Every word on the page counts, even if they are few!
Every word on the page counts, even if they are few!
Ahhh…finishing that novel. Is it one of your New Years Resolutions?
Is it one that daunts you? Scares you?
What is it about finishing a book that freaks us writers out so much?
I asked some of my writing friends what their biggest challenge was when it came to this. The top response explained an apprehension about how the whole book would be pulled together, all it’s ideas and events, into a tidy conclusion.
Also, a finished product meant it was time for the manuscript to be seen by the outside world, and would be vulnerable to critical eyes and opinions.
But if you really want to bite the bullet this year and commit to finishing your book, you need a plan of action, and a willingness to see that plan through. Here are three tips to help you finish your book:
Ideally, you’ll have an outline of your writing project before you commence the writing phase, but if not it is certainly not too late to implement one. A Plot Planning Sheet can be very helpful for this, and you can download one right here: http://bit.ly/2BSIXXA
Part of the purpose of the Plot Planning Sheet is to sketch out the Beginning, Middle and End of your book. If you are using this tool at the start of the writing process, you can create a basic outline of each of these parts of the story, and add more detail as you go along. If you are implementing this tool in the middle of the writing process, it will help give you clarity on what you have worked on so far. At least you’ll have a general idea of how you’ll wrap up your book, and that will become clearer to you as you go along.
Deciding On The Type of Ending
The biggest lesson I have learned whilst working on both short stories and novels is that the ending doesn’t have to be good and happy. It does, however, need to be conclusive and satisfactory.
Think of the film, Saw, for example (if you have had the stomach to watch it!)
Or The Sixth Sense.
Or 90s drama/romances like The Virgin Suicides or American Beauty.
These films certainly don’t have a ‘happy’ ending, but the details of the story come together in the end. Seeing all the detail link up is satisfactory and conclusive, however tragic.
That’s right, commit to the end! To do so you are going to have to face the fear and take responsibility for finishing that darn book. And the good news is, it’s not up to you to have a perfect book at this stage! Do your best as the writer, and then seek the help of a trusted friend, relative, writers group member or professional editor to help you refine your story, which will include crafting the perfect ending!
By the way, the journey doesn’t stop here. You have the second and maybe third drafts to complete, so the sooner you finish the first, the better!
If mulling over your manuscript gives you joy and satisfaction, by all means ignore what I’ve suggested in this post. I personally love the opportunity that rewrites provide to relive my story, to spend even more time with the characters and the events that shape the experiences o the book. But if you really want to finish your manuscript, and especially if you have a vision to publish it, you’re going to have to get tough on yourself!
TRUST in yourself as the writer and the story you have created. Someone out there needs to read what you have to say!
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Yes, you CAN do it!
It’s not all about how much you can save each week, it’s a matter of how you go about delegating it each payday.
World travel has been a major goal of mine, but not too long ago I felt like I would be able to achieve it. Working an average thirty hours a week at $19.10 an hour, there wasn’t much room to put away for savings, and what I could put away seemed to be sapped up by some bill or expense sooner or later. It was proving impossible to save a large chunk of money toward my goal, and not only this, I was also developing feelings of unworthiness toward world travel. I was starting to think that because I didn’t have a job that paid very well, that I didn’t deserve to travel the world. But I simply couldn’t accept that. I had to make it work. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise.
Through talking with a few friends about their travel experiences, I began to realise that I could look at my savings plan in a whole different way. Around the same time I was thinking seriously about a trip to Ireland to research for my first crime novel. I had made a list of all the elements of the trip, from accommodation to transport to food, and while this helped me to work out how much the trip would cost, it also presented an opportunity for a savings checklist.
I started out by getting a quote for my flights, and ended up paying just short of $1,500 return to Dublin with Etihad Airways. I used a travel agent, and put my flights on lay-by for just $100. I paid a little off each fortnight, and was not restricted to a specific amount, just whatever I could afford. Sometimes it was $50, sometimes $100, sometimes only $20. I would advise to book flights as early as possible so you give yourself plenty of time to pay them off.
Alongside this, I also tried to put aside a little into my savings account for my trip expenses and spending money. It took me six months to pay off my flights, just in time for the cut off date (the condition of putting the flights on lay-by was that I had paid them off two months prior to my departure date).
Here is a breakdown of my list of expenses/savings targets:
I then broke those expenses down to days where I could, e.g. accommodation and daily expenses. For example, I planned to stay in Dublin for three days, so I wrote the list this way:
Each fortnight I took out my list and looked at what I could afford to put money toward. If I put money toward the above expense, sometimes I’d put aside only $43, or sometimes $86, or even the whole amount if I could afford it (rarely). Alongside the listed expense, I would keep a tally of how many times I’d contributed to that listed item, and take great delight in crossing the item out when it was completed!
Part of the frustration of trying to save earlier was that my money would disappear into an expense or bill sooner or later. In my savings plan, where I could, I paid off an expense for the trip along the way. For example, if I had put enough money aside for my three-day stay in Dublin, I would then book that accommodation straight away, so as to secure not only the accommodation but the money I needed for it.
So in summary, here are my three tips for saving for international travel on a minimum wage:
Travel is NOT just for the ‘lucky few’. You CAN make it happen, no matter what stage of life you are at, and no matter what your circumstances! It’s just about how you go about your savings plan!
To read more about my recent book research trip to Ireland, click HERE
To read the first chapter of my Irish crime novel for FREE, click HERE
To learn more about my other books, click HERE