Five Ways To Restart Your Book This Weekend

Todd Henry recently came out with a book titled Louder Than Words. It discusses the idea of creating an authentic voice that makes your work stand out. It’s a good read thus far.

In the book he discusses the U shaped journey of pursuing our passions.

Photo Credit: JohnSeb via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: JohnSeb via Compfight cc

We stand on one end of a gorge. On the other side, we see the business, the book, the career. It looks so easy. We just need to hike down into the canyon and then up out the other side.

We start this journey with gusto and optimism. In the middle we start the hear cry of wolves and lose our bearing. The trees are tall at the bottom and we have to forge a river. The path gets spotty and it’s harder to follow. This is the part most people give up.

But, Mr. Henry says, this is when we need to dig in. This is where we start to move above our comfort level. Soon enough we break through this uncertainty, find the path again and get out the other side just before we are attacked by the wolves.

Why do I bring this up? Because we’ve all lost steam on a book or project and started to question if the journey was worth it in the first place. Below I list five ways to get excited about the rugged book writing journey again.

  • Go back to the original idea or content. Why? Because this will get you in touch with the excitement you had at the beginning.
  • Recommit. Tomorrow I’m going to start a new challenge on my blog. 7000 words in 7 days. This does not include my daily blog.
  • Write with a friend. Having a companion, even if they don’t talk to you, can keep you accountable.
  • Be honest. Are you not working on it because the idea is no longer good or because you are in the thicket in the story above?
  • Don’t wait for the muse. Neil Gaiman said if you want to be a novelist you must learn to finish things. You can’t wait to be inspired.

If you are not committed to your book and know deep doing it’s a great idea and you want to continue but don’t know how, join me here tomorrow.

I’ve said this on my blog a hundred times, books are marathons not sprints. You cannot expect to get far and be great right away. It takes time and practice.


What To Do When You Have Too Many Ideas And Too Little Time

I love starting projects. But, just about the time I have a decent start on something another idea tries to elbow itself to the forefront. Books and stories take time to write so this can make it hard to focus. This is a wonderful and troublesome side effect of writing consistently.

Do you have too many story ideas and too little time?

Photo Credit: pelcinary via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: pelcinary via Compfight cc

When I want to give in to the next project there is only one thing I can do.

Write down the idea in a commonplace book.

I had been doing this for a while but I first heard the commonplace book term from Todd Henry founder of Accidental Creative.

It’s a place we record everything related to our projects. This serves two purposes.

One, it helps us focus on the task at hand and settles the pestering of the other idea. And two, it creates a vetting process.

When I write an idea down and keep working on my current story, the idea has time to incubate. If I’m not passionate about it when I finish my current work, I don’t do it. If I still like the idea three months later, I might try it, if my schedule permits.

I use a journal now and Google Docs, but I just downloaded the Evernote app.

How about you? Do you have a common place book? If not, how do you stay focused on the task at hand and keep track of the ideas that keep coming?

Don’t Be A Cover Band

I listen to music while I work and enjoyed before the site went dark. Now, I’ve settled on Pandora. Many of the artists blend together with my suggested band and often there is little distinction.

Have you ever had that experience?

Photo Credit: swanksalot via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: swanksalot via Compfight cc

This can be true for novels as well. You see people following someone else’s formula or ground breaking achievements and instead of producing a work that only they can produce, they write recycled stories.

The book might sell, but it’s a fad and not something that will be remembered in fifteen years.

Then there is that magical time, when I am in the middle of filling out an Excel spreadsheet and I freeze. The music and lyrics are fresh and new. A chill runs down my spine and I forget to click the thumbs  up button because I am enraptured.

Have you ever had that experience? Where you are pulled out of the monotony and surprised by a book or a song that instills wonder and captivates you? I hope we all strive for that kind of uniqueness in our work.

One of my favorite podcasts is by Todd Henry founder of Accidental Creative. His closing quote is always the same “Cover bands don’t change the world, don’t be a cover band. You need to find your unique voice if you want to thrive.”

Create your art. Don’t get distracted by other people. Write what matters to you. Write the sort of book you’d like to read, the type that sets trends and stands alone.