Post: 4 reasons authors fail to finish writing a book


Multiple online surveys show that most adults have, at one time or other, wanted to write a book. In fact, current data states that as much as 80% of all adults living in the United States fall into this category. Wanting to write a book and completing one are two separate issues. Many of the folks who dream of becoming an author either procrastinate or get started, then quit writing. Some get almost to the end of their story, perhaps, to the final chapter, but fail to see it through. 

Why do you suppose that is? What makes a writer quit before finishing his or her book? There are several issues that may arise, which often compel writers (novice and experienced, alike) to stop writing before they have finished their project. 

Authors fail to finish writing a book when they didn’t plan well

To be publishable, your story must have a clear plot, well-developed characters and more. If you want to write a book and have a general idea for a topic, that’s a good place to start. It would be a mistake, however, to not think your project through beyond that before you start writing. Failing to plan your story line increases the likelihood that you will quit writing before you’ve finished your book. 

Spend time developing the main parts of your story. What will the setting be? Who are the main characters? Which genre will you choose? Who is your target audience? What is the basic plot, as well as the rise, climax and fall of your story? You don’t have to resolve every detail before you start writing. However, you should think through the main aspects of your topic idea, so that you have a plan for how it will unfold when you put your thoughts in writing. 

You’re more likely to quit writing if you don’t have a support network

Another reason authors fail to finish writing a book is that many of them try to do it all on their own. Writing a book can be quite daunting, especially if there are twists and turns to the plot or complex characters or situations involved. It’s helpful to have someone on hand (preferably a team of experienced writers and editors) to bounce your ideas and rough drafts off of, so that they can provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve your book.

Any writer who believes that his or her work is beyond critique will probably have a difficult time finishing a book, much less getting one published. Even the greatest writers in the world have room for improvement. An experienced support team can help you refine your writing, so that your book achieves its full potential. Having someone to encourage you and hold you accountable also increases your chances of finishing a project once you start.

Do you fear failure or success?

Two fears: the fear of failure and the fear of success, cause many authors to fail to finish writing a book. While this impediment is more common among first-time authors, those who have published works in the past are not immune to such fears. Sometimes, the pressure of a past success makes an author feel like the audience is expecting even greater things from the next book, which can cause a lot of stress. 

If you’re afraid to fail, remember that some of the world’s greatest authors had numerous “flops” before writing a best-seller. Setbacks are part of the writing journey. It’s up to you how you respond to them. You can allow a failure to convince you that you don’t have what it takes to be a writer or you can use each setback as a learning experience to help you improve your skills and move forward to your goals.