That blank Word document looms large on your computer screen. It almost seems to taunt you — go ahead, try to write something, anything. If you are in the midst of writing a book but are plagued with a bad case of writer’s block, you are no doubt feeling a bit frustrated.

Getting to the root cause of the writer’s block is key to pushing past it. If you are hoping to figure out how to finish writing a book, then you have come to the right place. Continue reading for some actionable steps to help you overcome your writer’s block and complete that manuscript.

Why Can’t I Finish Writing a Book?

You might have been sailing along, completing one chapter after another, when suddenly your creative juices seemed to just dry right up. Try as you might, you can’t seem to move forward in the writing process. So, what gives? What causes writer’s block?

Consider these possible causes:

  • Shaken confidence. Writer’s block is akin to a baseball player who gets into a batting slump and can’t hit the ball even if his life depended on it. Just like the ballplayer, a loss of confidence in your writing abilities can get in your head. To overcome this, re-read some of your past writings and take note of the quality. If you’ve been published, read a chapter out of that book or read the article you wrote that ran in the Wall Street Journal. Build yourself back up.
  • A lack of discipline. If you go about your days like the ball bouncing around in a pinball machine, that lack of focus and discipline can wreak havoc on your writing. If you want to know how to finish a book, it truly starts with self-discipline. Sticking to a consistent writing routine should help you get refocused on your book project.
  • A tendency toward perfectionism. If you have hit a challenging place in the story, you may freeze up altogether rather than risk writing something subpar. Perfectionism can hinder you from moving forward. Push through this tendency by doing some freewriting. Just write whatever comes to mind without judgment, and some little nugget will surely emerge to spark some renewed creativity.
  • You are distracted. Most writers do not have the luxury of being a full-time writer. They have jobs to attend to and kids to raise. Life distractions can impede our ability to ponder and think, which can lead to a block in the creative process. Try to carve out just 30-60 minutes a day to devote solely to your writing, and be sure to leave your phone (and social media) in the other room.
  • A lack of motivation. Sometimes a writer just hits a wall. You may be burned out from the demands of daily life and have simply lost interest in your book project. Take a week off from writing and seek some space to daydream and reignite your imagination. Go on a day trip and take lots of photos. See a local art exhibit, take a hike, visit a friend, or go to a concert. Taking a break can help shake that malaise loose and get you writing again.

How to Finish Writing A Book, Once and For All

If you truly want to learn how to finish your novel it will involve taking some proactive steps. Only through intentional actions will you be able to combat and overcome a case of writer’s block. These steps can help you pave the way to a completed manuscript:

  1. Create a book outline. One sure way to never finish your book is to go at it without a book outline. Not only does a book outline allow you to flesh out your sections, chapters, scenes, and characters, it also becomes your roadmap, a reliable tool to help you stay on track and get ‘er done.
  2. Set up a writing schedule. If you want to know the secret for how to finish writing a book, this is it. Create a writing habit, a daily commitment to write X number of words, and do not deviate. Time the writing sessions to coincide with your most creative period of the day. Some writers may have a burst of creativity at 8 p.m., while others are most productive first thing in the morning.
  3. Make space for writing. Carving out space for writing, both as a matter of time and physical space, is another critical element for how to finish a novel. If you find your days are so full that squeezing in some writing time is a burden, get up an hour earlier to make time. If you don’t already have a quiet, comfortable space in which to write, find a spot and make it your own little writing enclave.
  4. Write without fear. Too often authors get all tangled up with editing. Instead of attempting to edit your work as you go, hold off until the first draft is in the can. It might be hard to resist fixing those typos, but force yourself to just ignore the urge to edit and get that book written. There will be plenty of time to clean it up later.
  5. Give yourself a deadline. Self-published authors can fall victim to the temptation to lollygag because there is no publisher breathing down their necks. This lack of structure can spell death to many a book, as they just never seem to get finished. Give yourself a deadline. Calendar it, tell your best friend, write it on a sticky note… make yourself accountable to a completion date.
  6. Reward yourself. Who isn’t motivated by an occasional reward for completing a task? Set up a series of benchmarks to hit, and then when you do go ahead and treat yourself. For example, after completing each chapter, give yourself a day off to go paddleboarding, have lunch with a friend, or take in a movie. Finish a whole section? Why, that feat deserves a massage or a pedicure! Whatever it is that would inspire you to stick to your writing schedule and get the work done, make those be little gifts to yourself.
  7. Recognize when you need some help. Let’s say you follow all these tips and still find yourself stuck. Maybe you have a plot hole or a character that isn’t panning out, or your self-help book isn’t all that persuasive. In order to finish your book, you need the help of a professional editor. Especially if you’re writing your first book, developmental editing can provide a thorough review of the manuscript, identify any issues, and get you back on track.

Finish Your Book On Time With Gatekeeper Press

There are very few meaningful endeavors we undertake in life that don’t involve getting some help or support along the way. Writing a book is no exception. If you have found yourself stalled out due to writer’s block, or any other roadblock to completing your book, why not partner with the self-publishing experts at Gatekeeper Press? These specialists offer a full array of editing and creative services to help you finally finish that book. Reach out to us today!

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