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Writing a Book and Got Stuck? 5 Cures

book writing coach Lisa Tener
Your Book Writing Coach

I just got an e-mail from a Bring Your Book to Life Program participant who’s a little stuck. Thought I’d share a few ideas–three related to book outlines:

1. Go Deeper in Your Book Outline: Sometimes you just need to be clearer about what goes into the chapter and where you’re going. A more detailed outline can get the juices moving.

2. Forget Your Book Outline: If the outline is constraining you or taking you in the wrong direction, maybe it’s time to put the outline aside and try writing without one.

3. Pick a New Spot to Start: Look at your outline and ask yourself which part has the most juice for you. Start there today.

4. Go for a Walk: Sometimes you just need to get your energy moving. If you can walk in a beautiful natural setting, all the better. My favorite is Newport’s Cliff Walk.

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5. Read your Vision Statement: My course participants often say that the vision statement is one of their favorite tools. It keeps them motivated, makes it easy to write and also helps them stay focused with both tone and content. Don’t know how to write a vision statement? Check out my Quick Start to Kick Start Your Book self-study program. It’s on sale for the month of May!

Share how you get unstuck by adding your comment below. Or ask any book-writing or publishing questions and I am happy to answer!

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Conner Moore says

    I had a chance to talk with award winning author Andre Dubus when he spoke at our high school. Andre does not use an outline per se.The plot for “House of Sand and Fog” was set up by a Boston newspaper article telling of a house in California that was mistakenly seized by a city and auctioned. The buyer was middle-eastern. What if this buyer was fashioned after Andre’s former girlfriend’s father who escaped from Iran during the Shah’s overthrow – a former high official who was now working in a shoe factory in NH. What if the police office was based on a bounty hunter Andre had worked for? Take these fictional folks and run with them – use your imagination to get into their shoes. ” OMG – did the officer and heroine just have sex. Did I just write that”? Now the officer has to be in the rest of the book. Andre started a short story a few years ago- asking the question why did he not know about the Red Sox during his childhood in NH? Poverty? Absent father?
    He wrote non-stop and 500 pages later he had his autobiography – “Townie.”

  2. Dianne says

    Lisa, this is excellent content that I will share with my Inner Circle members. We are encouraging our licensed consultants and trainers to write books to help them expand their businesses. Great read.

  3. Michelle Nightengale says

    Excellent points Lisa! My first book was published in 2010. Since my book was a straight how to book and was already thoroughly researched before I began to write, I had almost no problem with getting stuck. (Although I DID have the occasional obligatory writer’s block with small parts of it.)

    As you mentioned, just getting away from the computer, doing something completely unrelated and not thinking at all about your book is the best thing to do. 🙂

    Great tips! 🙂

  4. Amethyst Wyldfyre says

    Lisa – Sometimes I find that messengers who have a book inside of them also have a big huge fear inside of them too – of speaking their truth, being seen, exposed, visible or known and it’s this fear that actually is paralyzing them from getting their book done.

    I have a number of ways that I work on this – and your suggestion to spend time out doors is actually one of the fundamental components of my own work! Hurrah for you for encouraging people to let go and get back to their true nature and in communion with nature!

    There are actually some energy secrets about why this works – 🙂 and I’m excited I’ll be sharing those with your community very soon….

    To the EMPOWERMENT of all your great Messengers!

    Amethyst

    • Lisa Tener says

      Amethyst, I’m excited too. Writing a book, publishing it and bringing your message into the world in a deeper way often triggers old fears and paralyzing doubts. Your work provides such a perfect solution for moving forward and getting beyond these blocks.

  5. Kate Beeders says

    Lisa, love how you tie in using a vision statement with writing. That’s the first step I take with my new clients and it’s such an important point of focus. Your suggestions in this blog was terrific and very helpful!

    • Lisa Tener says

      Yes, without the vision statement it’s easy to write the wrong book or go off on a tangent during the process. The vision is so powerful, as are clear goals, because it helps with every decision along the line–and keeps you empowered. And that’s true in business as well, not just with a book.

  6. Jo Whipp-Prickett says

    Lisa, I am wondering if you could direct me. I am thinking about writing a letter to a few radio stations and the like, however, I don’t know where to begin. Any suggestions? Or places I can look for letter ideas? I would greatly appreciate it.

    Also, do you teach people or can you direct people to where they can go to learn how to do research. I have a book idea that I feel needs to get out there. I thought seriously about writing it as a novel but that is a cop out. I need to get information out to people and hopefully really help women by doing so.

  7. Lisa Tener says

    Jo, if you are interested in being interviewed on radio, learn how to write a press release that’s not about your book but about the subject. Google about how to write a press release. Even better, follow local radio show hosts on twitter and retweet their tweets. Comment on their blogs if they have them. Like their facebook page and make comments that add to the conversation. If you have a website, be sure to have a press room on it with bio, head shot and press release.
    Try http://www.gingermoran.com if you’d like to consult with a writing coach who can teach you how to research.

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