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Tips for completing that manuscript (1 of 2 posts)

Posted by Maria Murnane | June 11, 2013

When people find out I’m working on my fifth novel, they often ask, “How in the world can you write an entire book?” For many aspiring novelists, the idea of writing hundreds of pages is so daunting that it keeps them from writing even one, which is a shame.

Here are some tips for how to get it done:

1. Set a dedicated time each day to write.

When people say they don’t have time to read, exercise, work on their novel, reply to emails, etc., I never believe them. The simple truth is this: If something is important to you, you make the time for it. So if you want to write a book, set a designated time each day – even if it’s just an hour – and write. No excuses.

2. If you get stuck, edit.

When I can’t think of what to write next, I often go back and tweak what I’ve already written. That way, even if I’m not advancing the story, I’m making the most of the time I’ve set aside to write. However, be careful not to do this too often and/or let it turn into a crutch that keeps you from moving forward. If you take a deep breath and concentrate, you can usually come up with something new to put on the page.

3. Don’t wordsmith; highlight and move on.

If you’re satisfied with the general content of a scene or chapter (e.g. your two main characters get into an argument over dinner) but aren’t entirely satisfied with how it reads, highlight the section and move on. It’s important to keep the story moving when you’re feeling it. Then if you get stuck later, you can employ tip #2 above and put that creative energy to work on the highlighted areas.

In next week’s post, I’ll offer a few more tips on how to get that manuscript done.

-Maria

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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