I have a bad habit of saying, “my book is only __ chapters so far.” But really, that “only” is an awful lot when it comes to writing a book.
When you think about how much work writing a book actually is, the fact that you have anything written at all is a huge success. The fact that you’ve taken any piece of this little vision in your head and put it into actual words is a huge accomplishment.
I think, as writers, many of us look at what “little” we’ve written and how much we have yet to do and get discouraged. I’m definitely like this. I have 9 chapters completed of 30. When you look at those numbers, I have an awful lot left to write. It’ll take a very long time still. Writing a book takes a long time in general. I often think, “I only have a third of the book written. That’s so much left to do still. It’s going to take me forever.”
Is 21 chapters a lot to do? Hell yes, it is! But 9 chapters completed it a shit ton I’ve already accomplished! I’ve already written almost A THIRD of my book.
A book that was once just a small idea in my head.
A book that was once only scribbles in a notebook.
A book that was once just bullets in an outline.
A book that is now a THIRD of the way completed.
When you think about your progress in terms of how much you’ve accomplished thus far, it can shift your entire way of thinking.
When you think about your progress in this way, you can understand that even a tiny bit of progress is still progress and for that, you should celebrate. Writing a book is really hard. Those little victories should be seen as massive ones.
Sometimes I forget that I should be proud of how much I’ve written so far. Many people never make it this far when they want to write a book. But it’s about time I start remembering that even a sentence and a paragraph more than I had before is progress worth recognizing.
Here’s why you should celebrate every ounce of progress and why that’s exactly what I’ll be doing from now on.
1. To increase your confidence in writing
I may be wrong about you, but for me, a lot of my insecurity in writing comes from the fact that there’s just so much that I still have to write. I get wrapped up in those thoughts and they start turning into thoughts about how much editing I’ll have to do after. Then I start getting nervous about the writing that I’ve already done and if it’s even good enough to continue.
But then I take a step back and I think about how fucking awesome it is that I’ve written this much already. This thought alone gives me a TON of confidence to continue writing.
2. Gets you motivated to write more
To be honest, I’m not a fan of relying on “motivation” to write. As a fellow writer of mine puts it, you should write because you’re disciplined, not because you’re motivated or inspired. That being said, it is always helpful when you do get that sudden urge to write and pump out a ton of words. And this happens most often for me when I think about how much I’ve already accomplished.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only a few paragraphs in or if you’re still in the outlining phase. Every little bit of progress is such an accomplishment that it needs to be recognized. And when you step back and realize that, you’ll feel more empowered to continue. You’ll feel like a writing badass who can conquer any writer’s block demon that happens to step into your life. So celebrate your progress when writing a book. You deserve to.
3. It helps you focus on the now
One thing I’ve learned thus far in my writing journey is that you can’t really think about the end game. I know that’s really hard to do when all you want to do is finish the book and get it published, but you can’t. When you only see the “finish line,” you may not be present for the things along the way.
It makes you focus on the wrong thing. Sure, you have to think about the ending of your book in order to write the middle. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that if you only focus on publication, you’re not paying attention to the actual writing.
But if you take thing day by day, paragraph by paragraph, and chapter by chapter, it helps you stay focused on the important stuff. You’ll be less worried about how much you’ve done and more focused on the quality of the work you’re doing. You’ll be able to be in the moment through each scene instead of worrying about “just getting it done” – something that’s crucial for writing a book that gets your readers emotionally invested in it.
The bottom line is this: no matter how little you’ve written or outlined of your book, the fact that you’ve done anything is a success that you should celebrate. Take a step back and focus on what you’re doing today instead of worrying about how much you still have to do.
If you’ve done anything, you’ve done a LOT! So celebrate and appreciate that work.
*Throws confetti* WAHOO!!!