk away. Just for the fun of it, let’s list them out:
- Before you even begin (most people never even start!)
- When trying to find a title for the book
- In choosing what cover to have and how to get it designed
- Working out the outline and structure (which is often the hardest part)
- Mid-sentence or paragraph because you got tangled in your own words
- Part-way through because it feels like it will take forever
- Halfway through because… well, will it ever end?
- Writing the blurb or ‘About the Author’ sections
- Near the end thinking, “Who cares, anyway?”
- Not knowing how to publish the manuscript once you’ve finished
… And I’m sure you could add more!
Even if your book is or was quick to write, the publishing process may still test your patience as it can sometimes take longer than you would love to perfect and polish your title before publishing. As well as equipping yourself with the many practical solutions to each of the problems you might face along the way (many of which I have addressed in this book), it will serve you to develop persistence: the essential key to overcoming all of them.
Having persistence to push through and finish your book is sometimes as simple as saying to yourself, “GO! YOU CAN DO IT!” – which I have done many times (and as silly as it sounds, a good round of cheer-leading does work from time to time!). And, at other times, the good old motivation technique just doesn’t work for generating persistence.
So, in the case that you need a little something extra to help you along the way, here are a handful of ways to stir up the much-needed persistence for the next leg of the journey:
- Reflect On Your Vision – Go Within
In Chapter 3, we talked clarified your vision as an author. Now (the moment you’re struggling) is the time to remind yourself of your vision. Remind yourself of your end outcome. See the book in your hands. Think about how the book will benefit you professionally and personally. Heartfelt, powerful visions have energy within them that you can access anytime you need to.
- Have Your Book Cover Designed
I am now in the practice of getting the cover for each book designed early on – even in the first weeks of writing my book. Once my cover is designed, I have certainty that the book will get finished. I print the full spread cover (front, back and spine) out and stick it to my wall where I can see it. This is another part of how I inspire myself along the way.
- Share Your Journey With People
You may be someone who thrives off social interaction. If you are (like me), then I suggest sharing parts of your writing journey online through social media or through conversations with people. Tell them where you are up to. Post your book cover online. Share when you are writing. Go on a writing retreat and immerse yourself in a journey alongside other people. I love social interaction and know that it assists me to stay focused on who I’m writing it for – and it stirs the sensation of wanting to finish the book ASAP so people can read it.
- Think About The Readers
This follows on from social interaction. Focus on your readers; feel their presence while you’re writing. Imagine them holding your book in their hands. Understand that you are providing them a service by doing what you are. You will help them to solve problems, learn and grow. Let it inspire you.
During the writing of this book, someone asked me whether lacking momentum is just a sign that the book isn’t the right one – or whether it’s our human nature that wants to avoid the challenge.
My simple answer to this? Ask your intuition.
You only have to stop and be present with yourself for a moment to know whether the book you’re currently working on is the one that you want to finish.
I have worked on a handful of book ideas that never saw the light of day. In each case, I had to be willing to admit to myself that this book wasn’t the one – and let go. Every single time you let go of an idea, two things will happen: 1) a better, more congruent idea will appear, or 2) the same idea will keep coming back to let you know it was the one to carry through to the finish.
So, simply ask yourself – and then trust your answer.
Put aside any fears that there isn’t a great book idea for you: there is. I can guarantee you this. And they often come out of nowhere at an unannounced, unexpected moment. I’ve had many clients tell me that the book ‘demanded’ to be written – and the persistence that follows is unparalleled. You can have that too. You can become a writing machine.
If you are sitting at your computer feeling stuck and yet you know this book is ‘the one’, then may I encourage you to simply push yourself mentally. Quickly identify your problem and work through it so you can move on. Don’t allow yourself to be too easily distracted or for very long: because I know that you ultimately do want to get this done.
You want this goal. I view having mental persistence like lifting weights at the gym. The final reps in any set are the toughest ones. They hurt the most. You think, “There’s no way I’ll lift this”, and then you summon your strength and you lift it. You know that if you walk away you won’t get the result.
Book writing is exactly the same. Harness that same determination – a God-like strength – and push through it. What’s on the other side of that obstacle is magic, a moment where it suddenly makes sense and the content ‘clicks’ together. It’s incredibly satisfying. I don’t even need to tell you how satisfying having the book in your actual hands is – because I’m sure you have already thought about it a million times.
When you are stuck for ideas on content, work on other parts of the book. Tweak your introduction. Write your acknowledgements. Review your already-written chapters. And above all, remember that EVERY little bit of work you do counts:
Your patience and persistence will undoubtedly be your greatest assets on the journey to achievement.