When Coffee Isn’t Enough to Finish Writing the Book

by Jaime Jo Wright, @jaimejowright

Coffee fuels my writing. You could say it’s my muse, but that may be giving it more credit than it’s due. But for all of us writers, something fuels us. Perhaps it’s coffee, tea, or cocoa. Maybe it’s something with more depth, such as fellowship with other writers, prayer, time with family. Or there might be an idea that just fuels you until the last and final page.

At some point though, that “fuel” will not be enough. Some refer to it as “writer’s block”. Others may refer to it as “lack of inspiration”. Or, if you’re like me, I just refer to it as “life drained me, I got nuthin’ left”.

Whatever the reason, the root question becomes, what do you do about it? Here’s where I get a little blunt and hard-truth-it.

What you do about it, is you keep writing. You may pen 30,000 words of gruesome vocabulary, but you don’t stop. I’ve witnessed writers take this time of “blockage” as a need for “me time”, or for time to “refuel”, and there’s a place for that. However, all too often, the “me time” stretches out indefinitely, so that 12 months down the road, you’re still fumbling through writing chapter ten.

How do you stay on task when you don’t feel inspired? I sort of view it like Writer’s Boot Camp:

  1. Stop looking for inspiration. If you hit pause to wait for a push of excitement, or a wonderful idea, a word from God, or even encouragement, you might be pausing for a very long time. All the latter is important to a degree, and I don’t discount it, but often inspiration comes during the doing, not waiting to do.
  2. Ask yourself if you want this. Do you want this? Yes, sir! I asked, “DO YOU WANT THIS?” I do, Sir! You don’t want this! You’re standing there doing nothing! Show me you want this! Drop and give me 200 words! Yes, Sir! Sorry, Sir! Extreme? Maybe. But as writers, ideal circumstances don’t often come. We can’t wait for the rain to pass, the trenches to dry out, and the bullets of life to stop flying. It’s not going to happen.
  3. Be forgiving. Forgive yourself for six chapters of random prose. It’s six chapters you didn’t have last week. We often say, “well that was a waste”. Guess what? It wasn’t! Why? Because you worked through You stuck with it. You maybe learned what not to write –and that isn’t a terrible thing.
  4. Realize that there is rarely a “good time to write”. If you’re like me, you either went through a stage or are going through a stage where you don’t write because you’re waiting for the good time to write. My good time to write is a stretch of 4-6 hours where I can immerse myself in story, drink coffee, and ignore the world. Where I’m caught up on household chores, the day job isn’t calling, and other commitments are fulfilled for the time being. But the truth is, often at best, you’re going to get maybe an hour a day—two, if you’re lucky—and probably broken into fifteen-minute segments.

 You’re faced with a choice: write for 15 minutes, or become discouraged that there’s no “good time to write”. In 15 minutes, you could jot down 50 words. Even 50 words is 50 more than you had 15 minutes ago. If you wrote 50 words for 8, 15 min increments a day, you’d have 2,800 words a week. Times 4 weeks, that’s 11, 200 words. Times 12 months, that’s 134,400 words and you’ll be chopping down word count to make it more editor-friendly!

It’s your choice as a writer to wait for “a good time to write”, or to just take the time given and make something of it.

Stories are in you. They are a part of who you are. They are often what keeps you inspired and dreaming. Sometimes, stories stall. It’s during those time, that you have to make a conscious choice. Are you a writer? Or are you a writer when it works for you?

Honestly, either one is fine, but it’s what you expect the outcome to be that determines your satisfaction. If you want to write just to write, then when you’re inspired to write, when you have good writing time, you can just enjoy the warmth of penning words to page. AND THAT’S OKAY! But if you want to be a writer—someone who wants to get into the world of serious publishing—then the hard words for you are written above. Writers’ boot camp. Push through. And if you do? You’ll probably come out with a full-fledged novel. Not a perfect one, but a darn good start.

The House On Foster Hill

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?

Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited romantic suspense stained with the shadows of history. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com.

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