BOOK IN A YEAR SERIES-MONTH 6: The Power Of A Draft

TW: writing anxiety

For all the writing coaching that I do, there is one consistent thing that I have seen across all of my clients: fear of getting stuck in the middle of a draft. This getting stuck is indicative of a greater problem! Yet, these problems are why I am a writing coach.

Getting stuck, that feeling of not being able to write, is one of most common reason I see writers quit. This is different than writers’ block! This is being unsure of what to do next–being stuck!–is different than not being able to write! Being stuck is anxiety-inducing, and it will make you give up.

YET–there is a way to combat it. You have to write through it. The only way to get unstuck, is to get unstuck! Don’t quit in the middle because it is hard! There are three ways to get unstuck:

1.) Take a break. Walk away from the draft for 30-90 days. Sometimes you have to give space between you and the work. That may be all you need–sometimes you need to see forest AND trees.

2.) Get a new set of eyes. It is always good to someone to look over your work and offer feedback. It might even help brainstorm!

3.) A spaced-out read through. Give yourself about a week from what your current project. After that week (or no more than a month), read through what you have. And write. Even if it is one or two pages.

Sometimes you need a push to get unstuck.

Book In A Year Series-Month 4: The Hope Of Working Knowledge

Writers are readers.

What I want you to remember as Month 4 of this process ends, is that writing will require you to chase your imagination. It will require you honoring your intellectual curiosity, and be willing to have a certain amount of walking around (working) knowledge.

Now, what do I mean when I say walking around or working knowledge? This is a set of information that you have independent of other outside research or knowledge. These are just things you know because you have experience them, learned of them, or even went to school to learn. Since you know these things, research is not paramount to your writing–it is a back up!

Lydia King is a writer, and a doctor. When she wrote Opium and Absinthe, she had the medical knowledge to write about the pain her protag was experiencing and even the reason why. Yet, due to the setting of the story, she still had to research what would make the setting accurate! You cannot get away from research: it is only the amount that you must research!

Reading is the cheapest way to feed that working knowledge. Feed your head–keep reading. Your imagination will thank you.