Has your muse scarpered?
Are you trapped in a post-Christmas calorie-induced fog when it comes to knuckling down to writing?
Is writer’s block hampering your exciting 2021 writing plans?
Then let me help you make writer’s block a thing of the past with my top tips to help you get back in your writing zone after the festivities.
Happy New Year! Do we still say that when we’re into the third week of January? Who knows?! How are you feeling after that wonderful battery recharge? Did you have loads of writing ideas flood in while you stepped away from your work routine over Christmas? Oh my gosh, so did I. On quite a few occasions, I had to leave the cooking or washing up or pause my latest Netflix series binge (The Crown, if you want to know) to grab a pen and notebook before the idea floated back out of my brain. It’s usually the case, isn’t it? The ideas seep through when we least expect them. I love it.
So if, like me, you’re really happy about returning to your desk after the Christmas break and full of ideas for new books, new projects and new publications, then that’s great. But what if you’re not?
What if your writing muse and mojo’s stuck in last year mode and you can’t fire up those creative juices again? Don’t worry! I have some inspirational tips and tricks to help you shift writer’s block and resume your creative writing genius! Feel free to try whatever works.
Commit to writing for a set amount of time each day
Even if you’re not in the mood to write, just grab your pen and notebook and write. Free write. Journal. Write down any old nonsense. Write about what you can see out of the window. Anything. Just write. This really is the best way to overcome writer’s block. Half an hour a day is enough if you’re forcing yourself to do this task at first. So set your timer, commit to writing for that full half hour and be productive. You could write so much in that space of time – a couple of paragraphs for your book, the scoping out of a few blogs or social media posts, a book outline or even some new lead magnet ideas.
Switch off your distractions before you start too. And once your thirty minutes are up, check in with yourself. How do you feel now you’re finished writing? Chances are, once you’ve done this for a day or two, you’ll reset your time for a little bit longer.
Set regular, realistic deadlines and break down your goals into smaller ones
When you’re feeling lethargic and fuzzy after too much time away from your writing brain, it can be hard to get going again. But if you set a deadline for a project you really want to complete, this can pull you out of your fog. Setting writing deadlines must be a regular habit if you’re serious about writing because even small efforts can miraculously improve your word output. Deadlines give you the impetus to get something done and spur you into action. Realistic deadlines are the best type though. Don’t set one which instantly smack you in the gut with overwhelm.
Don’t, for example, task yourself with writing 10,000 words of your book by the end of the month because chances are, you won’t. Instead, break it down into weekly and daily goals. You need to write 2,500 words a week if you’re going to meet your month-end goal. That’s just 500 words a day (Monday to Friday – you can have the weekend off to recover if you need to!). And 500 words is literally 2 paragraphs. Now doesn’t that seem more achievable? Oh, and if you miss a day’s writing for whatever reason, don’t write off the entire project. Add the extra word count to your weekly total or catch up at the weekend. Ticking off these small daily tasks each day does wonders for your confidence and your mojo.
Make yourself accountable
Making yourself accountable, either by posting your weekly writing goal on social media or in any writing groups or forums you’re part of is often all the whip-cracking you need to fire up your creativity again. Not convinced? Well think about how you’ll feel once you’ve pledged your intention on your Facebook page on a Monday morning and return on Friday shouting about your progress? It’s another fantastic confidence booster and feels so much better than squirming and hoping no-one’s realised you haven’t posted your results or feels the need to ask how you got on. Follow my Facebook page if you’d like some motivation, inspiration and general writing, publishing, book-ish chat. www.facebook.com/selfpublishingservicesUK or come and join my free Facebook Group: The Writer’s Sanctuary
Remind yourself ‘WHY’ you write
If you write for a living then your ‘why’ isn’t just to pay the bills. Dig deep here. Is it more about having the freedom to buy yourself or your family treats at the end of the month? Take them all out for a meal, buy your daughter those (how much?!) trainers or your son that (extortionately priced) ticket for the football match or vice versa? Of if your ‘why’ is more about building your reputation as an author or business owner, then focus on that. Read through your testimonials and/or book reviews if you need reminding how great you are at writing and creating and serving your clients.
And if neither of those tactics work, think about how you’d feel if someone suddenly presented you with worst-case scenario … you aren’t allowed to write or publish your books anymore. How would that make you feel? Devastated, I’m sure, if writing is truly your passion. We all have a big ‘why’ behind our actions, so if your mojo has vanished, sit down with a pen and paper and journal about yours. I’m sure even the journaling exercise will get you back in your happy writing place.
Visualise & reflect on your past, present and future
Nothing like a bit of visualisation and reflection to put things in perspective, right? Think about where you were this time last year. Was your first book just a pipedream or was it already drafted out? Did you do anything with it? Have you made big strides since last year in terms of creating, writing and publishing? Don’t underestimate how far you’ve come. Ever. We’re so quick to do this but we shouldn’t. Where are you now? How many books have you published, planned or created? How amazing is that?
What are your big book dreams for the future? Visualise them or create a vision board (or a vision book instead – aren’t they fab?). Think about the bigger picture, ie spending your time writing best-selling books instead of trading time for money doing something you’re only half interested in. Reality checks like this will get you moving again.
Something I really enjoyed doing over the Christmas break was sorting out my office. When I’m particularly busy, my desk is abandoned. Messy paper piles and dusty office spaces aren’t conducive to positive go-getting energy. So I gave mine a spring clean, lit my new lemon-scented candle, and basked in the zinginess of a clean, clear desk (and mind) when I got back to my usual routine. Buy some new notebooks too. You can’t beat feeding your stationery addiction. New notebooks, to me, means new energy, excitement for the year ahead and spurs me into writing and mapping out plans. If you don’t already have a system for logging your writing/creating progress then this could be the time to start. It doesn’t have to be complicated – an Excel spreadsheet or handwritten notes will suffice. But doing something as simple as this will get you in the right frame of mind and help you make your writing a priority. After all, writing is a necessity not a luxury.
Get in the right writing mood
There are so many ways to get you in the writing/creating mood. Some of my go-to practices include boosting my energy vibes by putting on some of my favourite music, singing and dancing at the top of my voice. My kids love it. Not. But who cares!? Other times, I’ll go for a walk or a jog or an exercise class – that’s my default response when I know I’m spending too much time in my head. You could also read through some old notebooks to find some juicy fodder in there that you’ve been hiding away. Or visit your local stationery shop and fawn over the gorgeous notebooks.
So, how are you feeling now?
All fired up? Just a little lighter? Fab. Remember, the whole idea of creating, writing and publishing books is because you love what you do – it’s not a chore. You want to earn money from your books. You want to spend your days doing author things. So don’t let the post-Christmas blues hamper your progress. Just write! Let’s start the new year with an abundance of wins!
Have you got any secrets to re-ignite your creative mojo? I’d love to hear them.
Self-Publishing Services UK
PS: Don’t forget to check out my free Facebook Group: The Writer’s Sanctuary if you’re looking for tips, advice and accountability to keep on progressing.