FIVE ways to help you put pen to paper when you feel stuck.
We’ve all been there, it's time to write and nothing is happening. It's frustrating. I wanted to provide FIVE proven tools to help you act on actually writing your book.
First and foremost: the outline. If, and only if, you have an air tight outline will you be able to actually work though writing your book. I was fortunate to hear Ibram X. Kendi, the author of Stamped From the Beginning and How to be an Anti-Racist give advice to Davidson students on writing a book.
His biggest advice was to have a flushed out outline. He shared that if your outline is where it needs to be then it is only a matter of deciding which topic to start with verses having to come up with all the areas to write about which can halt the process. I thought this was excellent advice!
1. So number one is of course, go back to your outline. What is most exciting to you? Dive into that topic! Remember the saying, “The first draft is always the SFD (the shitty first draft)! What’s important is getting ideas from your head onto the page.
2. Switch it up! Do something different, like go for a walk or work out on the treadmill (if that’s your think) and as ideas come to mind, record them! Then go back and transcribe what you wrote.
3. Take a beat. Break down what is the reason you are reluctant and then reverse engineer it. If you want more knowledge, then act on that. Research, read, take notes though and don’t just go down a rabbit hole. If it’s that you don’t feel that your outline is defined enough, work on that a little. These things are all helping to move you in the right direction.
4. Read in your genre. See if by reading you are inspired by anything that you want to go deeper with in your own book.
5. Write Morning Pages. It was developed by Julie Cameron. The short version of what Morning Pages is is that you keep a notebook on your nightstand or on your desk and before you do anything else you hand write your first thoughts first thing in the morning when the creative juices are flowing. You are not “working on your book” you’re just flexing your creative juices and reminding yourself that you are a person that can write. Read more about it HERE. And here is also a short video of explaining it.
If you find that maybe not having an outline is a bigger issue than you realized then I can help! I work with my author coaching clients to help develop their outlines. With my author coaching service I offer a brainstorming session that helps you develop your outline. Clients mention that it is one of their favorite exercises. It is NOT your 8th grade English teacher’s approach to outlining. I also offer a consultation call where we can focus just on your outline for an hour. Learn more about both services here!