You’ve started with passion and you’re driven to get that book written and out to your readers.
Then one day you wake up and instead of feeling joyful, fun and exciting you feel like you never want to see it again.
What do you do? Give up?
No – there are a couple of explanations for this and let me reassure you it’s normal – completely normal.
1) Writer’s slump – this happens at a different stage for every writer, but the chances are you will experience it at some point while you’re writing your book.
What does it ‘look like’ so you will recognise it?
For me its usually around chapter 12 or 30 000 words and from memory Ian Rankin gets there at about page 62 or 63. I hit a wall – I’ve written loads – I’ve loved it and then – boom! The flow just stops, and I realise that while I’ve written a LOT there is so much more to go.
Answer: This is a great strategy for anyone who gets to this place. First, remind yourself what your motivation is for writing this book. Are you motivated by seeing your name on your published book? If so, one easy way to help is to draft a book cover on the free version of Canva, print it out and put it where you can see it. If you are motivated by not wanting the answer to be ‘I’m still writing it…’ when people ask how your book is going then set a date and imagine yourself saying ‘Actually its published, you can get a copy at …’
Next and this is a great strategy for so many difficulties in writing. Stop trying to write your book fast. Start scheduling 10minute daily slots and just achieving ‘bite-size’ pieces of your book every day.
It doesn’t matter if this writing doesn’t feel right or good enough – that can be resolved in the editing. Just keep telling your story and keep that daily writing practice up. Stopping completely isn’t a good idea – you still need to get that book written. Write for 10minutes a day, even if you feel as though you are forcing the words. Your mojo, muse or creative flow will come back – I promise.
2) You’re lost in the content – this is so common. Many first-time authors are worried they don’t have enough to say in a whole book. The truth is that is very rarely true. As a result, they try to shoehorn everything into one book and then lose sight of the purpose of their book.
Answer: There are a couple of options to resolve this. If you are writing a non-fiction or business book – on a piece of paper go back to a very basic outline. Write the working title of your book – nothing fancy – just what it is e.g. Dealing with anxiety at work. Put that title in two places – the first in front of where you work so you can refer to it if you start to go off on a tangent. Second at the top of your basic outline. In the outline in bullet points list the subjects that must be included in THIS book and make them chapter headings. Under those chapter headings – also in bullet points – note the key points that must be included in this book.
Using this very basic outline will refocus you on what book you are trying to write. Follow it and if you are about to write about something that is not on that outline, stop and decide whether it should have been included because its relevant or dispense with it because it’s not necessary.
3) Writer’s block – there are so many causes of writer’s block:
Answer: Don’t do it! Write and leave your editing, reviewing and researching until another day – in a separate session.
Answer: This usually happens when you are trying to finish your writing in a sprint. That can work as we know – some people can write their books in extremely short periods of time. However, especially if you have to work, study or have children at the same time it can be a recipe for burnout. The answer is to switch to a marathon, at least for a while. What do I mean by that? Start scheduling in 10minutes a day writing sessions and just sticking to those. It will stop you feeling overwhelmed, keep your writing up so you don’t fall behind and get frustrated. Even if those words feel wooden and uninspired get them down – editing will fix the flow.
Answer: Take yourself out of the picture. This book, story, novel is not about you – its about your reader. Focus on them and remember that if you don’t get that book out, they will never be able to read it and be helped and inspired. They don’t need a perfectly written book – they need to hear your story!
What shouldn’t you do?
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