Do This to Overcome Writer's Block

Posted by Kristen House on September 14, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Many times, I’ve checked back with a client on the progress of their manuscript only to find that they haven’t made much progress at all.

“What happened?” I ask them, expecting something major—like a house fire, a financial catastrophe, or a death in the family.

Usually, it’s none of the above. “I just can’t get past Chapter 1,” my clients might tell me.

This is a problem that, as a book editor, I see all too often. When writer’s block occurs, it can drive a project into the ground, dragging progress on a manuscript to a halt. Here's my best advice I've offered authors (and, you guys, it really works!) . . . 

When You’re Overanalyzing

If you’re not making any progress because you’re overanalyzing and wanting to get the story perfect, rest easy knowing it doesn’t have to be that way. You’re the author—and as such, your job is to get the story down on paper—nothing else.

Remember: Leave all the editing to the editor—or, at the very least, wait until you’ve finished writing draft 1 before you go back for the self-edits.

It’s impossible for any author to get a story perfect on his or her own, without the necessary feedback that comes from working with editors. And in fact, that “perfection” part and tweaking the story to make it better will come later, when I (or another editor) will look it over and help think of ways (if any/if necessary) to improve the overall story.

Remember, if I'm your book editor, I’m in your corner! Your job is to get your story down on paper. Don’t try to shoulder all the weight yourself. :)

Your Task Today

If you’re wallowing in the muck of writer’s block, especially due to overanalyzing and trying to self-edit, self-edit, self-edit… Take time every day this week to sit down and write for at least 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be good writing—but it has to be somethingLet me say that again. It doesn't have to be good writing, but it has to be something.

Don’t spend that 30 minutes self-editing or going back over previously written material. Spend each of those 30 minutes writing new stuff.

Go with your gut and tell the story how it instinctually comes to you. We can worry about the details later.

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: writing

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