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What Helps Authors Finish Books?

When you’re writing a nonfiction book, it’s very common to get started…and then get stuck. And, let’s be honest: if it were easy to write a book, everyone who’s ever said, “I want to write a book someday” would already be an author. With that said, it’s also not impossible to write and finish a book. People publish books and become authors every day. But, what makes the people who successfully finish different?

Having finished writing many books, both for myself and for my clients, I’ve learned a few strategies that have really helped me finish books…and finish them relatively quickly. I also see many of the same habits popping up with my clients who successfully write and publish their books. There are a few traits that people who finish their nonfiction books all share. So, today I’m sharing what I think are the traits that have the biggest impact on whether an author will finish his or her book.

Whether you’re just starting to write your book or you’re feeling frustrated because you’re stuck somewhere in the book writing process, this episode is for you!

What helps authors finish books? If you're trying to write a nonfiction book but getting stuck, these tips will help you get writing again.


  1. Knowing where you’re going – having a roadmap
  • Example: taking a cross-country road trip
    • It’s overwhelming when you ask yourself, “How am I going to get to a specific location 800 miles away?”
    • Suddenly seems a lot easier with Google Maps
  • Example: building your business
    • Starting out: want to build a business to replace your full-time income so you can quit your job…but how do you get there? What products do you sell or services do you offer? How do you market your business?
    • Having a plan makes it easier to get there. You can focus on the tasks that will have the biggest impact on getting you closer to your goal & forget the rest
  • Same is true for having a roadmap for your book
    • If you just look at the big picture—“I need to write and publish a book”—it’s totally overwhelming.
    • Helps to break it down into smaller chunks.
      • Plan your book – make the plan detailed, which makes writing easier
      • Write your book in small pieces – focus on writing a section or a chapter at a time
      • Get the first draft done, THEN edit
      • Only worry about the part that’s in front of you right now
    • More info for creating an outline: Episodes 56 & 57 – 2-part guide
  1. See the big picture of your book
  • They understand how their books fit into their business plan or larger goals
  • I hear “I don’t have time” over and over again. If it’s really a priority, you’ll make time.
    • Just think about the time you spend scrolling through social media. If you spent that time writing your book, how much would you have written?
  • In business, we’re all busy. Many of us wear many hats. We don’t have time to do everything. Writing your book may not be a priority right now. But, if you want to become an author, at some point it needs to become a priority.
  • How is your book going to help you build your business?
    • How does your book fit into your overall strategies and goals?
    • Example: want to become a paid speaker.
      • How will your book help you do that?
  1. Get in the habit of writing
  • Like anything in life, the more you do something, the easier it gets
  • If you spend an hour writing your book and then you don’t write again for several weeks, you’re getting out of the swing of writing, and writing your book specifically
  • You’ll make a lot more progress if you write consistently, even if it’s for less time every day
  • Your brain gets used to writing.
    • Example: if you want to run a marathon, you’re going to wind up in a lot of pain (and possibly very injured) if you just go out and run one without training. You need to begin slowly and train your body to get used to running.
    • In some ways, training your brain to write a book is like training your body to run a marathon.
      • Need to break things up into smaller chunks. Run 3 miles first, then four, and so on.
    • You need to train yourself to write consistently. When you do write on a regular basis, writing become much easier.
      • 038 – Bradley Charbonneau – Write every single day
    • Be honest with yourself: is your book really a priority? Should it be?
  1. Don’t let doubt get in the way
  • So many aspiring authors get stuck because they start to worry about whether or not their book is going to be any good.
  • It can be good to do a market analysis and see what else is out there, but if you have a message that really needs to be shared with the world, freaking out that your book will never be “good enough” isn’t going to help you.
  • Ask yourself: is your book going to help people?
    • Do people in your audience or out there in your world need your book?
    • Do they need your expertise?
    • Do they need to hear what you have to say in your unique voice?
  • I think making that mindset shift from thinking about what other authors are doing to thinking about your readers is HUGE.
    • Instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing (which is a surefire way to lose your focus), focus on what your people need to hear.
      • It’s the same with your business. If you worry about what everyone else is doing on each platform and try to imitate it yourself, you’re going to burn out, and you’re going to lose focus in your business.
      • You need to do what’s right for you and your audience.
    • Next week’s episode will be all about the big mindset shifts that authors need to make, so be sure to tune in for that.

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What helps authors finish books? If you're trying to write a nonfiction book but getting stuck, these tips will help you get writing again.