What’s The Secret Ingredient To Finishing Your Book?


There’s just you.


Answer: There is no secret ingredient.  There’s just you.

When I started NaNoWriMo, I wanted to make sure I armed myself with all the things I would need to finish successfully. So I set expectations with my family and myself about writing time. I constructed a minimalist plotline that I thought was simple and could be completed on time. I bought a pre-made cover. I sat my butt in the chair (on my Bintiva) and wrote faithfully and completed 50k words around 9pm on Nov. 30th.  I won NaNoWriMo.

But my story wasn’t done. And I wanted to finish the story.

But I was exhausted. November had been a grueling month for me (3 trips and a half-marathon). I had given up precious sleep time to get those 50k words in.

Keep On Running!

I needed a break. So I promised myself two weeks and took that time to recharge and refill the creative well. Which was good. But it also created a problem.

The longer time I took away from writing, the harder it was for me to get back to it.

Two weeks came and went. Then a third week. I re-read some great masters in my genre. I listened to many podcasts. I set up this blog. I tried to learn about mailing lists. I read about scene mapping and editing. I made a plan. All of which were good things, but none of which were actually finishing my story.

I finally admitted that I was experiencing RESISTANCE.

So I went back to one of the scenes where I had written the beats and started the line by line writing. It was slow going. It took me an hour to just get 300 words down. (During NaNoWriMo, I was doing 1k words an hour.)

But I had written something. I closed my laptop and went to bed, pleased I had gotten through the first hurdle.

The next night, I poured a glass of wine and sat down to re-read the 300 words from the night before and realized something. I had written the beginning of that scene in present tense when the rest of my novel had been in past tense. So I re-wrote the scene. Then I finished the scene…and my glass of wine, and went to bed.

By night three, I was finally in my writing mode and wrote yet another scene to get me closer to the finish line. But then I realized what I thought would be one scene in my notes, actually needed to be two scenes. And I saw that in multiple places. Now the finish line seemed even further away.

I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas evening with my family. Then I opened my laptop this morning and finished another scene. Because that’s the only way I’m going to finish this book—one scene at a time.


About Juls

Working parent of two boys. Runner. Writer. Knitter. So many things.

4 Replies

  1. Chad

    Very logical progression of events here, keep it up!

    1. Juls

      Thanks for reading. In many ways, it’s a lot like my running efforts. Just one foot in front the other!

  2. Very true! It’s what I call Blank Page Syndrome, which ironically strikes even when the page is already nearly full. Bane of my existence. But yes, the only way to overcome it is one sentence at a time. And on the bad days, just one word… That might not win you NaNoWriMo, but it will get you a finished book. Eventually :).

    Keep it up!

    1. Juls

      Exactly! I feel like I’m a tiny bit closer (so close!) so I finally set a deadline to push myself.

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