20 Thoughts You’ll Have As You’re Writing the Final Page Of Your Novel

Wow.

1. Wait. Is this really the end? I should double-check. Triple-check.

2. Wow. This is really it. I’m really about to finish this.

3. Am I ready? I don’t think I’m ready.

4. But I also kind of want to get this over with, honestly.

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What No One Tells You About Sticking With a Story From Beginning to End

There’s a lot to learn. Let’s learn together.

All of us have at least one project we started but never got around to finishing.

Let’s be honest: Most of us probably have dozens.

There are many reasons writers who start projects don’t finish them. But maybe if we talked a little more about some of them, more writers would be able to work through their struggles before and while they work so they can successfully complete more things.

The rewards that come with finishing what you start go beyond financial gain or recognition. With each new completed project you learn something new — something you are not very likely to forget.

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A Planner’s Guide to Pantsing: How to Worry Less and Write More

You can learn to plan less and write more!

If you’re a writer who creates outlines for your stories before you write them, or does any kind of pre-writing prep work like character sketches, you’re generally considered a planner. And if you’re someone who gets an idea, sits down and starts to write — sometimes without jotting down even a single note before you start — you’re a pantser.

There are pros and cons to both of these approaches to writing — and the good news is, neither one is necessarily “better” than the other. Each individual is different, and prefers to go about their writing in different ways.

But if you’re traditionally a planner who is interested in loosening up a little, there’s more good news: You can learn to be less of a planner, less of a worrier, and a more productive writer overall.

Here’s why writing a little more “loosely” can be a good thing — and how to train yourself to embrace more spontaneity.

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How to Find Your Writing Productivity Limit (and Why It Matters)

You want to push yourself … but not TOO much.

Deciding how much you want to get done every time you sit down to write might seem like a waste of time — why plan when you could spend that time writing?

But you might find setting limits is the best decision you will ever make as a writer.

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A Writer Can’t Always Be ‘On’

Power down. Rest.

What happens to a light bulb when you use it off and on for a while? It burns out.

What happens to a light bulb when you leave it on constantly? It burns out faster.

What happens to a person when they work off and on for many years? They burn out. Eventually.

And what happens to a person when they work constantly without stopping? They also burn out. But it happens much more quickly. And much more frequently.

Why am I starting out this post by telling you things you likely already know?

Because sometimes we don’t even realize we need to hear certain messages until we hear them. So consider this your wake-up call, if you need one.

Now I ask you this:

Do you ever get tired of feeling like you always have to turn yourself up to your highest possible setting?

You’re definitely not alone.

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12 Things That Happen When You’re ‘Writing While Tired’

A lot of weird stuff goes down when you’re trying to get things done late at night.

1. All of a sudden, finishing sentences is the hardest thing you

2. Wait hold on how did you get on Twitter? Weren’t you just writing five seconds ago?

3. You get more coffee? No, if you have any more coffee your heart is going to malfunction. WRITE.

4. Everything starts feeling like it’s taking twice as long to accomplish.

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How to Find Your Voice: A Quick Guide

Every writer has their own distinct voice. Do you recognize yours?

Think of your favorite author. Or your favorite story. What is it about the way that author writes, or the way in which that story was written, that sticks with you even now?

It’s likely what captivates you has everything to do with the voice through which a certain story is told.

If you really think about it, many stories are the same copies of each other in terms of basic framework. And we are all using the same words to create stories. It isn’t the story or the words themselves that make a piece of writing unique. It is the way a writer presents them on a page.

What is a writer’s “voice”? It’s a combination of the specific tones and styles you use when telling a story. In your literature classes growing up you might remember a lot of discussions about famous authors revolving around what distinguished them from others or set them apart. That’s a writer’s voice — their way of presenting words that typically makes them stand out.

How does a writer “find” their voice? I could skip to the end of the fable and say your voice has been inside you all along and we could laugh about it, but that’s actually not far from the truth. Your “writer’s voice” is actually the way you think and maybe even the way you speak. It’s already there.

The problem is that it’s not easy to master the art of capturing how your thoughts “sound” and applying it to a blank page. It’s not that you don’t KNOW your own voice. It just takes a while to figure out how to present your work to other people in that voice that’s literally been in your head the whole time.

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Why Doesn’t Anyone Tell You About the Pressures That Come With Being an Unknown Writer?

This is something you only learn by doing.

No one told me it would be like this.

When I formally decided I was going to “be” a writer — whenever that was, whatever that means, I’m still uncertain — I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew writing books would take a long time. I knew writers didn’t get paid much and that in general your chances of getting published were minimal at best.

Always hungry for a challenge, I dove in anyway. At first, I didn’t care about the money or the recognition, I just knew I needed to start getting my work out there no matter the cost.

I was 22 when I started my career as a writer — not counting the three years I had spent before that interning and contributing to various publications in my spare time.

It has been five years, and there are days I feel like nothing has changed. Even worse, I feel more pressured to “keep writing” than I ever have before. And not just because there’s money involved (I’m grateful for that).

No one ever told me being a writer would be THIS kind of challenging.

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You’re Totally Wasting Your Writing Time Doing These 3 Things

And you might not even realize you’re doing it.

One of the greatest struggles almost all writers face is time.

We’re very busy people. I think it’s safe to guess that many writers out there are writing in addition to other personal and professional responsibilities rather than writing in place of them. Instead of spending eight hours a day writing, for example, a lot of us are probably lucky if we get one or even two hours at the end of a long day to jot down some of the ideas trapped in our heads.

But not having enough time — or feeling like you don’t — isn’t always the problem. Sometimes you have more than enough time to get your writing done, but you can’t figure out how to use it properly.

Maybe you get distracted by the smallest things — a notification on your phone; a noise outside your window; a reminder you forgot to set on your calendar (because of course you have to set it RIGHT NOW or you will forget again).

Maybe you even sit down excited and motivated to get to work on developing your story … only to realize that at some point between physically sitting down and starting to write almost a full hour has passed, which you have spent reading the parts of your story you’ve already written down without writing anything new.

Whether you have time to spare or barely enough to function — side note, if that’s you, and you’re making the time to read this post, bless you — learning how to make the most of the time you have is essential for excelling in all areas of your life.

When it comes to writing, it often helps to start by figuring out the things you might be doing on a daily basis that aren’t helping you get as much writing done as you could.

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It’s Really Hard to Have a Dream

And it almost never gets easier.

When you tell someone your dream — your deepest desire, the one thing you want to have done before you die — they usually respond with some variation of the same phrase.

“You can do anything you set your mind to!”

Some people will try to push you down and tell you that your dreams are dumb, but they’re not worth listening to or even dedicating a full paragraph in a blog post to, now are they?

Even vague encouragement from the people we care about can feel hollow and meaningless.

Maybe that’s because dreaming is about more than admitting what you want. That step is hard enough.

When you want something more than you have ever wanted anything before, sometimes it can feel like the harder you work, the further you drift from your dream.

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