How to Get My Writing Back on Track
“Change happens when you take the smallest step possible, not when you try to take the biggest.” – Azul Terronez
Writer’s block doesn’t go away after you’ve written your first book. Each time you sit down to write, it can feel like a creative resistance — like you can’t even put words on the page, or like it’s not real at all.
But it is real — for you and every other author out there. The creative block shows you what you’re meant to do. It’s a sign to keep persevering and write. No one else can share your story, your unique views on life, and your understanding of the world.
The culprit, most likely, is imposter syndrome, and it’s just one of the topics I’m covering in this week’s episode of “Author’s Who Lead,” my second solo show that answers YOUR biggest questions about your greatest writing challenges.
So let’s get into it!
“How do I pick my book idea?”
Sometimes, writer’s block is just having too many ideas in your head. All the options seem exciting and you feel stuck on which one to choose.
I tell my authors that once they start writing, ideas are born in pairs, or triplets, or quadruplets — and then the tendency is to try to stuff all those ideas into one book. But many ideas can’t be written at one time, and if you try, you’ll lose readers.
The solution is to draw all of these ideas out of your head, visually. Don’t make a list. Take your time, look at each idea and decide which ones stir up the most excitement — which ones feel the most important to you.
After all, you are committing your time and energy to your book, so it must inspire you when writing or life gets hard. You need to know why you’re choosing this idea. Does it give you a sense of satisfaction or enthusiasm? Is it meant to grow your platform, network, or business?
Trying to figure out which idea is a “good idea” is a belief that one idea has more value than others, but your book is made for you, alone, to write — and the universe or muse will instruct you how to choose the ideas behind it. To start, narrow them down to two or three, and figure out which one excites you the most.
“How do I start my book when I feel overwhelmed?”
Even if you’ve written a book before, it can be daunting to begin a new one. Starting with an outline or a random chapter might sound like a good idea, but it can often lead to feeling overwhelmed.
Our “Authors Who Lead” process encourages authors to, visually, pour out all of their ideas for the book first. Sketching and drawing, instead of creating lists and outlines, can help our creative right brain engage — and prevents our left brain from taking control.
Once you get all your ideas out of your head, you can then follow a path to create your book. We would all like our books to write themselves, but it doesn’t work that way. You will need a system or plan once you’ve decided on your idea.
This is where “Book Camp Live” comes in.
In our upcoming three-day event, authors will plan out their entire books on the first day, followed by creating publishing and marketing plans on days two and three. Taking these small, incremental steps during the writing process is key to not feeling overwhelmed, or second-guessing yourself.
As you follow the steps toward putting your ideas onto the page, keep in mind that ideas and books can change. Be flexible.
“How do I overcome imposter syndrome and face the blank page?”
Writer’s block can also strike as we face imposter syndrome. When we hold a belief of unworthiness, it keeps us from putting our ideas onto the page.
Remember, you are qualified because you are the only person in the world who can write your particular book. You’re qualified because of your life, your credentials, your knowledge, and your unique viewpoint.
You are worthy because you choose yourself. No one else chooses us. There is a reason you were inspired to write! Imposter syndrome is just a cue that you’re on the right path. You are an author.
Your “why” — the big, scary reason that you’re writing this book — supersedes imposter syndrome. Other people’s opinions about your idea is none of your business. Claim your “why” and put in the work.
“Do I use my real name, or a pen name?”
There are different reasons you might use a pen name. You might not want others knowing you’re writing a certain type of book or genre, or your book may jeopardize your full-time job.
But if you want to be known for your name, or you want your book to lead to speaking opportunities, then you may choose to write under your real name.
“How do I get back on track when life gets in the way?”
Life can often get us off track with our writing. Sometimes, you may need to slow down and take care of personal obligations for a time.
But if you’re unwilling to sacrifice your book, I suggest steering clear of the exact same routine you had before life intervened. Small accomplishments can go a long way in moving forward with your book.
Set a timer for something simple, like eight minutes, and when the timer goes off, take a break and don’t stress about doing more. If you are only able to write eight minutes a day, which averages 250 words, you could finish two books in one year!
Big steps can seem too hard to take, so just take small ones. Every single step is important, especially when there are so many obstacles that we face as authors.
But you can overcome them all. Just remember:
- When you have too many ideas, or don’t know how to start your book, the first step is, visually, getting out all of your ideas on paper. This helps engage our creative brains.
- Imposter syndrome is just your cue that you’re on the right path. Know that you are qualified to write your book. You are the only one who can do it — because your life, credentials, knowledge and viewpoint are all unique to you.
- Choosing to write under a pen name or your real name is a matter of how you want to be known.
- When life gets in the way of your writing, step out of your old routine. Start by working in small increments, like eight minutes at a time.
What was your biggest takeaway from the episode? In the comments, share your greatest challenge in writing your book, and how you overcame it.
That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside you that needs to be written, know that you can beat any obstacles you encounter. Don’t delay — every step forward with your book is important.
Apply to work with Authors Who Lead: https://authorswholead.com/coaching
Sign up for the three-day Book Camp Live: https://authors-who-lead.mykajabi.com/awl-book-camp-live