Everyone knows how exciting a new project is. You’ve got loads of enthusiasm and energy and the project is coming along nicely. Coffee is flowing like your ideas. “Pah, this writing a book malarkey is a piece of cake… what’s all the fuss about?” Then BAM, out of nowhere, you grind to a halt. The flashing cursor is now taunting you and the voices start… “You can’t do this!”, “What were you thinking…”, “I’ve got nothing left to say!”, or even worse, “I don’t know what to say…”.
Eeesh. Not good.
Certainly not conducive to getting your book finished.
Don’t panic. I bet you you’re right in the middle… the bit where you can’t quite see the end but too far in to call it quits. The bit where the shiny new project syndrome has worn off and where the “I’ve spent too much time on this, but where do I go now?” kicks in.
Otherwise known as the book writing doldrums. It’s a very common place authors find themselves in and luckily there are a few things you can do to get the wind back in your sails.
How to get ‘unstuck’
Firstly, understand that getting stuck in the middle is very common. Knowing you’re not alone can help you pick yourself up and get back on it.
Second, use the tips below to get back on track.
- Remember your why. Why did you start writing this book in the first place? What’s the reason behind the project? Reminding yourself of this can instantly boost your confidence and inspiration.
- Re-visit your plan. This is where you (hopefully) spent a big part of your time and it’s the thing to lean on now your enthusiasm has taken a nosedive. If your plan isn’t in enough detail, then take a look at it and add to it. What do you need to add to get started again?
- Re-read what you’ve written. This will give you a sense of purpose and a reason to continue. You’ll probably be surprised at how good your writing IS!
- Work on another aspect of your book. Look at possible cover images, write your synopsis. This will add a much-needed boost to your project.
- Talk it through with a colleague or mentor. Writing a book can be a lonely task and getting the right help or accountability partner will help when you get stuck.
Also, remember, your subconscious is a very powerful influencer. Getting halfway through a project means you’re on your way to getting it finished and fear can play a big part in stalling your efforts. You MAY think you’re ready to get the book completed, but what that actually means is you’re going to be putting yourself ‘out there’ and people will be READING your book… this can send you back into a hole. Don’t let this thinking stop you!
Get out of your own way!
I had my book sitting on my hard drive for three years, nearly at completion but not quite there and I just couldn’t get it finished off. After confiding in my colleague and mentor about it, she replied, “Get out of your own way Alexa and get it done. People want to read what you have to share…” and she was right. I published it just a few weeks later. [You can buy my book here]
So, next time you’re in the ‘messy middle’ – take a look at your why, see how far you’ve come, revisit your plan and work on another aspect of your project. All those things will help with your energy and motivation to keep going.
If all else fails, ask for help. There are lots of professional editors, writing coaches and self-publishing experts who could work with you to getting it finished. Feel free to drop me a line on how I could do just that at firstname.lastname@example.org