The Little Things Do Matter in Finishing Your Book

A close friend of mine recently told me he wanted to get serious about writing again, with the ultimate goal of finishing his nonfiction book. So I sent him some basic tips that come from an author I know personally, because my years of experience as a wordsmith have taught me that the little things do matter, and you’ll only find success if you give those little things due diligence.

So here are the tips I shared with my friend, via an author friend who lives by them:

  • Whether it’s writing the actual text, brainstorming ideas, smoothing out plot snags, etc., try to work on your book in some form or fashion every single day, unless perhaps you choose to take off every Sunday as a day of rest.
  • Create some kind of daily goal, whether it’s a fixed amount of time to work on your book or a target number of words to write for the day. Remember, even fifteen to thirty minutes a day is more than zero minutes a day. Same with words: you can’t go back and rework a blank page, so get those words on the page, even it’s a hundred a day.
  • Get rid of distractions, because even if writing may be a passion of yours, you still need to take it seriously. In the words of my author friend:

— “I flip my phone over so I can’t see the blinking light that says I have a new text or email. It’s still on vibrate, though, if someone is trying to reach me with some true emergency.”

— “The home phone ringer is off in my writing room.”

— “My blinds are pulled so I’m not staring out the window.”

— “On my computer, I close the tabs on my open email accounts so I don’t get desktop notifications about new messages.”

— “On my doorknob, I put a red door hangar that my son made for me, and the kids know it means Daddy is writing, so unless it’s a real emergency, they kindly give me my space.”

— “Last of all, in go the earbuds with music appropriate for the mood of what I’m writing—loud enough to take me into my story world, but not so loud that I can’t hear my cell phone vibrating.”

  • Finally, be sure to back up your files as soon as you finish a writing session. Again, here’s what my author friend had to say: “I immediately email myself a copy of what I’m working on, then drag a copy via wireless onto the kids’ computer in the office, and then put the files on one or two jump drives as well. At any given time, I have my files in at least three locations (such as when I’m working remotely at a library or the in-laws’ house and can’t backup to a home computer), and ideally I have up to six places my files are stored. Just doesn’t pay to lose all that work when it only takes mere seconds to copy files these days.”

No, these tips won’t write your book for you. But they’ll help you create an environment in which your creativity can be let loose to write everything your heart desires from start to finish—and that’s real success for any author!