What marks out those who complete books and those who don’t?


Why are you writing your book? Do you have some result in mind for this book or is it a case of When I write my book?

The reason I ask is that the stronger your motivation the more likely you are to finish it. Now that may sound commonsense but I don’t think would be authors take it into consideration enough.

Last year I worked with a client who’d been commissioned to write a business book on coaching with some colleagues. It was something she’d thought about for a few years but without the commission it was still only a vague idea in her head.

As soon as the commission was agreed, a deadline was set for her to work towards. Now any deadline concentrates the mind. But because the deadline was not hers, she couldn’t adjust it, delay it or otherwise mess with it.

Her motivation was partly driven by fear of the consequences of not meeting the deadline but equally by knowing what having the book out would do for her business. Create yourself an external deadline even if you have to ask a work colleague or business mentor to act as the nagger or keeper of the deadline.


Douglas Adams used to say about deadlines “I love deadlines. I love the sound of them as they go whooshing by.”

Setting the deadlines is fine but to reach them you need a system to work your way towards them. of course wes’re all driven harder the closer we get to them but to save your sanity maybe it’s better to break down what you need to do into manageable chunks.

Some of my colleagues need that 11th hour mentality to complete work but I prefer a quieter and less stressful life. With regard to writing books first time writers underestimate certain parts of the process. They’re fine starting off and many of them can keep to the schedule but where they fall down is the finishing off process.

Unless you have the luxury of handing it over to an independent editor with their own time frame then you will be involved in the final edit of your book. This is a stage that can drive you mad if not handled carefully. No matter how organised with your material you’ve been, you’ll find fundamental flaws, you’ll become insecure about your text and want to junk large chunks of what you’ve written.

A disciplined approach is the only solution helped by other people to keep you calm.

Self belief

Whether you’re pushed into writing a book by others or you take the plunge yourself then you need enormous quantities of self belief. The more the better because writing a book is a roller coaster ride and you need your self belief to take you through the dips in the ride.

I’m not talking about arrogance here but knowing that you have something to share with others. If you truly believe that you can help people then you should try.

Some of the most inspiring people I’ve met are those who’ve struggled against criticism from their closest friends and family to achieve something.

Whatever it takes, surround yourself every day with what inspires you. Quotes, pictures, symbols, audio; trust me they will all come in useful before you’ve finished your book.

Ezine by Eileen Parr