The fear of never finishing your book is more common than you may realize.

This can happen to any writer, and it can occur at any stage of your writing. If you feel that you can’t get through it, the most important thing to realize is that you’ve joined a distinguished company.

Knowing that may take the edge of your anxiety, but it doesn’t solve the problem of getting the book finished.

Trouble At the Beginning

This can happen for a number of reasons. You’ve never written a book before. You’re like a sailor on a maiden voyage across the sea. It’s vast; you can’t see or even imagine the end of it. You don’t know what kind of storms or technical difficulties will happen. (Worst case scenario: think Titanic.)

Writing a book can be an incredibly daunting task. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work, and sometimes the fear of not being able to finish can be overwhelming for authors. This fear can manifest in many ways, making it difficult for authors to complete their work and potentially leading to writers block.

You’ve never tested your writing skills on so big a project. You fear failure.

One of the biggest fears authors have when it comes to finishing a book is the fear of failure. It can be difficult to commit to a project when there’s a chance it might not turn out the way you want it to.

This fear of failure can be especially paralyzing if you’re a first-time author. Failure is a part of the creative process.

Failure is not a sign of weakness, but rather an opportunity to learn and grow. Only one answer exists for this problem: Write. Keep on writing. You’ll never know whether you can do this unless you try.

Another fear that authors have is the fear of not being able to write a good book. Writing a book is a huge undertaking and can be difficult to complete if you’re not confident in your own writing abilities.

You don’t have to be the world’s best writer to write a good book. Instead, focus on improving your skills and learning new techniques.

Your book doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. You have a complex project with many scattered notes and lots of material you want to use. The more you look at the physical or cyber-piles of material, the less convinced you are that you’ll ever be able to organize it in a comprehensive way.

Order Pat Iyer’s new book, How to Overcome Writing Barriers at this link. 

cover of Overcome Writing Barriers

Consider the following:

  1.  If you don’t have an outline, make one. Have others look at it. Look at it again yourself. Then organize your material so its various elements fit into the elements of your outline.
  2.  Check to see if you need everything you’ve assembled. You may end up with material that doesn’t fit into your outline. This could mean it focuses on a secondary issue that you don’t need to include in your book. It could also mean you need to expand your outline.

Trouble at the Midway Point

Have you been following your outline? Many writing problems show up when you deviate from your plan. Your internal editor is warning you that you’re getting off track. Listen. Otherwise, you can write yourself into a deep hole and have trouble getting out of it.

In contrast, you may be exploring an area of importance that you didn’t put into your outline. Go over the outline and see if this is the case.

Trouble at the End When You Are Finishing Your Book

This can be simple fatigue. Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself too far and too fast. You’re tired, and you don’t think you can write another word. One voice is telling you not to act like a quitter. The other is screaming, “Quit!”

Keep in mind that pausing is different from quitting. So is slowing down. Spend a little less time on the project every day. Take a little more time to do things you enjoy. In other words, give yourself a break.

Sometimes you can’t come up with a tidy ending when you are finishing your book. In this case, go back and scan the manuscript. Look with special care at your introduction. You’ll want to, in part, recapitulate what you promised the reader at the beginning, and then summarize how you kept the promise.

Sometimes you suffer from “perfection-it is.” It’s not perfect; it could be better. This is always true. If you find yourself focusing on minor changes and fiddling with the text, it’s time to either declare it done or pass it on to an editor of some kind. Otherwise, you stand a good chance of ruining your work.

Finally,  authors may have a fear of not being able to make a living off of their writing. This is a valid fear, as writing is a very competitive field.

However, it’s important to remember that success in writing is not an overnight process. It takes time, dedication, and hard work. And success as a published author can open doors that are far more lucrative than the royalties you make from book sales.

Additionally, success in writing is not about the money. It’s about telling stories and connecting with readers.

In conclusion, fear of not finishing your book is normal. Don’t let it stop you from pursuing your passion.

Writing a book can be a difficult and intimidating process, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Failure is a part of the creative process, to focus on improving your writing skills, and to remember that success in writing is not about the money. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your writing goals and create a book you’re proud of.

The most important thing is to not let fear take over. The more you focus on it, the more it will form into a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’ll stop working on the book or not work on it enough. You’ll make your fear come true.

Don’t focus on those fears. Focus instead on your goal, your dream. With patience and a lot of self-reassurance, you can make that dream come true.

Pat Iyer has finished 59 books. Some of them are at this link.