finish your manuscriptHow long have you been working on that manuscript now? Months? Years? Of course, you’ve been busy with work, family, and social commitments – you haven’t had a spare hour to devote to your masterpiece-in-the-making. But all that’s changed.

To fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), governments across the globe are enforcing social distancing guidelines. Life as we knew it is no longer, and we’ve all got a whole lot more time to kill indoors. So, it’s time to dig up that old Word doc and start writing.

Here are a few tips you can use to finish your manuscript during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Just start

new Yorker cartoon

Via The New Yorker Cartoons

The hardest part of writing is starting – putting pen to paper, fingertip to keyboard. The trick to overcoming this roadblock is to write anything and everything. Don’t let your inner critic paralyse you. In other words, give yourself permission to write badly. Yes, you will create a whole lot of rubbish, but chances are, you’ll come out of it with something that’s at least workable. And that’s better than nothing at all.

Write a lot

The average novel is about 80,000 to 100,000 words. If you’re at the 30,000 mark – or if you are starting from scratch – you have a lot of ground to cover. Try giving yourself a daily target. Depending on your circumstances, flexible working arrangements, and willingness to forgo your sanity, that could be anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 words per day.

Whatever target you decide on, it’s imperative that you stick to it. Make it a part of your new routine. Here’s some inspiration from Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.

Haruki MurakamiVia The Paris Review

Plan for distractions (and know when to give in)

Even before your partner was working from home and the kids were on an indefinite school break, your home was full of distractions. Now, with the whole gang inside – not to mention a never-ending stream of news updates and the fact you haven’t left the house in 13 days – the potential for distraction is at an all-time high. Acknowledge this. Plan for this.

If, for example, you have kids at home, consider writing early in the morning or late at night. Or, grab your laptop and find a suitably isolated park bench. If your partner is at home and on business calls for hours a day, pop on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and write.

Know when to give in to distraction, too. Take breaks. Go for a walk, read, watch a movie, call your parents, whatever. One popular approach is the Pomodoro Technique: work for 25 minutes and do nothing for five.

Finished your manuscript? Now it’s time to prepare it for publication

You’ve put in the hard yards, and now it’s time to reap the reward. If you are in the process of getting your manuscript ready for publication, find out more about our professional proofreading and typesetting services today.