When to Stop Writing by Catharine Bramkamp
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us “When to Stop Writing.” Enjoy!
The best possible way to publish your book is to stop writing it.
I like stating the obvious, it makes me sound smart.
After all we read about starting a novel or non-fiction book, after all the encouragement to keep it up, rack up the word and page counts.
What is often overlooked is the painful necessity of letting go.
What we at the Writing from the Queens Seat have experienced is how much our Expert Queens love to write.
The first weeks of the program are filled with enthusiastic galloping writing. Which is fantastic.
Our participating experts and professionals start week one of the Studio or Society focused on their purpose, focused on their how-to book.
By week three, the manuscript has spread like a quilt with so many personal stories, childhood memories, and the latest loves tacked on, the Work in Progress has expanded to the size of a king-size bedspread.
Except all the writer needed was a single baby blanket.
Do You Stop Writing Here?
All this work is not in vain or wrong.
Crazy, prolific writing is necessary and often healing, definitely life-changing. But not every story will serve the purpose of the current book.
In a business or how-to book, you want to create a product that will help promote your business and boost your career.
Non-fiction books can serve as follow up for your lectures, the calling card for your workshops, and proof that yes, you are the expert.
You know this, but it’s hard to let go of your stories, your ideas. But you must.
Review Your Work: Stop Writing Here?
Review your work.
- Have your stories overtaken the advice?
- Have you fallen in love with every story, every experience?
- When you review your work, are there stories and scenes and writing that quite possibly has nothing to do with your purpose? (Just guessing)
To get your book published, to make it work, those wonderful stories that have little to do with the purpose and theme of the book need to be moved out of this book and saved for another.
Stories only vaguely connected to the book’s purpose will just distract from the main event.
Your stories and experiences can be highlighted in your next book.
Sometimes these are the very stories that work even better as the subject for a blog or to use in your next lecture.
Challenges When You Don’t Stop Writing
Another challenge with enthusiastically adding story after story, idea after idea to the same manuscript, is that the continual additions are actually preventing you from publishing your book.
It may not feel that way.
As you reach your page goal, as you close in on your publication date, you may feel increasingly inspired and want to add just one more story, one more important tale.
Very gently let me tell you no. Stop.
Continually adding and tweaking a manuscript is a sign of procrastination, and often procrastination is a manifestation of fear.
If you postpone publishing because the book isn’t quite perfect — you never risk criticism or rejection.
That fear of rejection is reasonable and understandable.
Check in and see if that is what you are doing.
A business book will not help your business if it’s never published.
A how-to book will not help readers if they can’t read it.
Your important stories will not help others if they cannot access the stories.
There Is Energy In Finishing And Publishing.
There is energy in finishing and publishing.
The act of completion will open doors and opportunities you hadn’t yet dreamed of. Do it.
Stop writing and launch your book.
Certainly there is some risk to going public.
There is risk in acknowledging that you are an author, that you did it.
You finished the book you have always said you wanted to write.
And if you have enough material for a bedspread, maybe all you need to do is cut it down and create five baby blankets.
Who doesn’t want a series?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach, Chief Storytelling Officer, former co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast, and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, and The Future Girls series. She holds two degrees in English and is an adjunct university professor. After fracturing her wrist, she has figured out there is very little she is able to do with one hand tied behind her back.
More Writing Tips in Writer’s Fun Zone
Finding the Perfect Place to Write – a Field Guide to Procrastination by Catharine Bramkamp
Procrastination is About Fear by Beth Barany
5 Tips to Get Writing Now
Get Clear on Your Book’s Purpose