As someone who works with authors and books every working day, I frequently get asked for advice on writing. Although I have written chapters in two books, and I am writing my own full book at the moment, I’m not an expert in writing: my expertise come into play after your book is written, in making your manuscript into a beautiful book. Who better to ask to write a guest blog than a prolific author, a mentor and ghostwriter? Here she is, the first guest to write for my blog. The subject is a very common one: writer’s block, where an author loses the ability to create new material, or experiences a creative slowdown.
Guest Blogger: Cassandra Farren, author and mentor
There is nothing more frustrating than having a story inside of you that just won’t come out. You know that your message needs to be shared. It excites you to think that you could make a difference, but how do you overcome that feeling of metaphorically losing your voice every time you begin to write?
I had never experienced writers block, until I wrote an extended version of my first book, The Girl Who Refused to Quit. I had no trouble writing the original version, in fact the words were flying straight from my heart and into my manuscript. When my life collapsed for the third time it meant that the ending of the book was no longer relevant. I knew I needed to change this, but the words weren’t coming. This had nothing to do with my ability as a writer, this had everything to do with my fear. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I had become a single parent for the third time, but knew I needed to be honest with my readers, and honest with myself.
I had sat down to write several times and the words wouldn’t come. I then blocked half a day out of my diary and went for a walk to a local park. I bought myself a drink and sat outside the café. When I began walking home the words started coming to me, and they wouldn’t stop. I arrived home and began to write. Two hours later I had written two new chapters!
If you find yourself staring at a blank screen with a flashing cursor, here are my top tips.
1) Decrease your fear
To decrease your fear, I recommend connecting to the reason why you decided to write in the first place. Was it to make a difference to someone else’s life? What if you decided not to write and your book could have helped someone? Relax your racing mind by going for a walk in nature.
2) Scrap perfection
A lot of writers are scared of getting it wrong. They want everything to be perfect, right from the start. I have heard that in the publishing industry there is a term called a shitty first draft. Now this doesn’t mean that your first draft is shit! But it gives you the permission for it not to be perfect. Do not worry about your spelling, punctuation or grammar. Don’t worry if your structure isn’t quite right. There is plenty of time to correct this once your first draft has been written.
3) Clear some space
If you are writing on a desk that is full of clutter in a room that is full of clutter then it’s no wonder that your mind is full of clutter! Clear some space in the room where you will write
I also recommend clearing some space in your mind. If you are binge-watching Netflix or spending hours aimlessly scrolling through your social media feeds, it’s unlikely you will feel motivated to write. If publishing your book and becoming an author is a priority you also need to clear some space in your mind. Block out designated writing time in your diary and, once you’re finished, then you can go back to Netflix!
Always remember: if you are self-publishing, it is your book on your terms. No one has to read a single word until you are ready.
Are you ready to write? I’d love to hear how you get on.
About the Guest Blogger:
Cassandra is the author of five books and the director of Welford Publishing Limited. She also works as a ghostwriter and mentors heart-led authors who want to make a difference by sharing their story.
You can download her complimentary author meditation here https://cassandrafarren.com/share-your-world/
You can join her group for heart-led authors here https://www.facebook.com/groups/heartledauthors/
You can learn more about your publishing options once you’re over your writer’s block and have written like a pro in an earlier post: https://fuzzyflamingo.co.uk/flamingo-news/to-traditionally-publish-or-to-self-publish/