Monday, 11 July 2016

Dream About The Endgame

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re working on a big project. Something like a novel or a non-fiction book, both requiring lots of research, can have you scratching your head when it comes to working out what needs to be done next, where do you go to find out the next bit of research, and will you ever get the project finished?

It’s at times like this when a little dreaming is to be encouraged. Take ten minutes and let your mind wander … into the future, to when your big project is complete. Because that’s the moment all of your efforts are pushing towards. And if you keep going, no matter how tiny the steps forwards seem to be, you will eventually get there.

Several of my writing friends are seeing big writing project journeys coming to an end, or rather, they’re seeing the product of all of their efforts coming to fruition. They’ve been wrapped up in the First World War for the Pen & Sword series … in the Great War: books that focus on towns and villages during the 1914-18 conflict. 

Two weeks ago, Janet Johnstone’s book, Oswestry & Whitchurch in the Great War, was published. 

Next month, Julie Phillips sees her book, Kidderminster in the Great War, published...

 and Chris Owen’s Wellington in the Great War will be published the following day. 

Actually, it’s been a busy year for Julie, because she’s also had two other books (Ludlow in the Great War, and Newport in the Great War) published this year.

Last year was a busy year for them. As a bystander, it was intriguing to watch their efforts, and frustrations. There was lots of moaning about staring at microfiche readers for hours on end, looking for any useful snippets from local newspapers. There was also lots of excitement about going and chatting to people whose family members were involved in the Great War. There was frustration at sourcing photographs, and then there was joy at getting all their efforts packed up and sent to their publishers.

But despite all of that pressure, they continued. And this year they’re seeing the rewards for all that hard work (and it is hard work). By 31st August, between them there will be FIVE books published that didn’t exist at the start of the year. That’s five tangible products for them to hold up proudly and say, “I did this!” (And don’t forget, because these are books, that’s five books that are being sent to the five legal deposit libraries ( across the UK and stored for the nation forever.)

So if you’re in the middle of big writing project, and you feel despondent about whether you’ll ever finish it, give yourself a few moments to dream. Dream about the day when you hold the results of your project in your hand. Dream about what the front cover might look like. Remember it, and remind yourself that this is what you’re working towards. Because as long as you keep moving forward, you will get there.

Good luck.


  1. Hee,hee, thank you, Simon. I know when I first started researching and writing them, I wondered if I'd completely lost my mind signing up to do the three books, not entirely sure I'd ever get them done.

    I think the key thing for me was the perseverance and not letting obstacles or mishaps stop me from reaching the end goal. Got to stay focussed.

    Nice feeling now they're all done and dusted and I'm on to my fourth book with them!

    Well done, Jan and Chris too. Our hard work and determination (sheer bloody mindedness) won out!

    1. Yep, staying focussed it the way forward. You've all proved that!

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  3. Thanks Simon. Really helpful post and it has definitely inspired me to keep going with my Downton Abbey related book, which my local radio station described as my "lifetime's work". Gulp!!

    1. Yes, do keep going. It might feel a challenge now, but you'll enjoy the feeling when you reach the end!