After publishing ten books with another in the wings, I suppose my passion for writing appears healthy. There are those days, however, when the words won’t come and I struggle to even write original posts for my blog. You can call it writer’s block, but there is also an element of frustration and discouragement that factors in.
What I’ve tried to do is turn the negatives into positives and maximize the positives. It’s not always easy, but it works.
Here are some of the negatives I’ve been working through:
Not enough time to write: My job is crazy busy. I have time to write at night, but I’m an old guy and I get so tired that my brain can’t function enough to write coherently.
My solution: I crash into bed at 8:30 or 9 at night and I’m up at 4:30 or 5 and get a couple of hours of writing in before work.
Sales are flat. Why bother? : This is not an uncommon phenomenon for an indie author. Sales might be consistent for a while and then just dry up. This can be discouraging and make you question the effort vs. return of the hard work of writing.
My Solution: To paraphrase Dory from the Pixar films, “Just keep writing. Just keep writing.” It’s true. This works. When I force myself to write, I quickly remember why I love doing it. It’s ultimately for my enjoyment and the sales become secondary. Sure, I’d like to set up a fun retirement business, but the writing is the thing that keeps me doing it.
Lack of motivation: I don’t have a publisher or an agent waiting for me to write a book. I’ve already written more than many authors write in a lifetime. Why not just quit and do something fun like coin collecting or yoga?
My Solution: Having a blog is a great thing. I’ve created a self-imposed series of deadlines. I try to post original content each day. I also tried locking myself in to creating new fiction each week in the form of short stories and serials, but I’ve suspended that for a while. There are a few readers out there that count on this content, and that keeps me going.
Rejection: As I mentioned in the opening, each rejection letter, each less than stellar review and other things like my unsuccessful Kindle Scout campaign chip away at the self confidence that I’ve carefully put together into an extremely fragile ego surrounded by a razor thin layer of self-confidence.
My Solution: Look for the positives. You can learn from rejection letters, poor review, and even a failed Kindle Scout campaign. Constructive criticism helps one become a better writer. The Kindle Scout campaign gave me much data to analyze and a great deal to think about for future book releases.
So what do you do when your passion wanes? Do you have coping mechanisms and little tricks to get you going? Please share.