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Why You Haven’t Written Your Book Yet: 5 Tips to Start Writing (+Finish!)

Lisa Tener, start writingThe two biggest challenges of writing a book are to start writing and to finish your book.

The other day I heard from someone who’d been working on her book for 15 years.

15 years!

Have you been struggling to start writing your book or finish it?

Here are the 5 main reasons I see people get stuck, along with tips to get unstuck and start writing:

  1. “I don’t know where to start.” Hard to start writing if you don’t know where you’re going. A road map will help. Sit tight. It’s coming.
  2.  “Who am I to write a book?” Ah, self doubt. Who can escape it? Those nasty comments inside our heads telling us we don’t have the credentials, or the talent, or the know how. Rubbish. I’ve coached people who got C’s in writing as children who learned a few rules of good writing and went on to write award winning books. Thank the critic for its opinion and move on. Get feedback from readers in your target market and hire an editor with a strong reputation in your genre (I’m happy to make suggestions). You don’t have to do this project all on your own! Gather a stellar team instead.
  3. “What will people think of me and my book?” We’re all afraid of failure and of putting ourselves out there. Most authors worry about how their books will be received. Yet, how will you feel if you never take a chance? Let go of what others will think and listen to your heart. One way to turn this on its head is to let go of the ego that worries about how you’ll be seen and focus on the service oriented aspects of writing your book. Think of all the people you’ll help. You know in your heart that you’re writing your book for them, not for your ego. So, when ego whispers in your ear, think of your commitment to readers instead.
  4. “What if my book is successful? Then what? Will I lose all my privacy?” This sabotaging voice is a bit more subtle but dangerous all the same. It’s good to think about your future with a successful book—both the pros and cons—and then plan for what will make the journey most enjoyable. How can you design success in a way that uplifts you? Put this fear to work and turn it into an ally! It will make success all the sweeter—and on your terms.
  5. I just can’t seem to consistently make the time.” Is there one activity or commitment you can release? Perhaps let go of a volunteer activity for a few months in order to focus on your book. You can return to it when your finish your book. Or perhaps just reduce your time spent on less productive activities such as surfing the internet or watching a favorite Netflix series. Turn those activities into a reward for after you complete the writing. Put your book first by scheduling the time right into your calendar or phone. Once you schedule specific days and times in your calendar, keep them sacred, whenever possible.

How to Start Writing a Nonfiction Book Click To Tweet

Okay, I promised a road map to address how and where to start writing a nonfiction book. Here are three options that all provide a solid road map:

  • start writing bookIf you’re writing a how-to, self-help or business book, check out the self-study program, Quick Start to Kick Start Your Book. I’m offering it at a 20% discount for the month of January, or only $77.60 (the discount will show up in the cart at the end, not on the product page). Quick Start will help you clarify your book concept and structure BEFORE you start writing your book.
  • I’ll be holding a free training with the support of my pal Samantha Bennett on January 30 to teach you exactly how to start writing your book, and to make it a compelling book. We’ll cover all the common challenges and answer your questions. Sign up here!
  • If your book feels urgent, you don’t have to wait until January 30. Schedule an exploratory call and we can determine the best way for you to get started now.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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