Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Lost My Mo-Jo! Now What?

No, this is not a post about me (or anyone else) losing their edge, their sex appeal, or their money. It's about you, as an author, losing your inspiration, your motivation, your drive to complete your book project. As an author's coach, I see it all the time.

People start out writing their book with an abundance of excitement and drive. They've got an idea for a fantastic book and they're psyched about it. They've got the notes and the quotes; everything that'll make their book the best. But at some point, something happens. Oh, it could be the busy-ness of life, a family emergency, a business project that needs to take priority, or even just writer's block. Whatever it is, it causes the aspiring author to cease writing.

Then there's the would-be author who gets halfway through the publishing process and either gets cold feet or loses enthusiasm for the project and abandons it before it's had a chance to blossom. Perhaps the spouse read the first chapter and commented that it could use some work. Or maybe the editor made more corrections than the author anticipated. Or perhaps the designer took longer than expected to get the cover art just right. Any of these could be enough to cause an author to lose his/her grip on the goals of the book project. Don't let this happen to you.

If you feel your mo-jo slipping away ... ACT IMMEDIATELY! Here are a few things you can do to keep the momentum going for you book project:
  • Have a plan: Define why you're writing this book, who you're writing for, and what you hope to get out of it (as well as what you want readers to get out of it).
  • Create a timeline: This is just one form of goal setting. Set dates for the completion of certain chapters, when you want to begin or complete the editing process, when you'll complete the final manuscript, and when you want the first copy of your book in hand.
  • Get some inspiration: Throughout your book project you're going to need some voices of encouragement. These could be friends, family, or colleagues. Also, look to inspirational books, recordings, and speakers to give you a boost from time to time.
  • Refresh your surroundings: Sometimes what you really need is a new writing location. If you're bored stiff with writing in that little room in your house, try writing at a coffee shop, library, park, friend's house, or some other unique venue.
  • Read: Writers read. It's always a good idea to read a good book. So grab one and pay attention to sentence structure, story flow, character development, chapter transitions, book outline, overall content, and other elements.

Above all, do not give up on your book project! Losing your mo-jo is only temporary. Try any (or all) of the above and you'll find it once again, probably where you left it ... somewhere between "In the beginning ..." and "The End."

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