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 Write a Book – Finding Time to Write

Many writers and aspiring authors say that they just don’t have the time that they need to finish (or even start) their book. At a recent speaking event I asked the audience  how many people wanted to write a book and a few raised their hands. I then asked them how many would want to write a book if they could find the time and knew how to get started – 95% of the audience raised their hands!  

Once you have the structure for your book, you will know how many chapters you need to write and can start the planning process.

For a normal paperback book, a chapter might run for 6 to 12 pages with each page having between 250 and 300 words. When you are ‘in the flow’, I reckon you can write a chapter in half a day to a day. To do this, you should resist the temptation to edit and research as you are going along. 

This means, for example, a twelve chapter book will take 6 to 12 days of your time to write. You will need to find this time or engage a ghost writer. 

To find this time, answer these questions: 

  • When are you most productive? 
  • What old habits can you change in your life to create this time? 
  • Do you have any ‘me time’ in your life and would you like some? 
  • Is it time for you to take a well deserved break? 
  • Does your desk or office need tidying? 

What unnecessary clutter do you want to remove from your life? 

Now it is said that every time you switch a task, you waste five minutes. So in preparation for writing, make sure you will not be interrupted.  

Get an answer phone if you haven’t already got one. Switch your mobile off. You may look at your emails every time they come in. Set your email application to get them every four hours.  

If you can be disciplined enough to write on a set day, tell all your family, friends and work contacts about it as they will respect you for it and leave you alone.  

You may watch 2 hours of soaps every evening to relax and switch off.  Now it may sound counter-intuitive but, once you break this habit, creative writing has many more therapeutic and relaxing benefits. Who knows you may even write your own soap!

By the way, if you like to learn how to stretch time so one hour seems like four or more, the techniques for doing this are what I teach on my courses and in one-to-one mentoring.  

To give you a clue how to do this, my best time management tip is one that sounds the most counter-intuitive. 

Before each writing session, spend 20-30 minutes meditating. If you are not sure how to meditate or have trouble silencing your over-active mind, just go for a walk or do some non-strenuous exercise – stretching, yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi are especially effective.  

What could be better than getting fit, having some ‘me time’ and writing a book at the same time. 

My philosophy by the way is always to create a ‘win win’ if not a ‘win-win-win’.  

You can find out more about writing and publishing your own book in my free Ebook – How to write a book and get it published.

How to write a GREAT book

So how do you go about writing a great book? 

How do you write a book that people tell other people to read?  

Well first you need to ‘go inside’ and examine why you are writing a book in the first place. If you want to pitch your book to a publisher, they will want to know the answers to these questions anyway so it’s worth considering them even if you are self publishing or writing an ebook. 

Take some time to think about the following and make some notes and these are the things you need to know for yourself and are the kind of questions that any potential publisher will want to know: 

  • Why you?
  • Why now?
  • What’s different about your book?
  • What genre does it fit into?
  • What other books is it like? 
  • What books do you like?
  • What are your influences?
  • Who is the target reader for your book?
  • What will the reader learn and take away as a result of reading your book?
  • What ideas do you have to find your target readers?
  • What are your aspirations as an author?
  • What do you plan to do under your own initiative to promote and sell the book?
  • What would you like to happen as a result of writing your book?
    • For you
    • For your business
    • For your readers
    • For the planet

You can find out more about writing and publishing your own book in my free Ebook – How to write a book and get it published.

Do you want to write a book – what’s stopping you?

It’s a commonly held belief that it’s difficult, or well nigh impossible, to get published.  This misconception stops many people starting to write in the first place. 

The reality is that it has never been easier and as inexpensive to get published. To get into the written and publisher quadrant, all you need to do is to write and then use the numerous options and routes now open to authors to getting your words in front of readers.  

With new print on demand technology, you can even have a printed book in your hand within a week. 

Better still, if you upload your writings to one of many ebook aggregator sites and you can ‘publish’ instantly. You can also upload your book so it can read on the new breed of ereaders from the likes of Sony and Amazon. The new breed of smartphones also allow ‘books’ to be read on the move.

There are several authors who have blogged their books and have got advances from publishers as a result.  There are even some intrepid scribes who are now using Twitter to the same end.

Even the traditional publishers are now getting in on the act and have set up social networks for writers to pre-publish their work. The ones that get the best reviews get picked up by editors and get commissioned. 

It’s important though not to put the cart before the horse though.

Before deciding on your route, or routes, to publication it is important that you discover what exactly are you going to write … and why? In my free Ebook – How to write a book and get it published – I talk more about this subject plus further information on the pros and cons to the many routes to publication