How to manage book writing roadblocks

There are two types of roadblocks that occur in writing — internal and external. Managing roadblocks starts with proactively practicing strategies for staying motivated and on track.  With support and time blocked off in your schedule, staying focused with your writing will be much easier.

Still, there will be internal and external blocks. Internal blocks come from doubt and distributions — minds that will undermine your goal if you let them. Keep your mind focused with meditations and affirmations designed to manage internal roadblocks. Manage external motivations by reaffirming your commitment to the time you’ve blocked off and the scheduled to get your book done (in this lifetime).

Seek support

Briefly, surrounding yourself with supportive people is one of the smartest ways to stay motivated. Obviously, this must include your office staff — assuming you have staff — your family and your friends. Share with them how important this project is to you, how you expect it to positively impact your career, the time commitment it will involve and when you expect to finish it. You want to be realistic with everyone about the time involved.

If you don’t already have an accountability partner — or goal buddy — now is a great time to get one. An accountability partner helps you stay on track, just like you help them stay on track. I’ve had a goal buddy for more than 10 years; we talk on the phone regularly about our writing businesses and marketing goals. 

Creating an accountability relationship translates to great accomplishment and support. Writing a book is a long, difficult task, so the more support you get, the better. Hiring a writing coach is another great way to gain accountability. A writing coach can also help you with any writing-specific problems you encounter. 

Blocking out time on your schedule will help you avoid procrastinating on your writing. I suggest that you block out three to four hours once a week for six months. Adding in a long weekend or entire week — what I call a bookcation — can help facilitate the process of getting your book written and revised within a specific time period.

Combat writer’s block

What many people refer to as “writer’s block” is an internal mental block that can derail your writing progress. What is writer’s block? It’s a feeling that you can’t — or don’t want to — engage in writing. It’s resistance to the art of creation as well as the hard slog of months of writing that putting together a book involves. 

How do you deal with writer’s block? Affirmations are a great tool. Several sites, including www.JackCanfield.com, share strategies for using affirmations to reach your goals as well as tips on how to create affirmations that will work for you. What does an affirmation do? It helps replace negative-self talk with the new reality that you wish to create. 

For a book project, a positive affirmation could be: “I’m thrilled to hold my published book in my hands, which has grown my practice revenues by 100 percent or more.” Or, “I am happy and grateful to have finished and published my book.” To be effect, you need to repeat your affirmation several times a day. 

Settling your mind with a brief breathing meditation allows you to freely move into the space of writing 

Settling your mind before you sit down to write is also an effective tool. A short breathing meditation, which you can download for free from apps such as HeadSpace or InsightTimer, allows you to put your business and the other thoughts occupying your mind on the back burner and focus on the task at hand. 

Switching gears from the flow of a busy day can be challenging. However, when you understand that the distracting thoughts that are keeping you from focusing on writing are just that — thoughts — that only have the power to distract you if you let them. Write down what you want to let go and remember that everything that is on your mind will still be there when you’re done with the task that is in front of you right now, which is writing. 

Getting back into writing after a few days or a week away from the task can be daunting. That’s why you always need to keep your outline close by, so you know where to pick up with your writing. If you’re really having trouble focusing, pick the easiest task that you can possibly do and start there. Some places to start include:

  • Gathering background research

  • Filling in missing citation information

  • Going through your client list to remember stories you can use

  • Creating examples that can fill in the chapter you’re working on

  • Going back and rewriting something that you’ve already written

A favorite technique of mine is to use track changes in Word to continue a piece of writing that I’ve put down, so that I can see where I’ve been and where I’m going. Frequently, if I pick up an article that I’ve already half-way written, I’ll go back through it and rewrite and edit before I continue with additional writing. That warms me up and gets me back in the flow of writing. I will also do that with a book project — start back at the beginning of a chapter I’m writing and then continue ahead. 

And then there’s those pesky external blocks. External blocks include client problems, client meetings, prospect meetings, family obligations, happy hour — everything and anything that might draw you out and away from working on your book. 

How do you move past those? By treating the time that you’ve blocked off as a covenant with yourself — a promise to write your book. You can’t let yourself get distracted and off track. Life is full of distractions that will attempt to pull you away from what you want to accomplish. It’s up to you to stay disciplined and focused and get that book done.