To finish a project—and for me right now, that’s a book—I have learned that I need to remember some things. I made a list to help plant these concepts in my mind. I’d thought I’d share in case it helps any of my fellow future finishers!
One—COMMITMENT: I am committed to finishing my book is because God told me to write my story.
In Scripture we are told: “It would be good for you to finish what you started… ” (2 Corinthians 8:10, NLT).
Two—HELP FROM GOD: The Finisher will help you finish. God will be with you to guide you, if you let Him. He will show you the next action steps not only in writing as in life. Just ask Him which project He wants you to write today and see what happens.
Three—STRUCTURE: Sometimes God sends a structure or a framework to help you. One of those structures is accountability. Accountability is the ONLY way I get any writing done. I created three online writing classes to ensure I write at least three days a week. Not only do I write but I also refresh my knowledge and keep adding new material that I am learning so that I don’t get bored. One of those classes, Finish Your Book Cowriting with the Holy Spirit, is starting September 30 (either live at 9:30–11:30 a.m.or recorded). If you are hoping to finish a book, I invite you to join me—It’s only $99 for a seven week course—a bargain down from $242!
Four—REMEMBER THE WHY: Along the way, we remember why we are doing what we are doing. In addition to obeying God, it’s about who we will serve. This week I’ve been editing a book that would have really helped me 15 years ago to break free from unwise relationship decisions. Her book—and mine—will help or inspire someone else in the future as well.
Five—FRESH INSIRATION: Along with the “why,” we need fresh inspiration from people who have done what we are doing. In my Finish class, I infuse writing tips and quotes about writing from myriad sources. Different quotes and tips will help different participants!.
Six—CLEAR SCOPE SIZE: To finish, we need to reign in or scope, to ensure the project doesn’t get out of control. In my Finish course, I talk about strategies to place time, topic, or other boundaries for individual books.
Seven—SPURTS: Short, intense spurts are often the way many people finish. Seven weeks is about the right amount of time for people to concentrate on one topic. That’s one reason why many schools have moved from semesters to quarters. My Finish class—and all my classes— are seven weeks. Plus, seven is the number of completion biblically, so we can trust it’s a good number.
Eight—ASSIGNED TIME: Have focused, blocked-off time to finish. If you don’t block out time to work and turn off all other distractions, you most likely won’t make time to do the work. My Finish class has an hour of independent writing time built in during each of the seven session.
Nine—HELP: Get help when you are stuck. I can’t tell you how many times a writer has come to me (and how I will go to another editor)to gain perspective on which way a book might go. In my Finish class, you can bounce ideas off of me, and I can give you an outside perspective that just may shatter your paralysis of analysis. I’ve helped more than 100 people finish their books in the last several years, and I’ve supervised or coached dozens of other writers for decades before that.
Ten—TIMING: I ask myself, Is the timing right for this project? Fall, which it is as I write this blog post, is an ideal time to finish projects. Once the holidays arrive, many people do not have as much time to finish projects because your extra is taken up with decorating, cooking, shopping, hosting gatherings, and more.
Eleven—WISDOM TO PIVOT: Sometimes you have to comeback later to fully finish everything—and that’s OK. God didn’t command us to finish; He just said it would be good to finish. Just like a home renovation project, it might be wise to do only one room at a time. Maybe not everything you envisioned can be done in the budget, and you also need to still have some livability in your house!
To give you one last analogy, when you go on a vacation, you don’t usually get to do everything you want to do. But, if you are like me, whenever you finish a vacation, you may think about what you will do next time and plan to come back. So, if you’ve been struggling to finish your book, let’s consider a book like a vacation. You have a limited time to work on it, but you could always come back in the editing process, or even another edition after you publish.
Lastly, if this isn’t the time to finish, or God redirects you, I want to close by saying, that’s OK! When I was almost done with one book in the summer of 2020, God had me write a second one. Since they are part of a series and related, I needed to see how they fit together before I finished either. I kicked and screamed to God when I heard that, but now that I’m almost finished with the second book, I see the wisdom in it. It will seem easier to get a second one done after the first is published.
So, my final suggestion is to allow Him to direct your path—and remember, He is the ONLY Finisher, as in the second definition of the word, “finish,” which is to make perfect. Only He is perfect. No project, book, writer, or person is. That’s comforting. Because then we can all eradicate perfectionism. But that will be the subject of another blog 🙂