Hello?

 

Oh good, there you are.

 

Let’s cosy down over here and ignore the world for a bit, yes?

 

So. I’ve had a lot of people tell me lately, “I want to write a book, but I’m stuck/bored/can’t get moving/it’s not working.”

If that’s you, then this post is especially for you, crafted with love. Well, crafted with fire in the belly – close is good enough, yes?

Imma tell you some stuff about book writing, that you might or might not know or might or might not like. Ready?

 

What can you do when your book just won't let you write it_

 

Sometimes writing a book can feel like you’re trying to communicate your innermost, deepest thoughts with only a crayon taped to your non-dominant hand.

 

You’d rather do all the housework, finishing by polishing the cat than sit down at your keyboard to write.

 

At these times, it can be good to take a break. INORITE?? BRAINWAVE!!

 

Really though, it can.

 

When it feels like it’s harder than a hard thing to sit and write, it might mean several things:

  • Your idea needs further development
  • You’re unclear about what direction your book’s taking
  • There’s more information needed in order for you to move forward, or
  • You’re expecting too much from your idea

 

Whatever you do, don’t panic.

Let’s go through each of those points so that you know what they mean, and what to do about them.

That way, you can stop, do what needs to be done, and then continue – without getting stuck and spinning your wheels. ‘Cause that’s not fun!

 

#1 Your idea needs further development

If this is the case, you’ll find that you have great general ideas about what to write, but when it comes down to it, you’re coming up with nothing.

If you’re writing about a process that you’ve come up with, or a technique that you’re pioneering, but you’re still within the first five years or so of your business/modality, this is most likely to happen to you.

What to do?

Give yourself time. It might not be the right time to write your knowledge into a book yet.

A book is a long-game project, not something you can bash out on a whim.

Most authors I’ve worked with who’ve been happiest with their books have let them sit for a period of time, to allow ideas to percolate and make their book better.

Write blog posts, create short courses, ebooks and small offerings that hone your ideas. Let them grow over time.

Then, revisit your book idea in 6 months to a year. (Yes, it WILL wait that long, no matter what Liz Gilbert says in Big Magic.)

You’ll probably have loads to say.

 

#2 You’re unclear about what direction your book’s taking

With this one, it’s possible to feel that your idea needs further development, like in point #1, but it’s not the case.

Often if you’re unclear, you’ve just not honed in enough.

It’s not enough to say you want to “write a book to help people”. You have to know what problem you’re solving, or exactly what knowledge you’re imparting, otherwise you’ll go off on tangents all over the place and it’ll end up jumbled.

What to do?

To solve this one, I’d suggest having a planning session or two.

Set aside some time to brainstorm, organise your notes and then nail down a really solid structure for your book.

This does two things:

  • It tells you exactly what to say and when, and
  • It tells you when to stop.

These two things are incredibly important for you to know when you’re writing. So, get planning, then get writing. (of course, it may be that you discover that you ARE at #1 through doing this. In that case, proceed as suggested and give it a rest for a while as you develop your process.)

#3 You need more info before you move forward

You might think that this is too super simple.

And in some ways it’s true, but I get SO many authors coming to me with this problem that it’s worth mentioning here.

If you’re scraping the barrel for information, then you will feel like you can’t write your book, and will stall.

What to do?

The solution is to fill up your well again: research, read, get more information on the subject you’re writing about and let it all mix, then you can write about it all from your own particular point of view.

It’s not being unoriginal, we all need things to galvanise our thought processes.

 

#4 You’re expecting too much from your idea

And sometimes, you might just need to face the fact that the idea that you thought might be a book is actually not going to make it.

It might be a blog post series, or a short ebook, but try to stretch it to 50,000 words, and all you get is filler and fluff.

It’s much better to realise this when you’re 20,000 words in, rather than once a bloated 50,000 has been published with your name on it, believe me!

What to do?

In this case, you can do a few things:

  • Figure out what else you can do with the material – guaranteed there might be something. Course, ebook, short video series, a great freebie to offer your tribe…
  • Shelve it for a while as per the advice for #1, and see if it will fly 6 months to a year later (set a reminder to review it!) or
  • See whether the idea can be expanded to include other things you teach or know about. You might have narrowed it down too much.

Whatever you do, just know that you’re not alone. There are a LOT of people out there who want to write books and who are overcoming their own stuck, creative dry spells and just plain old procrastination.

Have you hit a dry spell? Come to where the inspiration’s fresh: the Book.Write.Now Facebook group is a free place online where you can get support from writers who are in the process just like you.

Join up today + get writing!

 

How to keep going when you’ve lost the plot. (Pun totally intended…)
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