When you start writing a book, the first few pages seem easy. It’s fresh, new and your motivation is at an all-time high. You’re excited by the new project and you find yourself writing lots of material whenever you can. However, after a few weeks, (or months) this newly found momentum can slow dramatically, which then, if not addressed quickly, can bring your book to a grinding halt.
As a ‘soon to be author’ myself, I am no stranger to the effects of ‘writers block’. However I noticed that my lack of motivation were also quite common with my clients, so I thought I would share with you the five common factors which seem to effect even the most prolific and creative types.
- Factor 1 – Fear of not being good enough
- Factor 2 – Lack of knowledge
- Factor 3 – Not clear on what to write about next
- Factor 4 – Burn out
- Factor 5 – No clear end date/lack of accountability
I know first-hand how frustrating it is when you get stuck. You are demoralised and get into negative thinking, which results in the book being put on hold, making it even harder to return too later.
So here are my suggestions to overcome these factors. The important thing is to believe in your ability, to keep going even if you think you’re not writing anything particularly good, as well as balancing proper time out and setting a realistic deadline.
Factor 1 – Fear of not being good enough.
I think any author will tell you that they – at some point – will say to themselves “is this any good?” And no doubt, you might too. But that is just your negative self-talk, trying to stop you from doing anything new or out of your comfort zone. Even writers of several books will think like this, as they will be asking “will this be as good as my last one?” The quickest way to overcome your fear is to get your writing looked at by other people and ask for their honest feedback, addressing any resulting issues from that process. If you’re already writing a blog, or writing articles online, then the chances are you’re better at writing than you think, and you just need to keep reminding yourself you’re imparting something valuable, and keep at it.
Factor 2 – Lack of Knowledge
If there is a section in your book that you’re not particularly clear on, then do some research! Don’t try and bluff your way through it, as this will come across in your writing. When I was struggling with a section in my book, I found myself putting it off and in fact stopped writing altogether. So to overcome it, I contacted an expert within that area, and asked if he would do an interview with me. He very kindly allowed me to record the call, and I asked him all the questions I needed clarification on. This helped me understand that particular subject, which then gave me the confidence to finish off the chapter. Google (and the internet in general) is a great resource, so if there is an area you’re not really sure on, then learn more about it before you start writing.
Factor 3 – Not clear on what to write about next
This comes down to poor planning. Before you start writing, it’s always a good idea to write a detailed blueprint plan, covering all of the chapter headings and subheadings that are going to be included in your book. If you didn’t, then stop and write one. Check out my ‘how to write your blueprint plan’, or if you do have a plan, revisit it, and make sure it’s in enough detail. If you’re struggling with where to go next, then it isn’t; amend it and you’ll be amazed how quickly you’re writing starts to flow again.
Factor 4 – Burn out
This can be mistaken for lack of motivation. You begin with great intentions, and usually burn out by the third or fourth week. Your fingers are sore from typing, and your head is frazzled and you find yourself not wanting to continue in such the same gusto that you started. So to combat this take a break! Not too long, you don’t want to lose momentum, but long enough to recharge your creative mindset and be inspired. Getting out of your environment is always effective, like going for a walk or doing something completely different. I also find that reading other peoples work helps, as it gives me another perspective, and usually confirms that I do know what I’m talking about and that I am just as good as the other authors I am reading. (This also helps with factor number 1 as well!)
Factor 5 – No clear end date/lack of accountability.
If you don’t have an end date in mind, then you will never be working towards something, you will just be working on something. Having a clear end date cements a sense of urgency and helps you prioritise your writing project. You can achieve this easily by getting an accountability partner, someone who is willing to impose a deadline, and help you keep your project moving forward. This can be a partner in your business, your family or even someone you hire. Check out my coaching programme to see if I can help you stay motivated and on track.
As Peter Capaldi (writer, director and actor) said in a recent interview on BBC Breakfast Television – “when it comes to writing, just do it. Write anything, get anything down. You can go and fix it later. But the key is to start. When you start something, the natural inclination is to then see it finished”.
Of course if you get stuck then take a look at the reason (not the effect) and be honest with the issue. My trusted rule is to leave anything that I’ve written for 24 hours – then re-look at it after that. Usually this allows enough time for you to read it from a more impartial viewpoint, and it makes the edits much easier.
If you feel you need some extra help, from planning to motivation, I can help you. Simply visit www.thebookrefinery.com/coaching to see how. Fill in the enquiry form, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get that book finished, printed and selling on Amazon.