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Le Finis

 

How many people begin a novel? Millions. Tens of Millions.

How many people finish those novels and send them out? A whole lot less.

There's no secret formula or magic spell to get your novel finished. In the end (pun intended) it's just you and the word processor and putting in the time and the revisions to get the thing done. Not much help am I?

But I do have help to offer- three tricks I use to finish my work and get it into the hands of my agent and my editor.

1. Set a deadline.

Published writers say it all the time- "I work best with a deadline." or even better  "Sorry I can't go to lunch with you today. I'm on deadline." 

I'm on a killer deadline right now and there's no way I'm blowing it. I get up early every morning and reach for my laptop. I go to sleep at night after clicking save and taking a sigh of relief that I've hit my revision goals for the day.  I'm another step closer to THE END. Some days I don't feel like getting up early or working late or pounding the keys all day.  I stop and ask myself "How bad do you want this?" (Literally I do this. Out loud sometimes. )  And I start back to work.

The fact that I have people I respect waiting for my writing helps, but say you're still on your own...

SET YOUR OWN DEADLINES.


Write the date where you'll see it. Tell a friend about it so you'll have some outside accountability. When the going gets tough ask yourself how bad you want it. Then sit down at your desk and meet your deadline.


2. Reach out.



Climbing to the top is hard. Sometimes you need help getting there. For meeting deadlines I have extra special help. An enforcer. I have a pact with Sarah Aronson that I'll get a certain number of pages done every day. Fine, right? But it doesn't stop there. I do my pages and email them to her EVERY DAY. Not for a critique, as a destination and a goal. If Sarah doesn't get my email with my pages she gets mad-

(Doesn't this look just like Sarah?)

She reminds me about all the things I already know- I have to do this. I want to do this. It won't get done if I don't do it, one page at a time. Sarah is my "human deadline". Find your own. You can't have her. She's mine.

3. Take the leap.
 


I have dozens of friends with completed novels- in their drawers. You've done the work and now you're scared about sending it to agents or editors. Here's my advice. Make it the best you can, close your eyes, and send it.  You'll never be published if your novel stays in a drawer. Perfect is an illusion. A novel languishing in a drawer is the absolute ultimate dead end.

None of this advice is earth shattering. You've heard it all before. But sometimes it helps to hear it again. To get that extra little nudge that gets you back on the path, rushing toward
 
THE END


 

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~TLB

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
jeannineatkins
Apr. 7th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Gosh, that does look just like Sarah! That is one great secret weapon!
tamilewisbrown
Apr. 7th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
I honestly believe the best friend of all is one who can give you tough love. And I'm needing it to get to the end of this project!
zuvincent
Apr. 7th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
Just hearing how hard you're working makes me want to dig in. Great post!
tamilewisbrown
Apr. 7th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
It makes me ready for a vacation!
zuvincent
Apr. 8th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
Hopefully you have one coming up!
saraharonson
Apr. 7th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
tic, tic, tic.....how are those pages coming today, Tami???

:-)

You are doing a great job getting to that deadline!
tamilewisbrown
Apr. 7th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
Six down fourteen to go...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )