This time-sucking process, as outlined below, usually takes a year or two for most wannabe writers. I guarantee it works though. Follow this step-by-step guide, and you will never, ever, finish a manuscript to the point where it can be submitted and result in a sale.
1. Wait until everything is perfect in your life before starting.
2. Tell everyone you meet every detail about the book, discussing it endlessly before you ever put a word on paper, until you’re so bored with the idea that you’d rather wash windows than write the story.
3. Write whenever you feel like it rather than establishing a weekly quota of pages produced.
4. Write and rewrite the first chapter, not moving ahead until you have it perfect.
5. Get to chapter 2 and start thinking about the marketability of your book and realize you’re writing a courtship romance but erotica is the hot genre so you haven’t got a chance
6. Realize you haven’t yet become a Zen master of the writing craft and decide to read a baker’s dozen of how-to books before proceeding to chapter 3.
7. When you get to chapter 4, start obsessing that your (mom, dad, spouse, children, minister, friends, neighbors) will think you are perverted and/or nuts if this gets published and he/she/it/they read it.
8. When you get to chapter 5, start changing character names, hair colors, eye colors, occupations, emotional baggage or any of the other thousand details so that you must go back and change it all the way through, tinkering with every passage where you used the now obsolete word or phrase.
9. When you get to chapter 6, start sending it out to agents in a query/first chapter package so you will be crushed when they don’t express interest in your unfinished project, and you have to go back to the beginning and rewrite the whole thing before proceeding.
10. When you get to chapter 7, decide to join a critique group, jump into the first one you stumble across without any knowledge of the individual and/or group dynamics and level of expertise so that you’ll realize you’re writing crap when they pick it apart.
A novel is characterized by forward motion. So is the process of writing. Move forward until you reach The End. Then, and only then, is it the time to go back.