When all things seem to work against getting your words on the page and you feel like giving up, there are many tricks that may help you refocus on C.O.N.T.I.N.U.I.N.G.
C – Commitment: make one to yourself. Confidence: use affirmations. Characters: play with them. Control yourself: nix TV and internet use, busy work, and other excuse behavior.
O – Overthinking the project? Original reason to write: what was it? Offer to help: judge contests, volunteer at conferences, beta read, mentor, believe in Karma.
N – Next sale: visualize it. NaNoWriMo and other challenges from friends, or simply blackmail yourself.
T – Therapist talk: what’s your block? Time: willing to put in lots of it? Turn off your editor. Toy with new genres. Target hot spots in marketing and sell yourself as well as your book. Treat yourself to a box of favorite pens.
I – Immediately mount the horse if you fall. Inspect your dominant emotion and understand it. Ignite your fire by rearranging your study or trying new rituals. Ignore skepticism around you: if someone asks, “Where can I find your novel?” tell of your successes.
N – Narrow down your goals. Nestle with your significant other or pet (don’t deny the things that matter). Notice and celebrate successes including agent feedback, contest finals, publications (even small venues), and hang awards on the wall.
U – Understand your theme. Utilize rejection: it’s not punishment; it’s a lesson in persistence, patience and packaging. Up the exercise to keep the blood and ideas flowing.
I – Invite the muse. If you see your chapter can be better, that’s a gift. Infuse energy and rhythm into your writing by reading other writers. Improve your skills by listening to feedback without defending your work (don’t stifle the critic).
N – Never give up: the only writers guaranteed not to publish are those who stop trying. Niche: find your place and your voice. Nothing guarantees a good first draft.
G – Gamble: what do you have to lose? Genre: do you love yours? Great ideas for a next book can be set aside in a file for later to prevent distraction. Gather so you don’t have to wander alone: Good critique groups, support groups, reading partners, conferences; be an editor or mentor.
(First posted on Oct 19, 2011 Writing From the Peak Blog)