Struggling To Finish Your Novel? Try These Strategies

By on December 26, 2018

Finishing a novel is no mean feat, and in fact, most people that attempt to write one never get to the end.

If you are struggling to finish your novel don’t let it defeat you - for there is nothing quite as satisfying as getting it done. Try these practical strategies to help you.

Silence your inner critic

The most common reason writers don’t finish is because they end up self-sabotaging their own work. They start off feeling as though they aren’t good enough, and no matter how much they edit their story or try to change parts of it, they just seem to be making it worse. Eventually, giving up on it altogether, feeling defeated, and beating themselves up because they don’t feel they’ve got what it takes.

Silencing the voice that tells you you're not good enough is paramount to your success. How to do this? Find encouragement from outside sources, have a positive mantra that you repeat to yourself every day, take a break from your manuscript and come back to it with a fresh mindset, find solace in the knowledge that pretty much every writer, at some point, feels the same about their work. Become logical and reasonable and don’t expect perfection of yourself. There are many different ways to silence your inner critic, but paying attention and making sure you do, will help give you the momentum you need to get to the end.

Stop procrastinating

Another hugely common reason for a person not to finish their book is because of distraction. People get caught up in all the other things they have to do with their lives. Taking care of their families, their day job, checking social media to see if that picture they posted of their dog in a jumper got lots of likes….whatever it is that keeps you from writing you need to find ways to stop letting it take over. Have dedicated writing time where your family aren’t allowed to disturb you, get into a writing routine where you get up an hour earlier so you can write before you go to work, turn off all your devices before you sit down to write - whatever it takes to eliminate procrastination, do it. Otherwise you’ll never finish your book.

Get clarity

Even if you manage to silence your inner critic and stop procrastinating you still might face another big problem that can kill your story before you get to the end, and that’s simply becoming confused. If you start to get muddled, and write but don’t really know where your story is going, it is easy to run out of ideas and out of steam. Properly prepare for writing a novel before you start. Have your entire story mapped out, do your research, sketch out chapter outlines, get to know your characters. The more planning you do, the less likely that confusion will be a problem and the more determination you’ll have to finish your book.

Be brave

The final reason that a writer might stop writing is fear. This is different to the inner critic because it is not necessarily about thinking your work isn’t good enough, it’s just fear of the unknown, of making yourself appear vulnerable, of sharing your thoughts and feelings with the world. Writing isn’t for cowards but remembering what motivates you to write and that having the courage of your convictions will pay off in the end.

Finishing your book is a considerable challenge, but the reward for doing so is immense. So if you are struggling to end your novel use the strategies above to help push you over the finish line.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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