Three (Writing) Traps to Avoid by Bob Burnham

Writing a book is a joyous time filled with satisfaction and, of course, a lot of hard work. As an author, there are many traps you can fall into that will not only affect your profits, they will affect your productivity. You want to get your book completed as soon as possible, right? Since finishing your book and making money from sales are two common goals, let us take a look at three traps you must avoid and how to avoid them.

1. Perfectionist trap
This trap catches every new author and many who have been writing for a long time. Let me just get this out of the way; perfection does not exist. There, I said it. Now you can let it go. Perfectionism slows you down. It causes you to spend an hour mulling over a paragraph. It makes you edit as you write, a major mistake because it blocks the flow of words onto paper and it drastically slows down your productivity.

So how do you escape this trap? Set writing goals every day and meet them. Look at your schedule. How much time can you commit every day to writing? Ten minutes? Twenty minutes? More? Grab a pen and paper, or your computer. Set the timer and write. Just write. Everything that enters your head lands on the page. Do not stop. Do not edit yourself. Do not delete anything–just write. When the timer beeps and your time is up, finish your thought and put your writing away. Editing is what you do when you are done getting your book on paper.

2. Procrastinator's trap
Oddly enough, the more you want to write a book, the harder it can be to actually do it. I think the biggest reason for this is fear. Fear of failure and even fear of success can keep us from getting our book done. The good news is that the solution is simple. You know how you clean the kitchen every day because it needs to be done? You feed the dog, you do your laundry, etc. You do all of these things not because you enjoy them, but because they need to be done. I assume you enjoy writing much more than you enjoy cleaning your kitchen, right? Set aside time to write every day. In fact, forget the kitchen. Your writing is much more important.

3. Passive marketing trap
Do not fall into this trap! You wrote and published your book, and now you are going to let it collect dust on the shelves? No matter how you publish your book, you must also market your book. If you want to sell books, you have to tell people about it. Press releases, book signings, Web sites, interviews, and a marketing strategy is just the beginning of the work you must have to do. It can be done, but only if you are proactive.

Bob Burnham is an entrepreneur, consultant, and author of 101 Reasons Why You Must Write A Book. Extract taken courtesy of BookMasters, Inc.


Thank you very much for this very useful and practical advice.

I've finished my book, but while I'm waiting to find an agent, I keep editing and editing and...

I just can't help myself.
Pauline Rowson said…
Editing is good, but it can also become counter productive and the more you read your work the less you tend to like it or think, 'I could do that better.' Now I try and bash out a first draft very quickly without editing so that the creative flow can work and my characters can develop their own voices. Once this is done I can then start the revisions and editing. It's that first chapter that's the real b***** though. Sometimes no matter how much you look at it and rework it, it never seems to be right and it is SO IMPORTANT, because it is the first paragraph, page, chapter that will either get you an agent/publisher and it is the one that grabs the reader and sells your book ( initially). I once read somewhere ( and I can't remember who said it) that when doing your first revision cut out the first three chapters and start your novel there. I have always found this extremely valuable advice.