Letting Go of Perfectionism to Finish Your Book

writing book

Have you ever sat down to write your book, stalled, got distracted by something else, and couldn’t muster up the momentum to begin again?


Or, as you write, do you find yourself critiquing every sentence as you go, lacking creative flow, without much forward momentum? 

You’re not alone.

Becoming a published book author is a transformational journey filled with creativity and the exhilarating challenge of bringing your wisdom and expertise to the masses. And just like any journey of transformation, there are obstacles we must overcome to reach our desired destination.

If you’re ready to gain momentum and finish your book in a few months instead of years, I’ve got a simple hack for you:

Write your book without editing.

Wait, what?

What I mean is to let go of perfectionism and get the words onto the page. 

That might be terrifying advice for all of you (recovering) perfectionists out there. I get you. I am you. So, listen up. This hack is liberating, and it leads to massive productivity in finishing your book. I’m living proof, as are the dozens of published authors I have coached here at Modern Wisdom Press.


Introducing the Inner Editor and the Inner Author 

We all have two distinct parts of our brain: our left side of the brain, which is the source of our analytical, linear, organized thinking (aka our Inner Editor), and our right side of the brain (our Inner Author), from which our intuitive, insightful, creative ideas flow. 

Each is necessary to write a great book, yet for most aspiring authors who are stuck, these two sides of the brain are competing. Balancing them as you craft and write your book is a delicate dance. Yet, we must learn to engage our Inner Editor and Inner Author at the appropriate times to succeed. 

Our Inner Editor is vital in helping us organize and structure the content of the chapters to ensure our book is logical and clear and that our readers stay engaged from page to page. This job is the foundation of a strong outline for your book, or Throughline, as we call it. 

The Inner Editor loves to polish and perfect, too, which will come in handy after your first draft is complete. To finish your book, you must learn to tame the desire to edit as you write so your Inner Author can shine.

I was stuck writing my book for years because of my untamed Inner Editor before I figured this out. The Inner Editor can also disguise the voice of our Inner Critic, which can be why we procrastinate, perfect, or polish to no end if we haven’t addressed our subconscious fears and doubts about becoming a published author.

When you write without editing, you allow your creativity to flourish without judgment. Set firm boundaries by telling your Inner Editor to back off (until the first draft is complete) so that your Inner Author is free to write with flow.  Remember, your goal is just a first “rough” draft.   


To nurture your Inner Author, you must encourage it to come out to play. 

Once you’ve tamed your Inner Editor, create a writing container that feels safe, nurturing, and inspiring. Think of your Inner Author as the free spirit within, that inner child who wants to come out and play on the page. 

Turn on your favorite playlist, light a candle, wear something cozy, pour something delicious, and give your Inner Author permission for full creative expression. 

You can awaken your Inner Author by quieting the mind in meditation or guided visualization, artistic expression such as drawing, painting, collage, or other activities that engage the senses, like taking a shower or a stroll in nature. 

Our Inner Author is the channel for our intuition, and when we trust that inner voice, we are flooded with fresh ideas and new inspiration. By resisting the urge to edit prematurely, you create room for serendipity and the discovery of new and exciting ways to frame your book’s content.

Here are seven essential steps for nurturing your Inner Author:

  1. Block off time in your calendar to write when you won’t be interrupted. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, make sure it’s a productive time of day for you to write. 
  2. Commit to showing up for this sacred time. Accountability here is vital!
  3. Create a nurturing writing environment and begin with a meditation or centering breathing practice.
  4. Set a timer and only approach one subject of your book at a time.
  5. Write as if you’re talking to a friend, letting the words flow through you without worrying how they sound or getting hung up on grammar or punctuation. Set your Inner Author free, errors and all!
  6. If you get stuck, gently encourage your Inner Editor (or Inner Critic) to take the backseat so your Inner Author can drive. The goal is to get words onto the page. 
  7. Keep moving forward with the above steps one topic at a time. Do this chapter by chapter, and you’ll soon be looking at a finished first draft.

After your first draft of your manuscript feels complete (and not before!), it’s time to re-engage your Inner Editor to do what it does best: polish and perfect. Whatever path to publishing you choose, it’s always wise to have a professional book editor review the work before it’s published.

Engaging your Inner Editor and Inner Author at the appropriate times makes writing your book much more productive and enjoyable. Once your first draft is complete, you have a tangible and comprehensive framework to refine and polish, bringing you that much closer to becoming a published book author.


Further Support 

Are you seeking further support on your journey to write a transformational nonfiction book? We can help. If you're a conscious leader with an important message to share, we would love to connect. Tell us more about your vision by submitting this form, and we'll schedule a free connection call to help you explore the best next steps to birthing your book into the world.


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