From Procrastination to Publication: Mastering the Art of Finishing Your Book
#79 TRENDING IN Books & Writing 🔥

From Procrastination to Publication: Mastering the Art of Finishing Your Book

Books & Writing

March 03, 2023

Publishers can often give you all the logistics; I’m here to provide you with the flair. But unfortunately, the why behind your passion for writing projects tends to fizzle out.

When something sparks our interest, the chemical processes in our brain function more or less the same. An influx of serotonin and dopamine hits you. The problem is that these hormones evaporate quickly, and we must constantly find new stimuli to produce them again.

To reach “the high.”

The great trick lies in where to look for your healthy high when it seems like you have lost the passion and can´t ignite it again.

It all comes down to priorities and how we approach what we do daily. Humans make decisions based on many factors, but it all boils down to two main things — gratification or fear. We need to know that there´s a rainbow at the end of Smurf village, a pot of gold, and a reward.

It´s hard to invest yourself in something without safety insurance so that it will be worth it.

We complain about our jobs — but ultimately, we do them because our livelihood is on the line. We visit our parents because we know they won´t be with us forever; there´s fear that we will lose the gratification we get from seeing them.

We make time for lunch because we must eat, and we make time for a physical, because our health is important.

And then there are extracurricular activities.

You pursue activities hoping to keep you accountable for your resolutions.

If you are writing a book, it is categorized in your brain and subconscious as an extracurricular activity, a passion, or something you want to do but might not receive any gratification for.

So how do you stay on track and finish up your book without fear or reward motivating you? After all, those two components can be powerful.


Start doing what you usually do when you don´t want to meet someone. You blow off other engagements for those of your passion, the same way you blow them off on different occasions for your peace.

The “I´m sorry, I´m just so busy” excuse is nonsense. Everyone is busy, but you make time for people and things you care about. If you want to make it happen, you seek a solution. If you don´t want to, you are looking for an excuse.

Therefore, step one is to cancel engagements you would typically use as an excuse not to write. Next, you sort out your priorities.

Step two is more complex; it´s the part that keeps the passion for the project ignited.


Writing blocks, impostor syndrome, and others “living in your head too much.” It makes sense; no one is throwing blame around. The nature of our heads is analytical. But not just the good part — the writing — the overthinking too.

But our bodies are programmed to act when something needs to be done. If the dog needs to be fed and walked, rent must be paid if homework is due. Your dog´s life depends on it, so you will do it.

What you need to do is to train yourself to think they are. Because if you are even pondering the thought of embarking on a journey as strenuous as writing a book, it´s pretty apparent that you have a deep love of writing. You don´t think it´s important enough to invest so much in it without guaranteeing a payoff.

You probably want to be a writer, but don´t think of yourself as one. So, by potentially abandoning it, you are letting yourself down; for a human brain, that´s more acceptable than having a third party let you down. People? Well, we are tiny creatures with egos.

Chances are, if someone prevents you from going after your dream, a fight response is triggered, and you are called to prove them wrong. You work hard to get that scholarship for a college you can´t afford. You talk to your mother´s boyfriend, and like the calm, even-tempered creature you are, you ask her to stop sabotaging your guys´ relationship.

But it comes to sabotaging ourselves; not only do we let it happen, but we also perpetuate it. We encourage it because it´s within our comfort zone to do that.

And the only thing that can pull you out of it is to get the love of writing to scream louder than insecurities, workload, school load, or any of it.


Last year, when I was writing my debut novel, I am Cecilia; I almost gave up. But, I had never given up on anything, and suddenly to ponder quitting seemed like a red flag. I have never been a particularly huge Justin Bieber fan to provide you with even more context. I like a couple of his songs, but overall, I have always had a neutral, phlegmatic attitude regarding the guy.

But then something interesting happened. I was a sophomore in college, and I had a former high school schoolmate who I did not like very much strut into my town and announce that they were going to go to his concert at the O2 Arena. The tickets were long sold out and impossible to get.

So I got to work, and I got two tickets. I sat front and center while they were in the last row, barely seeing the dude do his lip-syncing runs. And that´s the story of how resourceful a person can be, even when it comes to something they don´t care about.

That´s the level of pettiness that runs in my veins.

However, writing the entire book? It was the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. I was exhausted. I lost my passion for writing.

One fair afternoon, I was lying in bed and realized: This book was destroying my happiness.

The story was very personal.

After working with so many authors personally, I can confidently tell you that that is the case 98 percent of the time.

Once I admitted that to myself — that anytime I opened a Word document, all I saw was my struggles and pain, I realized I needed to re-cast the images in my head.


I started browsing, going down the internet rabbit hole, and looking for models and photographers I could use as a point of reference when writing. Finally, I found the images, made a mood board, named the models after my characters, and cast myself as just a conduit for their story.

And that helped me bridge not only the loss of passion but the loss of creativity. With these images in front of me, I started outlining what would happen to my characters and integrated that into the plot.

That´s how I finished and published. Now I´m writing my second book and doing the same thing because, even if the second book´s plot isn´t as personal, the themes of my life still bleed into it.

And I need to keep myself separate from that. So, if you can take away one thing from this article, it´s the advice that compartmentalization can be a highly effective writing tool.

Zara Miller
50k+ pageviews

Writer since Oct, 2020 · 20 published articles

Zara Miller is a published author, writer, and blogger. She is a graduate of Middlesex University London where she studied International Relations. Her debut YA novel I am Cecilia attracted the eye of prominent speaking conferences such as the Career Grad Festival and Association of Writers and Writing Programs and was nominated for a Reader's Choice Award.