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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Why Slow And Steady Wins The Book Writing Race

I love that feeling I have when I'm about to write a new book. There are so many ideas racing around my head I cannot wait to get them all down on paper. And until I start jotting down my thoughts, I can't think of anything else.

So many novice writers feel like that too. Although a daunting task that requires a 100% commitment, often on a daily basis, writing a book is one of lifetime's greatest achievements. And that is why so many people will start out on this epic journey with so much positivity and enthusiasm.

But like so many other things in life that enthusiasm will fade. There will be many long days and nights where this task will seem insurmountable. Many, if not all writers will question their sanity, and think themselves crazy for putting in so many hours where no positive outcomes are guaranteed.

But that's the joy of writing ;)

So, how do you keep the level of enthusiasm to ensure you actually finish your book?

That's a simple question to answer really as long as you've written at least one book.


Let me explain.

To maintain that level of enthusiasm you need to finish your book you need to make sure you have a life outside of writing. It's a bit like saying that although it's wonderful to have all the time in the world to write a book, in practise it doesn't quite work like this. At least for me it doesn't.

To complete tasks I have to feel a level of urgency. I have to have this mind-set of: I need to write now because I'm going to be out later. I need to work now because I'll be having fun later. Although writing is fun for me, don't get me wrong. But I need something else to focus on as well as my writing. It's all about getting the balance right.

Now, remember how I said that this is a simple question to answer as long as you've written at least one book? Let me explain what I mean by that too. It's taken me two books to realise I need to have a life outside of writing.

I spent ALL my time writing the last two books. And nothing kills your enthusiasm like that does. My writing became very boring for me very quickly. And that's not good.

But please remember this as well. Once you have succeeded in writing your first draft remember it's only your first draft. There will be plenty of errors and mistakes that you'll need to correct before you can even think about sending it off for a professional copyedit. Many writers are far too critical of their work before they realise they've still got time to improve it.

It's said that in order to become a good writer you need to write for 10,000 hours, or approximately three years. That's a long time and that time will provide a decent opportunity for doubts about your writing to creep into your mind. But don't let them put you off. If you truly want to be a writer then you will find some way to write.

I've been writing seriously for around three and half a years now and I'm still at it. So long as you write regularly you will find ideas come to you naturally. I've got an idea for my fourth book even though I'm still writing my third. I am proud that I've got part way through this epic journey and I have never once looked back. I encourage others to do the same.


  1. Thank you LK for the positive, encouraging words on writing -- worth remembering.

  2. Hi Pat, I'm glad you enjoyed the read and found it inspiring. Keep writing!

  3. LK...

    Nice job summing up the process. You have 3 1/2 in 4 years. Well done. I'm launching my first in August, and I've been writing with some purpose since 2005. A long time for sure. But as you say, if you can keep your enthusiasm, it will happen.

    Best of luck


  4. Seven years ago I began my writer's real journey. Even though I've been penning lines since age 15, I had a goal of someday writing a real book that I and others could hold in our hands. Not because it had my marquee on it, rather it would maybe win entertainment piece of the year. That's why I do what I do in crafting all of the short stories to date. I want to cause a few smiles to go right side up.

    I gave myself a goal of ten sold magazine articles, and in those last seven years, along with hundreds of stories compiled, written, shared, and rewritten, I did it. Now I could concentrate on this new arena. I felt like this new lion tamer who has come out into the grandstand area, and I'm ready to take on these monsters; to whip 'em into shape. I had to first corral them into their own cage together, put them into some sort logical order, and still crack the whip over them, through much editing; make them all perform like a real BOOK.

    So my books are beginning to quickly surface, since all the hard work, writing and rewriting over the past seven years is done - except the edits and more rewrites. "The best writing is rewriting." E. B. White

    Books so far>

    P.S. My first radio show was last night at midnight amidst chirping crickets and bats flying over head. Did I enjoy listening to myself talk? Not really, but I hope someone(s) did! Cheers, Don

  5. Hi D.B.

    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Writing can sometimes take months or even years, but as long as you achieve what you want to achieve then it's all positive. The main thing to remember is just keep on writing. It's bit like eating an elephant: you can't do it all at once. So many people give up and then they'll never achieve anything. Successful people do not give up.

    Hi Don,
    It sounds like you've achieved a lot in the past seven years. Well done. Thank you for commenting and best of luck with your books. Just keep on writing!

  6. I had to comment on the title alone :-P
    and to me, it says that it's best, when you have an idea, to let it marinate for a while before you actually start writing it down.
    Not that all of my ideas have "stewed" for weeks and months before I write them down, but with the past few things I'd written, I jump into it and I burn out really quickly.

    But with the latest idea I'm working on, I'd been in the process of marination for over a year... because I'm working from an inspiration "playlist" (the songs come and go) of 30+ songs, and I also want to know my characters backwards and forwards before putting the proverbial pen to my paper... right there is kinda tricky because sooner or later, I'm liable to get sick of the songs I'm playing in attempts to keep my ideas fresh and new...
    so far, the biggest trick in my arsenal is knowing my idea will be waiting for me to come back to it and I'd gotten lucky a number of times that when I come back to a certain song, another light bulb goes off in my head.

    from a general standpoint, though, it's good to take things slow when you're writing because part of the fun is finding out what happens next. sometimes the best stuff comes spontaneously, *poof* out of nowhere.

  7. Hi Jackie,

    Thanks for commenting. I like nothing more than writing books at a relaxed pace as I feel the ideas come more freely. Happy writing!