I attended a workshop recently by author Celesta Thiessen with this very title. It was a very practical and worthwhile session, dealing with overcoming the obstacles that many authors feel when it comes to their writing. One of the things I appreciated about the session was how she focused first on the spiritual aspect of things before moving into the more ‘practical’ applications.
She talked about the need to deal with three spiritual areas in our life: unforgiveness, sin , and lies – and even allowed quiet time for reflection to let God speak to each one about what things we might need to ask forgiveness for, confess as sin, or identify as ‘lies’ from the devil. (Example: Your writing is no good; no one will ever want to read what you’ve written; you’re not really a writer etc…) As she so correctly pointed out, these spiritual areas can have a negative affect on our ability to carry out the calling to write.
Then she moved on to some practical ways writers can gain encouragement, such as finding and connecting with writer friends – both local and online – and participating in writing challenges like nanowrimo.
I especially liked her list of practical tips for success:
- Figure out what time of day is your best for writing and then try to write during that time.
- Find out what length of time is optimal for you and add that to your routine.
- Be intentional about your writing environment. Some people write in a specific location, have certain inspirational quotes etc. around, or what have you…
- Develop a routine and stick to it! Routines become habits and this takes away much of the resistance to write.
- Look after yourself – rest, nutrition, and other healthy habits are part of writing success. She talked about using light therapy for depression or getting whatever other kind of help you might need.
- Using external deadlines can be a huge motivator for indie authors. Some great examples are: setting up an Amazon ‘pre-order’ – if you don’t get the final copy uploaded by the date, those who pre-ordered will get the rough draft! Another great idea is organizing a book launch date in advance, which forces you to finish it by that date. Another (which I will probably never try!) is ‘Write or Die’ – an app which starts erasing your words if you aren’t meeting your own preset goals.
In all, this was a wonderfully practical workshop. Thank you to Celesta for sharing this valuable information with us at the Steinbach WorDshop.