4 TIPS TO SMASH WRITER'S BLOCK
Over the last few years since my first book was published, I’m often asked:
“How do you get it written?! I want to write a book, I’ve got the idea, and I just can’t seem to get going.”
“I’ve started and I can’t finish, I’m resisting it so badly.”
Each time, I’ve shared a few simple tips, and I’ve received countless updates saying “The book is written, thank you!!” and even “I got it done, I’m meeting an agent today!”
So, just in case I’m sitting on some magical secret for getting a book written, and you’ve been thinking about writing your own, I thought you might like the insights.
(I also use these tricks for getting any writing done if I’m struggling to get going, whether it’s a blog or something for a website.)
(This week I’m going to post this on the blog too, so you can find it here or just keep reading - the whole thing is below.)
1. Say you’ll write for three minutes.
It can be even shorter. One lady I gave this tip to I muscle tested for her and it was to commit to writing for 64 seconds! The point is to pick a time that feels like ‘ok I can totally do that’. And without fail, by the time the three minutes (or the 64 seconds) is up you’re tapping away at the keyboard and you think ‘I might as well carry on now’.
2. Use noise-cancelling headphone + a continuous mix.
This is two tips in one but for me they’re essential and work like magic. I’m easily distracted by sound – especially when I’m in resistance mode. Noise-cancelling headphones are the best thing ever for helping with focus! And here’s the secret sauce: listen to music that’s a continuous mix. The Ministry of Sound do these great ‘Chilled’ albums with laidback house and they often have three ‘continuous mixes’ at the end. Because there’s no pause between the tracks your brain doesn’t get interrupted every few minutes. Plus - after a while of using the same music, certain mixes immediately signal to my brain that it’s ‘writing time’ and you just crack on with it!
3. Sit quietly + breathe first.
It’s so tempting to immediately start writing. And if you can close your eyes and take a few deep breaths for a couple of minutes, you relax into a state of mind where ideas and thoughts can start to download and flow to you. Having an idea of what to write before you start makes things flow so much more easily, but if the ideas aren’t coming, sit down and sit still and something always comes to mind!
4. Question the mind monkeys.
The first three tips are often enough to get the words flowing. If you still feel stuck though, here are a couple of deceptively simple questions to figure out why:
“What’s really going on here?”
“What am I afraid will happen if I finish this book?”
Maybe you don’t actually want to write a book but you feel like you should. Maybe (and this is a common one) you have no idea how to find a proof-reader or an editor or design a book cover and those things have turned into a headache so it’s ‘easier’ to just not write the book. Maybe you don’t want anyone to read the book, so if it’s not written, they can’t. Maybe you only want the book to be read by people who like it. Maybe you don’t want to have to edit your work or do a second draft.
I get it!
When you’ve identified what’s really going on, then you can just reassure the mind monkeys that all of those things will get taken care of; right now there’s nothing to worry about; you can cross all those bridges when you get there.
(And always, always show your writing first to someone who’s only going to say nice things about it; unless you have nerves of steel and skin like rhino-hide, your first freshly-crafted creations are not best shared with ‘devil’s advocates’ (aka devil’s knobheads).
So there you have it, my four tips for smashing through writer’s block and getting your book written.
Happy scribing friends!
Lots of love