06 Jun How to finish your first chapter
Writers often find it hard to finish a piece of work. I always encourage my students and mentee clients that until you’ve finished something, you can’t know if it works.
Here five top tips on how to finish your first chapter
- Have a blurt! This technique comes from creative thinker Joanna Maxwell who suggested that having a 10-minute blurt around a subject is often enough enough to kickstart the process and give you another way into the story. If I’m really stuck on one section, I open a new document for that section. Somehow it’s easier without all the other ‘wordage’ around it.
- Set specific times to write. Find times that are realistic and work for you. This helps train the brain so when you get up at 7am three mornings a week to write for one hour, you actually write.
- The most successful writers write into a structure. People often worry about structure. They worry that it will hamper their plot or stifle their style. But whether you are you a planner or a pantser — a fly-by-the-pants writer — structure does the opposite. It gives you a framework in which to write. It gives shape to a story and stops it becoming unwieldy.
- Set goals, write them out. Work out how long the chapter needs to be. It’s more straightforward planning a non-fiction first chapter; for a novel, you often just need to dive in. Don’t worry if you write something and later it turns out to be your fourth chapter. The goal is the process — the goal is to finish a piece of writing.
- Reward yourself when you reach your goal. Send it to your writing buddy or read it to someone whose opinion you trust. Eat cake.