I came upon an interesting statistic the other day that really gave me pause: almost 240 million Americans (81%) believe they have at least one book buried inside them waiting to come out. Roughly 40 million of those people (less than 20%) actually start writing that book. And how many are going to keep writing until they get to the words “The End?”
Slightly less than two per cent!
I found the statistics on abouttheauthornetwork.com (and full disclosure: my book writing profile is listed on that site). While these numbers related to a primarily American audience, I imagine they are also applicable to other English-speaking countries as well. I did a little more digging and turned up the statistic that about one in every 1,000-to-2,000 book manuscripts ever goes on to get published, but that’s another story for another day.
I know from experience how difficult it can be to finish writing a book. My first novel, Shades of Teale, took me 13 years to complete. Now that my third book, The Write Way, has hit the shelves, I also know that it’s possible to speed the process substantially. If you’re feeling stalled on the road to publication of your own wonderful book, you might want to take a look at these suggestions for getting the job done:
- Boost your motivation. How badly do you want to finish your book? Trust me, the desire to complete your book manuscript has to become the driving force of your life. It has to become the most important project on your list and you need to pursue it with every fibre of your being, as though a posse of saltwater crocodiles are snapping at your heels and will have you for breakfast if you don’t finish and soon. Knowing why you want to complete the book is key here. Is it going to save lives, transform the world, or boost your business to a whole new level? Then why are you waiting?
- Set up a writing schedule. This doesn’t work for everybody but if you develop a great outline and set yourself some deadlines, and give yourself the gift of working on it consistently at the same time every week (or, better yet, every day!) then you will get it done. Alternatively, some people take their holiday time and lock themselves away at a nice secluded and hopefully somewhat boring location where they have nothing to do but write. No laundry to do, neighbours to chat with, bills to pay or grass to cut. Just you and your keyboard. I’ve done this myself, and it’s heavenly.
- Find an accountability partner. A lot of people I know set up an accountability partnership with a friend or colleague who is likewise afflicted with the desire to write a book. They meet on a regular basis for a set period of time and they produce chapters, or chunks of chapters, for each other’s review every time they meet. Having someone who expects results, and who is firmly supportive of your desire to complete your book, is a great help.
- Get professional help. Well, yes, writing a book can certainly strain one’s emotional resources, but I’m actually talking about hiring a book coach, like me, to help organize, prod, guide and inspire you in any way necessary to get that book complete. This can become a rather costly line item in your balance sheet but at least you can deduct it from your taxes if there is a business purpose to the expense.
I have one more suggestion on this topic but you’re going to have to wait until next week – we writers like to add a little suspense to our creations!