Writing Fiction: 3 Tips To End Procrastination And Finish A Novel

If you’re writing fiction, you may be procrastinating on finishing your novel. Many authors do. Worst case: you may forget the novel completely.

In a recent writers’ group meeting, we shared estimates of how many unfinished novels lurked on our hard drives, so you’ve got a few unfinished novels too, stop feeling guilty. With a few simple strategies, you can finish them, and publish them too.

What makes us procrastinate? Sometimes we’re not in the mood for writing fiction.

Writing fiction on days you’re not in the mood to write

Try this weird trick, it’s worked for me. I wondered why it worked, then I discovered, this article on writing first drafts:

If you have feelings, you have imagination. When you’re writing fiction, you’re using your emotions to inspire your imagination deliberately.

The next step is to write what you see in your imagination. You do that using your senses, but as your viewpoint character.

Your emotions trigger your imagination, which inspires you.

Let’s look at three tips for finishing a novel.

1. Brainstorm ways to finish your novel NOW

From Edit Your Book: 6 Steps To Rescue Unfinished Fiction Or Nonfiction:

If you’re writing fiction, could you create a novella or a short story from some of the content?

Check and see. I’ve got a couple of incomplete novels on which I want to try that strategy.

Here’s how to proceed:

  • Read what you have, and make notes;
  • Could you excerpt a few chapters, and turn them into a short story?
  • Save the file before you excerpt, then cut everything you don’t need for the story.

You’ll need to write new transitions between scenes. It’s also likely that you’ll need to rewrite the first scene, and add a new scene at the end.

2. Create a book journal, and carry it with you

Do you have a stash of blank notebooks? If you don’t, you may need to buy a couple of cheap notebooks to try this strategy.

Here’s the strategy: whenever you begin a new book, begin a book journal for it.

A bullet journal journal works well for this:

Your journal keeps you on track. Even if you can’t write for a few days or a week, it reminds you of characters and plot, and becomes a repository for your brainstorms and ideas.

Most importantly, your bullet journal saves you time.

Carry your book journal with you. Read it while you’re waiting for a meeting to start, or while you’re waiting for the kids during their ballet lessons or soccer practice.

3. Vital: schedule time to finish your novel

You’re busy. Sometimes you feel as if you’re wasting time when you’re writing fiction. You have so many other claims on your time…

Try this. In your book journal, right at the front (paste in a sticky note if there’s no space on the first page), write why this novel is important to you.

Perhaps publishing a novel is a longterm dream. Whatever your reasons for writing fiction, write them into your book journal.

Good luck! Your novel will be finished in no time.

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