Authors’ Block

And why it’s different from writer’s block

When you get asked the same thing three times in the same month, you know it’s time to blog about it.

Last month, three different authors came to me with the same tale of woe. Either a publisher had not delivered what they said they would or had let them down on a previous promise.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned the publishing industry is no different from any other – it has its stars, its stalwarts, its pretenders and wannabes and even its cowboys.

All three authors had completed manuscripts which were all well worthy of being published. So writer’s block wasn’t the problem, they were suffering from something equally insidious – Author’s Block.

The only reason I spotted this was I’ve had it too and only just cured it a few months ago. Since then, my world [and that of my clients] has opened up to a load of new possibilities.

The issue isn’t with the publisher, they are unconsciously picking up self-doubt in the author.

Fortunately, the cure is simple and it’s to take action and actions which lead to new levels of self-belief and motivation.

Here’s the seven things I told each author to do:

1. I told them to buy a copy of my new book Blocks and listen to the Becoming Fear-less MP3 visualisation – it’s transformational – you can do that here – and for good measure, to get a copy of The Wealthy Author

The last chapter tells all you need to know about Author’s Block and the others will be jolly useful too.

2. Ask yourself where else in your life this pattern of being let down by third parties you have no control over occurs. Ask yourself what is the common theme and learning to be had from tackling this pattern? Think about how your life would change beyond all recognition.

3. Upload your book to one of the many free ebook aggregator sites like Smashwords

Myebook

Freado

– let people read the first 3 chapters for free. Contact me if you need help technically.

4. Get a Twitter account and read this blog – Useful links for authors on Twitter

5. Buy a new and relevant domain name and start a blog.

6. Get an email account using this new domain name so as to look more serious and professional about your author brand (i.e. no @gmail or @aol)

7. As they were all fiction authors, I told them to submit their work to Harper Collin’s Authonomy & to tell all their friends to read it, review it and Tweet from the high hills about it.

12 Useful Twitter Links for Authors

Calling all authors, artists, creatives & musicians …  did you know you could use Twitter to do all of this ?

Post samples of your words
Post your pictures & art


Post audio readings of your work

Connect with other authors like these

100+ of the best authors on Twitter

70+ Non-fiction authors on Twitter

Find amazing mentors & coaches like these

The Creative Penn

Julia McCutchen

Jo Parfitt

The HotHive

Connect with publishers & literary agents like this

Hay House

Bloomsbury Books

Simon Trewin

To find out how to do this with ease and simplicity … and much much more … join me, Nick Tadd & Vanessa Warwick at Unleash the Tweet Within workshop

More details & registration here …

100 Years of Ermintrude – The Twitter Version

100 Years of Ermintrude, the Trilogy

My first foray into the world of print was to create a trilogy of ebooks called 100 Years of Ermintrude.

Each ebook consists of 33 four line stanzas and together the stories tell a poignant story of many generations of a family.

Little did I know when I wrote it that each stanza was around 140 characters or less.

Each book can be read in minutes but leaves a message about how to live your life that will last forever.

On the 30th July 2009 at 3:33pm GMT, I will be broadcasting the first of the trilogy on Twitter.

Due to Twitter/Tweetlater restrictions on posting, there will be 12 stanzas per hour – so tune back it at 4:33pm, 5:33pm and 6:33pm for the full story …

Either “watch” my Twitter feed – www.twitter.com/thebookwright tomorrow at 3:33pm and you should see a stanza appear every minute.

If you miss it, you can search for the #ohyoe hashtag on Twitter Search

I’d be really grateful if you could tell your followers and retweet this event as much as possible.

Here’s what people have been saying about it …

“Truly a touching piece of work and artistry wonderfully complimented by the guitar music. Thought provoking to the extent I just wanted to ‘hug’ someone.” – SarahJayne Caffray

“I watched/listened to Ermintrude with a couple of friends. If is fantastic, really moving. It made us all sit back and think. Afterwards the room was quiet for a few minutes. It was strange, we then starting talking about who each character was. Definitely a profound effect. Then we watched it again.” – Denise Harris

“Stop, look and listen. Read, learn and inwardly digest. I’m touched and delighted. I’m quiet.” – Jackie Walker

“Stunning, I cried, that’s all” – Maurice Watts

“Ermintrude was a physical, spiritual and emotional journey designed for the soul. A feast for the senses, a harmonic blend of music, voice, and art and prose. A piece to reflect and time out for those who are too busy wasting time instead of living life.” – frankie picasso

Add to Cart

The Ermintrude Years Trilogy @ £4.99 : download version

Includes 3 PDF ebooks including:

  • 100 Years of Ermintrude
  • 25 Years of Tristan
  • 65 Years of Lucy

PLUS, SPECIAL BONUS: the MP3 version of 100 Years of Ermintrude

You can also get the printed version of 100 Years of Ermintrude on Amazon

If you want to know how to do this sort of broadcast and more – and to find out the results of what happens when you do this – come to the Twitter Tactics workshop on the 5th August in the Surrey Hills

Details & registration here …

Is writers block really stopping you from writing your book?

We are all experts at creating reasons why we haven’t finished (or perhaps even started our book). How do I know this? Because I have been a master at inventing more important things to do than write. 

You can so easily become a ‘busy fool’ or, if you are like me, you put the needs of others (and your bank account) ahead of getting on with the writing of your books. There is nothing wrong or insidious about this, it’s just a fact of life especially in these credit crunchy days. 

Make no mistake, by writing your book there is no guarantee of instant riches and retirement. Like the lottery, you have to play and be in the written and published category to have any chance of ‘winning’. You will also learn your craft and about the vagaries of the publishing industry by writing and publishing something no matter how small. 

Perhaps it’s a collection of poems or short stories. The literary world is full of authors who only ‘made it’ through tenacity and persistence. Some also only achieve fame posthumously. While this might not be of any benefit to you, just think of how you can leave a cultural legacy for the world and perhaps a financial legacy for your family. 

Speaking personally, I cashed all my pensions in early before they lost even more money and I plan not only to make my writings my passive income but also to have life style that supports what is essentially a hobby. 

Apart from financial considerations, you may have a full time job or a family to look after. The latter of course being a full time job in itself. Of course, you may have both. I am sure you will be able to think of many factors that will contrive against you getting on with writing. 

For example, the physical space you want to write in may be messy and there’s a much needed clear out to be done. 

Now I am a great believer in the win-win situation as a motivator. Forgetting for a moment about the benefit of having a book published, this little exercise at the end of this article is designed to find out what will stop you from getting your book written.  In the second part of the exercise you will elicit the collateral benefits in other areas in your life you will achieve by writing your book. 

Exercise: Identifying Blocks

List the things that you think are currently preventing you from getting started with a book. Here are some examples:

  • Full time job
  • Family commitments
  • Untidy office
  • No computer at home
  • Needing to do some research first
  • Confidence in writing
  • Lack of self esteem
  • Fear of ridicule, failure or success

Now list things in your life you would like to change, perhaps some bad habits:

  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Watching too much television
  • Issues at work
  • Family or relationship problems
  • Playing computer games

Finally, write down how you would feel if you managed to not only write and publish a book but also deal with these issues in your life. 

You can find out about the numerous ways to banish writers block in my new book BLOCKS!

How to beat writer’s block – get in the groove!

The more you write, the better you get at it and, not only that, but you will find your vocabulary improves. Conversely, you can choose not to practice and you may get rustier.  

Like all mental activity, writing uses dedicated areas in the brain. Simply doing it brings blood with oxygen and nutrients to that part of the brain and the connections between neurons are exercised, strengthened and multiplied.  

If you want to run that marathon, you would start by building up stamina, muscle strength and endurance with some shorter runs. You may also meet and speak with some people who had done it to get some tips. Unlike marathon running though, you can stop for a rest anytime when writing and just begin again when the mood takes you.  

The exercise at the end of this article is to be repeated daily and is designed to work the bits of your brain that perhaps are somewhat neglected.  It’s a technique recommended by Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way’ which I shamelessly borrow here. By the way, I thoroughly recommend you read her book as there are loads of other great tips too.  

Julia recommends you write something every day, ideally just after waking and in a quiet environment. She calls them “morning pages”. If you want to make them your midday or evening pages, that’s fine too and feel free to write more than once a day. If you wake in the early hours, writing can be very cathartic and help you get back to sleep once you’ve downloaded those ‘inner thought’.

You may also find that writing a blog each day works for you. As mentioned before, many books have emerged from blog.  

What happens is that all of a sudden you see that a collection of your writings and musings can be collated into a whole book and, without knowing it, you’ve written it. They may be a selection of short stories or poems. It may be a self-help or personal development book like this one which came from a set of PowerPoint exercises I run in my workshops that I then scripted and narrated for an online course.  

Breaking the writing of a book down like this also allows you to serialise it, say either in a magazine or perhaps in an email autoresponder sequence. 

Exercise: Getting in the groove

Complete 2-3 sheets of your A5 reporter’s pad or a couple of sheets of A4 every morning. This exercise should be done every day in lieu of actually writing your book.

You can write anything you like and here are some examples:

  • Base your writing on your dreams
  • Describe the events of yesterday, especially what was good
  • Describe your ideal day ahead or be creative & make up your best day ever
  • Describe the room you are in–or the room you would like to be in
  • Have a go at the next chapter of your book you are stuck on
  • Write some poetry
  • Write a blog you want to post that day
  • Write a story in just Six Words or Six Sentences

Spend between 10 & 20 minutes on this exercise – or, if you find you get in flow, keep writing. You will be amazed what comes from this process.  

You can find out about the numerous ways to banish writers block in my new book BLOCKS!

Karmic Rights Management

krm_logoI am often asked by both new and experienced writers how you go about protecting your books in the digital age.

In these days when you can blog a story or submit an ebook to one of many new sites like Myebook, YouPublish and Smashwords, what’s to stop anyone stealing and copying your work illegally?

If you submit your novel to a author community site like Authonomy, what’s to stop someone stealing your idea and writing their own book on the subject?

Well if you think about it … not a lot and it’s not much different from how it has been since Caxton invented the printing press.

If you produce a printed book, there is nothing to stop anyone photocopying it. How many times have you borrowed a book and read it and not paid the author or the publisher a penny? How many times did you not give it back?

For digital products, you can add password protection but there is nothing to stop someone telling someone else the password. Even if the digital rights management is tied down to a particular computer as it is for Myebook and iTunes, there is nothing to stop people other than the purchaser enjoying the work.

I am sure when you write your book, you didn’t do it in isolation of any influences from other authors, friends, colleagues or teachers.

By far the best way by far to protect your work is to look at your behaviour and modify it so it’s karmically balanced.

Now I am not trying to preach here or be holier than thou – this is just good common sense and politeness and I too have fallen foul of not playing by the karmic rule book.

My seven top tips for karmic rights protection

1. Don’t run the fear your work will be copied

2. If you use a quote or concept from another writer, give them some credit in a Thanks section of your work or, at least, list their book in references

3. Be open to your payback coming back in another form other than the sale of your books

4. Don’t steal another writer’s work

5. If you like a book you borrowed, buy a copy or buy another book from the same writer

6. Give loads of stuff away for free

7. Be thankful for everything you receive

_________________________________________________

– just think  what it would be like to live & breathe in a world that worked to these principles, it’s within our grasp & starts with each one of us today

Related blog – How to Void Karma

Unleash the ebook inside you competition

Myebook - Unleash Your eBook Inside Competition - click here to open my ebook

We have launched a free competition on the new platform myebook to find new and exciting writing talent.

myebook is a completely free platform with is like YouTube for ebooks. It allows authors to post their work for free and incorporate a range of multimedia components like audio narration and video interviews with the author.

The competition is running until the end of June 2009 and is open to both new authors and authors who have previously self published. Submissions can be whole books, sample chapters from books just started or published or even poetry and inspiring works of non-fiction.

The prizes are just amazing. First prize is a bespoke cover design by Huw-J, the designer of the Garth cartoon strip and a month’s worth of mentoring from Tom Evans, the Bookwright. The winner will also get front page billing on the myebook web site for a month too.

The competition will be judged by Caroline Taggart of Writer’s Market 2010, Sy Whitehall who is the Head of Communications at myebook and Tom Evans, The Bookwright.

The winning entries will be judged on both literary and artistic merit as well as how they use the rich functionality of the myebook platform. Extra kudos can be earned for the inventiveness of the viral campaign to publicise the author’s work and how many views and ratings the ebook receives.

For details on the competition and the excellent prizes, have a look at this ebook …

http://www.tinyurl.com/myebookcompetition

To enter the competition, visit www.thebookwright.co.uk/myebookcompetition