Completing Your Writing Project by Mary Beth Avrill
Sometimes the most important thing about finishing a big writing project is knowing that you can do it. Here are some tips to keep in mind while you work on your masterpiece. (Whether it is perfect or not, whether it gets published or not, it is still your masterpiece.)
- Create a vision of your completed manuscript. How long will it be? Imagine holding the completed hard copy in your hands. How will that feel?
- Identify resources you need to complete your project. These might include other people, a library, lab equipment, money, time.
- Break your work down into doable pieces. Most people have an easier time writing 10 four-page papers than writing one 40-page paper.
- Prioritize the pieces and get to work. Where will you start writing?
- Work on one piece at a time. Don’t worry about the big picture right now; just do the piece you have chosen to work on.
- To maintain momentum, write–even if just for 15 to 30 minutes–every day.
- Reward your success at each piece written. Rewards might be a nice cup of tea, a movie, reading junk fiction, checking your email, spending quality time with a friend.
- Enlist support from other writers. Solidarity helps.
- Take care of yourself: get enough sleep, good food, exercise, and social contact.
- Have a system for accountability: a writing buddy, a writing group, or a coach. Often family members are not the best people to go to for accountability.
Once you have completed your project, take a few minutes to reflect on which of these tips (or other things) helped you the most toward its completion. Being conscious about your positive work habits will make the next project easier for you.
© Mary Beth Averill, Ph.D. Writing Coach and Life Coach. Mary Beth has been coaching academics and other writers from all over the world for over 23 years. She enjoys working with people who know they are creative and with folks who haven’t figured that out yet, as well. In addition to individual coaching, Mary Beth facilitates writing groups in her office and over the phone. Contact her at 541-349-9999, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.writeonmba.com.
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