Getting started on your writing project may be hard – but finishing it is likely to be even harder.
Fortunately, I have some quick tips and tricks to help you cross the finishing line.
Make a Plan
Whether you’re writing a blog, essay or a book, you’ll save yourself valuable time and effort by dedicating some time for planning.
Let’s say you’ve been tasked with writing project documentation for your company’s latest product. While you know the ins and outs of the product – writing is not your thing!
To overcome this problem, put your initial focus on planning your intro, body and conclusion text. I suggest you come up with a subheading for each of these sections. You might also want to choose a title for your documentation too.
Once you have this information, simply create bullet points in each of the sections, being sure to cover all of the key elements of the new product. Pay special attention to the order of how you present the product. In this case, it should follow a logical sequence, such as: why the product was developed, who developed it, the benefits it offers, etc.
I’m sure you’ll agree that the above tasks are not too complicated, and could be completed by you within an hour or so.
The next stage may take you a little longer…
Your plan is complete, and you’re ready to start writing. But there’s a problem.
However many times you tell yourself you’ll get going with the writing – you keep finding ways of putting it off.
You know what I mean, chatting to friends on social media, checking the latest national news, or perhaps binge-watching a Netflix series!
I sympathise, as getting started is notoriously difficult. And it’s usually this first step that prevents people from making progress.
What’s my recommendation?
Well, you need to draw upon your willpower to start typing and creating your documentation. Things that are likely to help you, include:
- Choosing your peak time of the day to work
- Closing down unwanted tabs
- Drinking strong coffee!
In other words, your environment and personal energy levels will determine the likelihood of you getting starting, and whether you’ll be able to…
It’s my experience that once I’ve got started writing, I can build on this, and create a strong momentum that will keep me going until the end of my article or chapter (for example).
The key part here, is to prevent yourself from being distracted. If you allow this to happen, your mental focus will be shattered, and you’ll definitely struggle to get back into the task at hand.
Of course, distractions are everywhere. And they come in all kinds of forms: colleagues incessantly chatting to you at work, messages pinging through on your smartphone, and perhaps even family members knocking on your home office door and asking: “Have you finished yet?!”
Personally, I do my best to avoid distractions, but when they do come my way, I’ve also learned how to prevent them from disturbing my train of thought.
The first thing I recommend is listening to music that you enjoy. If your office allows it, then put in your earphones and pump up the volume! This will keep you in your own environment and shield you from the majority of office distractions. At home, try to get your own space to work in, and let your family members know that you should only be disturbed if it’s urgent.
I also like to work in coffee shops. While this a little noisy for some, I find the lively background noise motivating, and in my experience, hardly ever does anyone interrupt me while I’m working.
So, find the best way to stay focused, and stick to it. This will make writing and finishing your project much easier than if you allow distractions to constantly derail you.
You’ll like the next part…
Good news! You’ve finished writing and editing your documentation. It took a while to do, but you’re proud of the results.
And so you should be, as many people fail to finish their writing projects, mostly due to lack of motivation and willpower.
I always make sure I reward myself after finishing any decent-length writing work. For instance, if I’ve completed the writing of a press release, I’ll give myself a short break to enjoy some tea and chocolate biscuits (nice!). For bigger writing projects, then I might treat my wife and myself to tickets to the cinema or a meal out – or both!
I highly recommend you do something similar. Rewarding yourself when completing writing projects (and other tasks) will keep you going when the going gets tough. And it will also mentally condition yourself to always want to finish tasks and projects.
The best thing about learning to finish? You’ll quickly find yourself achieving much more in your life than you thought was possible.
Finally, let me leave you with a classic quote from businessman and author Harvey Mackay:
“A great accomplishment shouldn’t be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.”