Umpteen surveys say that most of us want to publish a book. For many people being a published author is something they’ve dreamed about for years. So what separates writers who publish from writers who don’t?
The answer probably won’t surprise you. Published authors write. A lot.
As a writer, I’ve gone through periods of extreme productivity and extreme sloth. Although I have written 12 books, in 2010, I released exactly zero. It was the first time in several years, no books were published by Logical Expressions, Inc. and it was extremely depressing.
For a variety of personal and business-related reasons, I went through a creative burnout like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Writing, which had always been fairly easy for me in the past, was suddenly difficult.
I also discovered that the less I wrote, the less I wanted to write. Talk about a lack of productivity! I learned first-hand why so many of my clients have trouble finishing their books.
In an effort to understand my clients, I spent some time looking back at what happened after I emerged from the nadir of my creative slump. I realized my lack of writing productivity stemmed from three issues:
1. Lack of ideas. The stressful events I experienced caused my creativity to simply shut down. To jumpstart my mind, I surfed to online writing sites, used random-word and writing-prompt generators, and started talking to my husband about my various writing ideas and thoughts for outside feedback and support.
2. Lack of motivation. As noted, a bunch of things that happened in 2010 brought me down. Creativity does not flow when you’re depressed. I decided to make a commitment to exercising and started reading more inspirational materials on creativity, writing, and life balance. (The library is full of wonderful FREE books just waiting to be read!)
3. Lack of time. You’ve read it before, but I’ll say it again: you have time to write if you make time to write. During my slump, I wasn’t working smart. Part of me already knew it, but I had to forcibly reacquaint myself with the methods I’d used in the past to carve out real productive writing time. I opted to make a commitment to write every morning and also started thinking up ideas for articles and posts the night before. “Sleeping on” a writing idea really works!
I’m happy to report that the old adage “writers write” is true. After I got my writing mojo back, I started writing regularly again. In 2011, wrote a book and got advance review copies finished in time for a a conference I spoke at. (Let’s face it, deadlines help motivation too!)