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I Can't Believe I Wrote the Whole Thing

I Can’t Believe I Wrote the Whole Thing 

By Sam Horn, Author of Tongue Fu! and POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd 

The 6 Biggest Blocks That Keep Us From Finishing Our Book --  And How to Avoid and Overcome Them

Do you:

  • have several different writing projects going, all of them half-finished?
  • start with great expectations, only to lose your enthusiasm along the way?
  • know you should  write more articles, get that newsletter done, complete that proposal, turn in your thesis or blog more often – but never seem to find the time?
  • try to write at home or the office but lose focus because of all the interruptions?

You’re not alone.

When best-selling author Bryce Courtenay, author of The Power of One was asked the secret to finishing a book, he growled, “Bum glue.”

Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the “luxury” of sitting in a chair and staying there until our project is done.  We have so many priorities competing for our attention, writing keeps getting pushed to the side.

That’s why I’ve produced this resource.  I’ve identified the 7 top reasons writing comes to a screeching halt.  Chances are you’re experiencing one or more of these.  I then suggest specific ways to eliminate those blocks (or see them from a different perspective) so you can jump-start your project and “gitter done.”

Ready to get those often-delayed, talked-about and thought-about writing projects out of your head and into the world where they can make a positive difference for others and a prosperous living for you?  Onward.

 Writers Block  #1:  Are You Suffering From “Who Am I? Syndrome”

“I can’t write a book commensurate with Shakespeare.  I can write a book by me.”  - Sir Walter Raleigh

‘Fess up.  Do you:

  • Get depressed every time you walk into a bookstore and see the dozens (hundreds?) of books on the shelves in your genre?
  • Think, “What can I possibly say that hasn’t been said before?”
  • Compare yourself to other authors with, “I’ll never be able to write that well?”
  • Wonder what “right” you have to be an author? 

Join the club.  It the years I’ve been coaching writers, many have confessed they lose confidence every time they start questioning their competence and comparing themselves to other authors and books.

Such was the case with Jana Woolf.  Jana attended our very first Maui Writers Conference, but admitted to me a week before the conference that she was feeling intimidated and wondering if she “belonged” there.  

“Who am I to write a book?” she asked.  “I’m not perfect.  I don’t have a journalism degree. It almost seems arrogant to write a book.  It’s like you’re putting yourself on a pedestal and saying, ‘I know and you don’t, and I’m going to tell you how to do it.’  That’s just not me,” she sighed. 

I asked why she wanted to write her book. She explained that she and her husband Howard had adopted a bi-racial child, Ari.  In trying to find a resource to help them through some of the challenges, she discovered that many of the existing books on adoption were either dry, academic or “Pollyannish.”    She thought adoptive parents would welcome a book that dared to talk honestly about the challenges and joys that accompanied raising an adopted child.  In other words, she wanted to write the book she wanted to read . . . and couldn’t find.

I told Jana, “The question to ask isn’t, “Am I perfect? Am I the first to ever write on this topic?” If that were the criteria for writing a book, no one would ever write one.  What would happen if composers said, “Why write a song about love, it’s already been done?”

Best Way to Finish  #1:  Understand You Have a Right and a Responsibility to Write

“I can’t write a book commensurate with Shakespeare; I can write a book by me.”  - Sir Walter Raleigh 

The question to ask yourself is, “Will people reading my book . . .  benefit?”  If your words will educate, enlighten, entertain, or inspire; then not only do you have the right to write.   . . you have a responsibility to write.   

Think of it this way. . . books in your head help no one.   You can’t make a difference for people with books you’re going to write.  Getting your message out of your mind and onto the page where people have an opportunity to benefit from your experience, expertise, and insights one way you can give back.  It’s a way to share what you’ve learned in the hopes it might save someone some trial and terror learning.

  Next time you start questioning your right to write because you don’t “measure up” to other authors, remember what William Blake said, “I will not reason or compare, my business is to create.” 

Put those debilitating doubts aside.  Instead of letting fears rob the world of potential value, remember Mae Sarton’s inspiring words, “There is only one deprivation – and that is not be able to give one’s gift.”  If you have a message or story that could positively impact others, then you have an obligation to sop procrastinating and start producing.

By the way, want to hear the rest of Jana’s story?  She finished her book Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother. . . and kept her promise to herself to put in the “raw” details so other parents would know they were not alone and other parents were experiencing some of the same challenges they were.

For example, Jana admitted that when it was time to send pictures of Ari to his birth mother, she would edit out the “cute ones” because she was afraid Ari’s mother might see what a happy kid he was and want him back.  She had the courage to tell about the time they were having dinner and two year old Ari picked up a hand full of spaghetti and threw it in her face.  Her first reaction, “My son would never have done that” filled  her with shame.  She couldn’t believe such a thought had even occurred to her.

As a result of sharing the trials and tribulations and joys of being adoptive parents, Jana has received heartfelt thanks from people around the world who say, “Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only who has thought that, been through that.”

Heed the words of Richard Rhodes who said, “If you want to write, you can.  Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent.  Who Am I? What right have I to speak?  Who will listen to me?  You are a human being with a unique story to tell.  You have every right.”  Write on.

 Writers Block #2:  Area You Trying to Write in Your First or Second Place?

“My husband told me he wanted more space.  So I locked him outside.”  - Roseanne Barr

Ergonomics is the science of how our environment influences our effectiveness.  It includes everything from how a cluttered space produces a cluttered mind, to how insufficient light undermines our ability to sustain attention, to how a too-soft chair contributes to poor posture, a bad back and decreased productivity.

Over the years, many writers have come to understand their writing space (or lack of writing space) plays a huge role – for better or for worse -- in their ability to get work done.  Where do you write?  Do your surroundings help or hurt your efforts to produce pages?

A fellow speaker works from his home office and is also active in his kids’ sports activities and his local Rotary Club.  Ron found it almost impossible to finish his book, “Between the phone calls, emails, paperwork, and questions from my wife and kids, it seemed like I was being interrupted every10 minutes.”

Sound familiar? Ready for a solution?

 Best Way to Finish #2:  Find and Work in Your Ritualistic Third Place

“Each of needs a free place, a little psychic territory.  This is not a luxury, it’s a necessity if we don’t want our energy to run dry. Do you have yours?”  - Gloria Steinem

If interruptions are driving you crazy, it’s time to find your Third Place. Your home is your First Place and your office is your Second Place.  If you work out of a home office, that’s both your First and Second Place.

Part of ergonomics centers around the power of ritual.  If you repeatedly do the same type of activity in the same place, you mind automatically associates that activity to that location.  For example, if you always open the refrigerator when you walk into the kitchen, you’ll find yourself reaching for the refrigerator door as soon as you walk into the kitchen – without even thinking about it.  It’s become “second nature.”

That’s why it’s hard to write your book while working at the desk where you pay bills or answer emails.  Your mind keeps dwelling on the tasks normally associated with that place which makes it difficult to stay focused on the “alien” activity of writing a book.  You are fighting your nature – the habitual behavior customarily done in that setting.

Furthermore, your First and Second Place often come with built-in distractions.  At work, there may be co-workers walking around, customers to deal with, bosses to answer to . . . not to mention ringing phones, whirring fax machines and clackety copiers.  At home, you may be fixing dinner, doing a load of laundry, or keeping an eye on a toddler.

That’s why it’s so important find your Third Place – a nearby public place where you can work in privacy. (And no, that’s not an oxymoron.)  Your Third Place could be your local Starbucks, library, bookstore, hotel lobby . . . anywhere you can take your laptop and work anonymously and without interruption.

The beauty of your Third Place is that:

a)      There are no chores to be done,  phone calls to return,  people to answer to . . .  so you stay focused

b)      it becomes your designated place to write – it’s the only thing you do there – so writing in that location becomes “second nature.”

c)      You create a “cocoon of concentration” in which your surroundings slip away and you lose yourself in your work. 

Perhaps most importantly, if you go to your Third Place at the same time every week and write, it becomes a ritual.  How so?  Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

 If you go to your Third Place every Sat. morning at 8 and write, every Sat. morning at 8 and write . . . guess what happens the third time you go there?   As soon as you arrive on the premises, you will drop into a state of concentration, the creative faucet will open and the words will pour out of your head so fast your fingers will hardly be able to keep up. In my book ConZentrate, (which 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author Stephen Covey recommends as “fascinating and thought-provoking”), I share many quotes and stories from world-class athletes who discuss the pivotal role that ritual plays in producing peak performance. 

To concentrate on command, you must have a “trigger ritual” you use every single time you want to block everything else out and focus on one thing.  Concentration is defined as “the ability to give the mind an order and make it obey.”  By using the exact same ritual every single time you want to switch from “wide angle focus” ( in which you’re aware of your surroundings) to “telephoto focus” (in which you zoom in on your sole priority), you’re signaling your brain that it’s time to give complete and undivided attention to the task in front of you.

Golfer Tiger Woods places his hands around his eyes so that the noisy gallery, scoreboard, and his playing partners are “out of sight, out of mind.”  Using his hands as “blinkers” has become his trigger ritual for concentrating on command.  Musicians tune up before a concert.  Surgeons mask up before an operation.

Your physical ritual can be the mere act of walking into your Third Place, sitting at the same table, pulling out your laptop and opening up your project file -- which will facilitate the flow of words.

Joseph Campbell said, “A sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today.  You must have a room or a certain hour of the day when you have creative incubation.” 

By the way, Ron Culbertson finished his book because he searched until he found his “creative incubation” space.  A friend who was the GM of a local hotel arranged for him to work in an empty hotel room; proving it doesn’t matter so much WHERE you work as long as you have a ritualistic place that provides concentration-friendly ergonomics that support vs. sabotage your efforts to make progress.

 Writers Block #3: Are You Re-reading What You’ve Written?

“Never correct until the whole thing is down. Re-writing in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on.” – John Steinbeck

If you re-read what you’ve written, you’ll rewrite what you’ve written.  If you edit what you’ve written to get it “right,” at the end of the week or month, you’ll have the same ten or twenty pages and they won’t necessarily be better, they’ll just be different.

The second we start editing as we go, our mind becomes a critic.  And criticism kills creativity.  Creativity is fragile. As I tell clients, “They don’t call em’ fleeting thoughts for nothing.”

When we put pen to paper or fingers to keys, our thoughts as they come out are in their infant stage.  If we are unduly harsh – if we and stat questioning what we’re saying or second-guessing what’s on the page or screen,, the doubt creeps in and the flow faucet dries up.  The Muse will go into hiding because it’s not about to come out and get judged.

 Best Way to Finish #3:  Draft, Then Craft

“You can sit there, tense and worried, freezing the creative energies, or you can start writing something, perhaps something silly.  It simply doesn’t matter what. In five or ten minutes, the imagination will heat, the tightness will fade, and a certain spirit and rhythm will take over.”  - Leonard Bernstein

From now on, your goal is not to get it perfect; your goal is to produce a certain amount of  pages each time you sit down to write.  The goal is to get it written, THEN get it right. 

 As Rita Mae Brown said, “A deadline is a negative inspiration. Still, it is better than no inspiration at all.”  Choose a reasonable amount of pages you can produce each week and set that as your goal.  The number of pages depends on fast you write, how thoroughly you know your subject, your clarity about your format, story line and goals, how soon your publisher wants your manuscript and how much available time you have to write.

The beauty of having a certain number of pages to produce is that is makes the subjective art of writing objective.  At the end of the day or week or month, you can point to the pages and “know and show” you have generated something tangible for your work.  You will feel like you’re making progress, because you are.

Furthermore, many successful writers know the FASTER they write, the more they write in their natural voice.  When Mitch Albom was at the Maui Writers Conference, an attendee asked how he managed to write his book “Tuesdays with Morrie” with his busy schedule as an ESPN sportscaster, columnist, etc.   He said being a journalist helped him because he knew how to write to a deadline. He had built the skill of going with his gut and writing copy as it came out instead of second-guessing every other word which makes writing hard work.

Ironically, the harder we try to articulate our thoughts, the more they elude us.  Athletes and musicians talk about the peak performance state of “flow” when they are in the zone and they lose themselves in what they’re doing.  This is the exquisite state of “entrainment” in which we are one with what we’re doing.  When immersed in our story we lose touch with the “outside world” and write better than we know how.

 Writers Block  #4:  Let Writing Become an Isolated, Intellectual Exercise

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”  - Robert Frost

I love to write.  There are many times when my mind’s on fire and it’s such a joy to have my fingers flying on the computer keys, trying to keep up with the flow of thoughts pouring out of my head.

It was a surprise, then, when I was working on my book Tongue Fu! for School and writing had become hard work.  I was grinding it out and the words just weren’t coming.  I would re-read what I had written (I know, a fatal error) and would go “Euch.”  I knew it didn’t sing, I knew it wasn’t “alive,” but I kept slogging it out because I had a deadline to meet to turn the manuscript into my publisher.  Arggh.  Have you been in this situation?

Way to Finish #4:  Keep in Touch with Your Target Readers

Then, I was fortunate to read an article in USA Today that talked about Hollywood’s former “Golden Boy,” David Kelley.  For a while, writer/director Kelley could do no wrong.  He was one of the first to receive an Emmy for best Comedy and best Drama the same year for Allie McBeal and The Practice.  Incredibly, Kelley was writing and directing BOTH shows at the same time – a grueling, almost unimaginable feat.

Which is why, all of a sudden, his pilots were getting cancelled and his shows were tanking.  The claim was that his shows were getting more and more bizarre and that viewers were having a hard time relating to the unrealistic story lines. At least that was the opinion of a pundit who said, “Of course he’s lost his touch.  He’s married to Michelle Pheiffer, he lives in a 15 million dollar home, and all he does all day every day is write the shows and drive back and forth between his home and the studio.”

The light bulb went off in my head.  Here I was trying to write a book about dealing with difficult people in schools – and I wasn’t spending any time in schools.  I had “lost touch” with my audience and I was just conjuring up the book in my disassociated mind.

I got up from my chair and drove over to my son’s school.  That day I interviewed several teachers, I talked to the principal, a counselor, and several of my son’s friends.  “What do you do when a parent accuses you of not caring for their kid?”  What do you when teachers come to you and complain that they’re not getting paid enough (which is true)?  What do you do when a fellow student bullies you?” By the end of that day, my mind was filled with the angst, frustration, mixed emotions, feeling of powerlessness that is a fact of life for many educators and students.

I sat down to the computer and poured out the incredibly compelling stories I had heard, the confrontations I had been told about, the insightful responses that had been shared.  One afternoon of interviews and re-connecting with my intended audience renewed my passion for this topic and book and I was able to bring the words alive – because I had gotten out of my head and into the world upon which I was writing.

Has writing become an intellectual exercise for you?  Have the words come to a screeching halt?  Get up out of your chair and go where your readers are.  Ask them what they want to know.  Interview them about what they're going through.  Stroll the streets of the city you're writing about.  Immerse yourself in its culture, its feel, its people.  Chances are you'll return to your  computer and the words will flow out of your head so fast your fingers will hardly be able to keep up.

 Writers Block #5:  Are You Waiting for Blocks of “Free” Time to Write?

“My parents always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinated so much.  I told them, ‘Just you wait.’”  - Judy Tenuta

Do you tell yourself you’ll get to work on that project . . . when you’re not so busy?  When the kids go off to school? When things slow down at work? When you have some spare time?

Do you know anyone who has any spare time?  Even retirees are often shocked to find their days filling up with busyness.  Parkinson’s Law (a job expands to fill the time allowed for it) is still in effect.

Anne Lamott said, “Expectations are resentments under construction.”  If we perceive that we need “open” time to write, we’ll continually be frustrated (and resentful) because it never happens.

What to do?  Reframe your expectations about “writing time.”  It is not something you do only when you have an hour or two or three, it’s something you do everywhere, all the time.  I learned this from former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones.

 Best Way to Finish #5:  Muse It So You Don’t Lose It

“I never had to change a word of what I got up in the middle of the night to write.”  - Saul Bellow

Dewitt Jones is one of our country’s most respected keynote speakers.  His presentation “Make Your Life Your Art” uses his stunning images as metaphors for life lessons.  Dewitt and I were walking/talking along a Maui beach. We would go about ten yards and Dewitt would stop and write something down.  We’d go another 50 yards, and he’d stop and write something down.  I finally asked, “Dewitt, what are you doing?” 

He said, “Sam, I used to get ideas and think, ‘That’d be a great title for my next column.,” or ‘I’ve got to remember that for my program tomorrow’  . . and then I’d go about my business and forget all about it.”

Sound familiar?  How many times have you gotten what Ralph Waldo Emerson called, “a gleam of light which flashes across the mind from within,” and then gone about your day and forgotten it? 

If there’s anything I’ve learned in 20 years of researching, writing and speaking about the fascinating topic of creativity, it’s that this is how our best thoughts occur.  They POP! into our mind.  And if we don’t write them down, they’re gone. Worse, if we allow that inner critic to kick in and tell us all the reasons this idea won’t work, we snuff out these sparks of genius.

From now on, pay attention to those sudden insights.  Write them in the notebook you carry with you everywhere you go so you can refer to them later.  You may not know where this idea or phrase fits in your work.  Just trust that it will.

Our greatest minds, from Einstein to Mozart, have understood and honored the power of the “muse.”  They knew f they were fortunate enough to be gifted with a revelation, it was their job to write it down.  Or what I call, “Muse it so you don’t lose it.”

Billy Joel knows the power of capturing those intuitive sparks.  I was watching CBS Sunday Morning, a favorite weekend ritual, and Joel was discussing how he “came up” with his melodies to such classics as The Piano Man and New York State of Mind.

He said he was designing a boat (a hobby of his) and the words, “In the middle of the night, I was walking through my sleep” kind of POP’d into his mind.  He thought, “Naw, that’s too simple” and rejected it.

He went to take a shower and found himself humming a tune to that lyric and couldn’t get it out of his mind.  So, he wrote it down despite his initial thought it wouldn’t amount to much.  You know the rest of the story.  That “simple lyric eventually evolved into one of his forty chart-topping songs, River of Dreams.

Please reframe your mental picture of what writing looks like.  It is NOT something you do only while sitting at a computer (or at your Third Place).  It is something you do on the plane, in the doctor’s office, while waiting in line, and, as Saul Bellow and Billy Joel pointed out,  in the middle of the night.  It’s done five minutes at a time, here, there, and everywhere.

From now on, follow Frank Capra advice, “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.”  If you write down your “hunches,” they keep happening because the Muse feels you’re keeping your end of the bargain.  If you don’t, the muse gets ticked off and takes off.  She figures, “I’m giving you gold here and you can’t be bothered to write it down?”  Jot those “hot thoughts” and they’ll keep coming around.

 Writers Block #6:  Are You Going Solo?

Remember, we’ll all in this . . . alone.”  - Lilly Tomlin 

Staying motivated over the long haul of ups and downs that accompany any creative project can be a challenge.  Working in isolations means we have to supply our own “wind beneath our wings” because no one is giving us the encouragement that what we’re doing matters, that our writing project serves a greater purpose and that it is worth doing.

I spoke at a small business conference years ago and remember a representative from the SBA saying that the #1 challenge cited by entrepreneurs is not being short on funds, it’s missing the socialization that goes with working with a group in an office. 

Furthermore, a challenge every writer faces is that we get so close to our work, we can’t see it clearly anymore.  You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees?”

Well, we can’t see the manuscript for the pages.  We’re so immersed in the project, we lose our objectivity.  We have no idea if it’s good or destined for the trash.  It’s hard working in a vacuum of feedback and support.  What to do?

Best Way to Finish  #6:  Invite Your “Peeps” to a Book Editing Party

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.”  - Sam’s mom 

Take a tip from 4-time Pulitzer-prize nominee Fawn Germer and throw yourself a book editing party. 

Fawn , author of Hard Won  Wisdom,  spends a lot of time on the road delivering keynotes for corporations.  As a result, she was losing touch with her friends and wasn’t making progress on her new book Mustang Sallies.

Fawn told me about her brainstorm.  Why not invite her friends to her house on a Saturday afternoon and enlist their help in editing her new book?  It’d be a great opportunity to re-connect, introduce her friends to each other, and ask them for their insights into what was working and what wasn’t with her manuscript.

She issued invitations and 10 friends showed up.  She printed out three copies of each chapter. After welcoming everyone and serving refreshments, she “went around the room” and asked individuals to give a brief introduction so everyone knew each other.  She then posted and explained the following ground rules so everyone understood how the afternoon was to unfold.

1. You’ll each be given a different chapter to read and thirty minutes to read it.  Please have pen or pencil in hand and comment in the margin on whatever captures your attention, good or bad.

2. Please feel free to make micro and macro edits. 

Micro edits are misspellings, grammar corrections, punctuation, a better word choice, deleting a superfluous phrase, etc.  Macro edits are big picture stuff and can be 100% subjective.  For example, you might say, “I didn’t understand this story. What point were you trying to prove?”  “This paragraph is way too long.  Could you divide it up here and here?”  “This chapter has a lot of basic information that didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.”   “I can’t picture this character.  Can you provide more visual details?” 

3. Please make suggestions about how it could be better.  If you have an idea how the story could be clearer, how to make a point more profound or fresh,  a description that would render that character more compelling, please share them.

4. Please be ruthless.  Don’t worry about hurting my feelings.  I rather hear it and have a chance to change it NOW than see something after the book comes out that could have been better.

5. Don’t second-guess your opinion. If your gut tells you that something isn’t working, it’s probably not.  Once again, it’s better to point it out to me so I can rework it.

6. Thank you for sharing what you LIKE.  I appreciate any and all specific praise.  If something makes you laugh, causes you to re-think a long-held belief, or makes you want to recommend this to someone else, please let me know so I can capitalize on it (and so I get a little burst of energy from your encouragement!) 

Fawn scheduled a half hour “break” after each thirty-minute round of reading so everyone could get up, move around, and have more refreshments.  After three rounds, she collected all the edited chapters and then went “round” the room one more time, asking each participant to share five minutes of general feedback.  What did they like best about what they had read?  What was an insight they would remember and use?  Why?  What is one thing that could make the manuscript stronger?

Fawn said the proverbial good time was had by all because it was the original win-win.  It was a fun and purposeful way to spend a Saturday afternoon, Fawn got to re-connect with her friends, and all the guests had an opportunity to contribute to a work in progress.

Could you throw yourself a book editing party as a way to get together with long-long friends and get “fresh eyes” reading your work?  If you do, be sure to either use the ground rules above or make up your own so the gathering has some structure and is maximally enjoyable and productive. 

Also, remember something my dad once told me about how to stay centered when you’re getting a lot of different feedback.  My dad attended one of my first presentations.  All the evaluations came back “Excellent” except for one that really ripped into me.  This particular individual didn’t seem to like anything I had said or done. 

My dad shared H. G. Wells famous quote, “No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.” Dad said, “If someone gives you feedback and it mirrors other people’s comments, it’s important to consider it because it probably has merit. 

If, on the other hand, someone gives you feedback that flies in the face of what everybody else is saying, it’s probably truer of that person than it is of your work.  In the end, run it by your gut.  As Bruce Springsteen says, “If you write for yourself, you’ll always have an audience.” 

There’s another way to counteract the loneliness of writing in isolation.  Do what many successful authors do.  Go t o your local Barnes & Noble, Borders or independent bookstore and check their bulletin board to see if they have a writers group.   

That’s what thriller writer James Rollins did.  I had a chance to talk with Jim on a Maui Writers Conference cruise.  James always wanted to write.  As a veterinarian with a busy practice in Northern California though, who had time?  Then he heard Tony Robbins speak.  Tony said you can do ANYTHING if you take one tiny step towards accomplishing it starting day.  It was the right message at the right time.  Jim was nearing his 30th birthday.  He realized if he ever wanted to achieve his dream, he needed to start now.

Jim got up from his chair and went to his local bookstore.  He asked the CRC – the Customer Relations Coordinator – if they had a writers group. Not only did they have a writers group, they had several.  In fact, they had one for his chosen genre of science fiction/fantas/thriller.

Jim started going every week.  The format was that every member of the group brought three pages to read and receive feedback.  Jim said there were many weeks that the ONLY reason he wrote three pages was because he had felt an obligation to honor his commitment to the group.  Most importantly, their encouragement gave him the energy to continue.  Getting objective perspectives about what was confusing or just plain old boring helped him make critical changes that improved his book’s readability. 

Many pilots like to fly so much, that if they can’t be up in the air doing what they love, they love talking with other pilots and doing what’s called “hangar flying”

That was another reason Jim looked forward to his writers group so much. It was just plain fun to get to share his work and receive positive feedback and constructive input.  Hearing other people read also taught him to recognize the different elements of successful prose so he could incorporate it into his own work.  

Do you have trusted readers who are giving you feedback about your work?  Not only is it rewarding to hear people are finding your work interesting and valuable – which gives you the motivation to continue – you can catch “mistakes” along the way so you correct them THEN instead of waiting until the whole thing is finished and you have to undergo major rewrites.

Why make it unnecessarily hard on yourself by flying solo?  Why not join a writers group that supplies fun, feedback, and accountability – all at the same time?  Your “peeps” (as my college-aged sons would say) get you through the depressing times, help you celebrate the good times, and make the writing journey even more enjoyable and rewarding.

In summary, remember this:  in the 15 years I've had the privilege and pleasure of working with authors, I have never met any who were sorry they wrote their book.  I have only met authors who were sorry they didn't write their book . . . sooner! If you have a message that will entertain, inspire, or educate others . . . write on!

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Sam Horn offers Book Camps, facilitates Writers Groups and offers one-on-one consulting so you don’t have to go it alone when working on your book.  The 15-time Emcee of the world-renowned Maui Writers Conference, Sam’s books have been endorsed by Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, Susan Jeffers and Tony Robbins and have been featured in dozens of publications including Washington Post, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune, Investors Business Daily, Readers Digest and Publishers Weekly.  Most importantly, she is thanked in the Acknowledgements of hundreds of books from grateful authors who say, “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Visit www.SamHorn.com for details about her presentations, home-study programs and learning products so you make THIS the year you finish a quality book that catalyzes your writing career so you get paid to, as Stephen King says, “hang out in your imagination all day.”