Sunday, February 24, 2019

Three Reasons to Finish

Recently I finished another writing project. In the final stages of writing the book, all sorts of things fell apart. My keyboard stopped working. Admittedly I am hard on keyboards and every several years I have to buy a new one. I had typed so much on this particular keyboard that several of the keys had worn off. Now as I typed, I had to push the key several times to get it to show up on my screen. Something was drastically wrong.  I went to my local office supply store and bought a new keyboard and mouse combination. 

When I got home, I took out my old keyboard and mouse and connected the new one. Then I tried to use it and nothing happened. Talk about frustration. I'm on an intense writing deadline and my new keyboard and mouse didn't work. I returned it to the store. The person working at the store had to try several keyboards before he found one that would work. I took the working keyboard and mouse home and it's the one that I used to complete my manuscript.

In the final stages of editing my manuscript and before I submitted it, I reviewed the publisher guidelines. Clearly in the guidelines a couple of elements are required to appear in each chapter. I had written these elements into my manuscript but they were not overt. I took one more sweep through my manuscript and fixed this element before I finalized the manuscript. Yes it was hard but I pushed through and sent it off to my publisher.

Here's my three reasons to finish:

1. Meet the deadline. Most writers do not meet their deadline. If you finish and turn in the work, you show integrity and that you are someone who keeps your promises. It shows others you are a professional and often will generate more work in your future. Why? Because you have completed what is right in front of you. With my work at Morgan James, I have a small list of authors who have signed their contract but never turned in their manuscript. Because I have a relationship as their acquisitions editor, I call them periodically and encourage them to get it into production. Several of these books have been in the “works” for years.

2. Get the Opportunity to Press on to the next stage. If you never finish the manuscript, you never work on some of the other aspects of the book. For example, after you finish, you can work on the endorsements for the book or the foreword for your book or your pre-launch campaign or gathering people to review the book. There is an endless list of possibilities for promotion and marketing yet if you never finish, you don't get to work on these aspects.

3. Completion feels good. The road to success is paved with good intentions. Many people never finish and are stuck without moving to the next step. These writers have a variety of half-baked proposals and partial manuscripts. Yes, if I'm honest,  I have some of those in my files as well. I'm working on getting these projects moving. I know it will take hard work but you can do it. Working at the writing bit by bit, your persistence will get it done.

What practical steps do you take with this information? I hope it encourages you to move forward and finish your manuscript or book proposal or whatever other type of project.

How are you finishing your book or your proposal? Let me know in the comments below.


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2 Comment:

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Unknown Left a note...

Terry, this is an excellent article on finishing well! I was surprised by your report of authors not finishing their books / making deadline.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Thanks for the feedback about my article. Not finishing is much more common than you would think. There are many obstacles for every author in this process. The key is to figure out how to move forward in spite of them.


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