How to unblock writer’s block

Every writer I know has trouble writing.

Joseph Heller

The first thing to say about writer’s block is that pretty much everyone who writes gets it. If you’ve never written a book before you’re more than likely going to face this challenge.

I was in Melbourne recently working with some of my clients and two of them had writer’s block even though we had developed a content outline and planned the key points of each chapter.

The fear factor

When I quizzed them about why they hadn’t started both said that they were worried that what they wrote wouldn’t be any good – the fear of being judged. As we explored this we also uncovered that they were concerned that they wouldn’t know if it was any good. This fear was their writer’s block.

I explained to both of them that this was why they had chosen to work with me. I reminded them that we had worked through their target audiences and their challenges and how their knowledge and insights helped overcome these challenges. In short, what they had to write was worthwhile.

Just start

Assuming you have planned out your book content there comes a time when you simply have to open up a new document, type in the heading of the chapter and start.

Starting is often hard, but there’s no way around it.

And, understand that this is just your first draft. You’ll be reviewing and reworking this draft several, and I mean several, times before your happy with it. The act of writing by it’s very nature forces you to think deeply and clearly about what you want to say/share. It’s unlikely that this will come out perfect the first time.

Jaqui’s top five tips to overcome writer’s block

  • 1. Create a detailed content outline, that way you have a road map for what you want to write and can follow this. You might find that as you write you’ll want to re-order some of the content and that’s OK…just get it down first. Check out this post for how to do this.
  • 2. Have a set time every day/week to write for 2-3 hours. Make writing one of your priorities and put this in your diary. You’ll be surprised how your mind ‘gets ready’ for these sessions without you even knowing it. Others around you will also get to know this is your writing time. Read this post for more information on this.
  • 3. Ignore your inner critic and confront your fear of being judged. You can (and will) go back and revise your writing, but you can’t do this unless you’ve written something.
  • 4. Find a writer mentor who you can discuss things with. Often it’s easier to articulate what you’re thinking by talking to someone about it, especially when they can ask you questions.
  • 5. Don’t think about the whole book you’re writing. Focus on one chapter at a time and set mini goals in terms of completing each chapter. Think about writing your book like taking a long hike or running a race. You have to train, walk/run smaller distances first, build up your stamina and physical fitness so that you can complete the hike/race. It’s the same with writing. Plan your writing, break it down into achievable, smaller goals so you can become writing ‘fit’ and as you reach each of these smaller milestones you’ll be more confident and sure about your capability to complete.

Writing a high-quality, valued business book takes time and commitment. It’s why only about 1% of business people actually write and publishing their book even though 80% of people say they’d like to.

And, like many other things in life, you might find it easier and more productive to work with a coach/adviser to help you along this journey.

If you’d like to book in an initial, free strategy session with me to discuss your business book idea, contact me by clicking on this link.