The most important part of being a writer is writing. Yet so many would-be authors tell themselves ‘I will get around to writing the book eventually’. Can you imagine how much less guilt and frustration you would feel if you could just make some progress with your work? How much happier you would be if you knew that every day brought you closer to publishing your book? The good news is that rewiring your brain and changing your habits is possible. The first step of putting fingers to keyboard is recognizing what is holding you back.

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
— Vincent Van Gogh

Lack of Confidence

Many authors struggle with self-doubt and a lack of confidence. It’s natural to feel vulnerable when we are pouring our thoughts out on to the page. Yet confidence is not about your actual ability to succeed. It is about having belief in your abilities. A lack of confidence comes from giving in to those voices of self-doubt that we all have. It comes from succumbing to the fears. Fear that your writing is terrible. Fear of failure. Fear that you will never be accepted. The good news is that by recognizing these limiting beliefs we can see them for what they are: thoughts not reality. A lack of confidence is a self-imposed limitation conquered only by pushing through doubt and vulnerability. So dare to start writing in spite of your doubts.

Poor Time Management

If you have a full-time job, are raising a family or simply have a packed schedule carving out time for writing requires discipline. It is important to ask yourself if you are putting your book off for another reason. Do you not have enough time to write or are you not writing because it isn’t a priority? If writing is important to you then you need to make time for it. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Take advantage of the pockets of time in the day – Utilize the small gaps of ‘down’ time in your day. Writing in short busts can also be a fantastic way to switch of your inner critic and up that word count.

  • Adjust and reprioritize – Is there something you can give up to fit in writing? Can you reduce TV time? Can you delegate some of your chores? Take public transport instead of driving?

  • Cut down on distractions – Close the door, turn off your phone or ban yourself from the internet. Do whatever it takes to eliminate the distractions and utilize the time that you have productively.

  • Make a commitment to write and stick with it – Perhaps you only have ten minutes free in the day for writing. Commit to those ten minutes and over time the words will add up.

You just can’t write (aka the dreaded writer’s block)

Finally have the time to write and find yourself staring at your computer screen blankly? Too many competing ideas or not enough? Whether you are stuck in the middle of your book or still trying to come up with the perfect opening, writer’s block can strike at any time. Writer’s block generally comes from an underlying cause. It can be another symptom of self-doubt. Do you need a break from writing? Are you feeling unmotivated and burnt out? Take some time out to ask yourself where the blockage is come from. If it is a lack of motivation and burnout spend some time away from your desk. If you are struggling with a particular part of your story then leave this section for later. If you find you freeze up the moment you touch the keyboard then try some free writing sessions and break up your writing into smaller chunks of time. There are thousands of different ways to break through writer’s block. Experiment and find what works best for you.  

You only fail if you stop writing

Writing a book is hard. It takes time and dedicated, consistent effort. Above all writing takes perseverance. There are plenty of opportunities along the way for self-doubt and procrastination. Resolve to work through your doubts and fears. Think of why you started and what you are trying to achieve. Aim for small, regular progress and those daily word counts will begin to add up.