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I HELP writers + ENTREPRENEURS publish THEIR FIRST (OR NEXT) PROFITABLE BOOK

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How to Deal with Procrastination and Writer’s Block

(Are you asking yourself the right question?)

 Writing a book?

Procrastinate much?

I ask new members of our FREE Facebook group, the Authors Collective, what ONE question they most want to ask about self-publishing.

You know what answer I hear a lot?

“How do I stop procrastinating?”

Phrasing varies. Sometimes I hear, “What do you do when you get writer’s block?” Or, “How do you handle it when you get into a slump?”

Different words. Same concept. And, thankfully, same solution!

AUTHOR TRUTH BOMB

Procrastination, writer’s block, loss of mojo…they are all, at their core, the result of one thing: FEAR.

Now, I can’t diagnose precisely what you’re afraid of, but what I can do is encourage you to figure it out!

Think about it: when you’re in “the zone” with writing, it effortlessly flows. You enjoy it. Even if you don’t enjoy the writing, you enjoy getting the concepts outlined, knowing you’ll hire a fantastic editor to polish it to perfection.

Procrastination looks and feels different for everyone.

For some, it looks like staring out of a window.

Or deciding that the upstairs needs to be vacuumed. Now.

Or needing just a little nap.

Or scrolling mindlessly through your social media feed (in your defense, someone close to you may have won the lottery).

Or feeling a general lack of motivation (in other words, needing just a little nap).

There have been days when I’ve thought to myself, In the 6 hours I just spent binge-watching The Good Place I could have written at least 4 chapters!

Many coaches/experts/gurus/famous people will tell you to simply push through it. They’ll say, “Take a break and start again tomorrow.” They’ll advise you to take an ice cream break or lie on the floor in savasana and “be one with the earth.”

You’ve probably employed several solutions of your own, such as:

  • Reward systems (puffy stickers, anyone?)
  • Yelling at yourself
  • Asking others to yell at you
  • Signing up for writing challenges
  • Setting (unrealistic) daily goals

And any of the above solutions (yours or those of others) might work.

But you know what works better long-term?

Understanding why you’re feeling what you’re feeling in the first place.

Because whenever you’re in a space of wanting to do something, of being “on fire,” the concept of time ceases to exist, and you accomplish even more than you hoped to accomplish.

Now, I understand that we don’t all want to do all of the things all of the time — even the fun things!

But, when you’re sitting at your laptop nervously rubbing your fingers against your palms, easily distracted by the lawn mower or the leaf blower or the siren outside (and using your awareness of any of the above as the reason you aren’t writing), there are some strategies that can more authentically get you back on track.

Ask the All-Important Question

What am I afraid of?

For writers, it’s more often than not one of the following — whether you’re a storyteller writing fiction or an entrepreneur non-fiction.

I’m afraid:

  • I’ll put a lot of time and energy into this and it will suck.
  • No one will buy it.
  • If someone does buy it, he probably won’t like it.
  • People will say that I’m not a “real” writer.
  • I’ll be the first published author in history to sell only 2 copies–to my mom and best friend.
  • There are so many steps to go through between writing and marketing — it’s too much; I’ll just go watch New Girl.
  • It will never be ready (declaring a book finished is accomplished in its own circle of hell, by the way, and the reason it’s so hard to do is also directly tied to fear — go figure!).
  • I don’t have time for this; I have a business to run!
  • I’m going to be seen as a fraud.
  • People will ask where I studied writing and I’ll have to admit that I didn’t.
  • I’m going to have to sell this thing. I hate sales.

In the video below, I talk about exactly what MY fear is most days. Does it sound familiar? (And would it surprise you to hear that, even after publishing 4 books, I still feel this way sometimes?)

Simply ask yourself: What am I afraid of? Be honest with your answer. And keep going.

And on those days when the answer is, “I’m afraid of not having chocolate or a latte right this very minute,” then by all means go and get some.

After you’ve watched the video, join the conversation over in our amazing Facebook group and let me know…why do YOU procrastinate (what are you afraid of), and how have you committed to break the cycle?

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