It's the new year, which means this is the year you finish your manuscript. Writing a book is daunting and sometimes even when you've put in a massive amount of work, it can feel like you still have so far to go. Writing it so easy to put off, even if its something you love. It's one of those things that's easy to push out of the way to make space for other things in your life, which can make finishing your book feeling impossible.
But, not this year... Here are some things you can do to help. Go back to your original plan (If you have one) If when you started out, you had notes or a plan written down, go back to it. This may help you if you've lost your way and need to find yourself back on track. Your original idea may also bring back some of the inspiration you had when you had when you first started. Just because you have started your book, doesn't mean you can't pop back to the drawing board every now and then. This can help you to set your ideas straight and help you to find another jumping off point. Schedule Now this one may seem obvious but how many times have you told yourself this and not actually done it? I am very guilty of this. I always say to myself, an hour or even half an hour a day would make such a difference but it never actually happens. If it feels like you never have time, then take a look at your days and see where you can fit it in. Wake up a little earlier on a weekend, take half an hour before you sit down on an evening to watch TV. It doesn't have to be everyday, or even every other, even an hour a week will help you. You can still write at other times too, but have a designated set in stone writing time. If you're struggling to find the time, then check out one my recent blog posts where I go through the ways you can make time to write: How to find time to write Research the next steps Sometimes it's not just about time. For a long time I was procrastinating writing because I didn't really know what would happen after I finished. A good way around this is by looking into it and working out your next steps. Start researching the publishing route you want to go down (if you want to publish) and considering the editing stages your manuscript will need to go through. If you're not sure, the best thing you can do is ask. As a fiction copyeditor, I receive a lot of messages from people just asking me what their next step is. I am happy to receive these messages (even if I don't work with them on their book) and I am sure other copyeditors will be more than happy to help too. A second pair of eyes I know I probably sound like a broken record, but it's so important. A second pair of eyes on your book (even if you're not fully finished) will help you immensely. A second pair of eyes can help you to highlight any gaps in your writing, any inconsistencies and may be able to help you tie up any loose ends in your writing. A second pair of eyes doesn't have to be someone you hire, you can ask someone you know and trust to help you. It can be daunting sharing your work with someone close to you but it's the best way to help you move forward with your manuscript and move onto the next stages. Consider hiring an editor You can hire an editor at any stage of writing. If you're at a point where you're nowhere near finishing but need a helping hand, then a structural editor can be just the thing to help you. A structural editor can help you with the bigger aspects of your book, so if you're struggling with structure, character, the overall picture of a book, a structural editor can help you organise and get you back on track with finishing your manuscript. If you're fully finished (and have completed a self edit), then it's time for a copyeditor (what is the role of a copyeditor). It's so important that you feel like you are completely finished with your manuscript otherwise it can make the copyediting process more time consuming and make some of the edits redundant. If you're not sure, check out What to do BEFORE hiring a copyeditor. And finally... Proofreading should only be completed when your book is fully edited, typeset and finished. In traditional publishing this is completed when the book is finished and ready to be sent off the the printers. Proofreaders are checking for any final errors, this could be a spelling mistake or a design flaw. Not sure what kind of editor you need? Network Social media is a great tool for writers, a great place for them to network and communicate. Connecting with other authors online is a great way to give you the motivation to finish your book, especially when you're seeing what great work other authors are publishing. This is also a great way to find people who can help you with your book when you're finished, for example sending them free copies to review your book to help with promo. Social media is such an effective tool whatever stage of writing you are in. So, get started with finishing your book. This is the year your finally going to finish that book!