Ways to Avoid Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block:

  • No author likes to experience it.
  • Every author wants to avoid it.

Writer’s block is defined as a condition where an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.

To avoid this paralyzing experience, watch this video on 29 Ways to Stay Creative.

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Is Multitasking Ruining Your Productivity?

Do you check social media while trying to write? Do you read emails while talking on the phone?

Our fast-paced society smiles on multitasking. Our lives are so full, that there are books and seminars dedicated to teaching people how to “do more in less time.” But, does it really work?

Multitasking

The Myth of Multitasking

The belief that multitasking helps us do more is really a myth. Studies reveal that multitasking is not what is claims to be.

1. Multitasking Lowers Productivity

In a time where everyone is trying to do more with the time allotted to us each day (everyone gets just 24 hours), studies show that multitasking does not help us be more productive. Research conducted by Stanford University found that people who multitask are actually less productive than those who focus on one task at a time.

2. Multitasking has a Negative Impact on our Brain Functioning

A study performed by the University of Sussex found that multitasking with digital devices may actually damage the brain. The study found that “people who used a higher number of media devices concurrently had smaller grey matter density in the part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the region notably responsible for cognitive and emotional control functions.”

3. Multitasking Can Lead to Burnout

Multitasking can cause mental exhaustion.  According to Dr. Natalia Peart, clinical psychologist, founder and CEO of Catalyst Innovation Group, and author of “FutureProofed, we  multitask as a way to dig ourselves out of the cycle of stress and burnout that is plaguing so many of us today, but instead, it is doing quite the opposite—it just makes our stress and burnout even worse.

Rest

Do Less and Accomplish More

Many authors are extremely busy individuals. We have jobs and families in addition to writing and marketing our books. It is easy for us to fall prey to the myth of multitasking. Here are two solutions to combat multitasking and accomplish more.

1. Serial Task

Serial task is just what is sounds like. Do one thing at a time. Focus on the one thing. Studies show that we can immerse ourselves in a task that takes a lot of mental attention for about one hour. After about an hour our productivity starts to wane, unless we take a break. You can use these breaks check your social media accounts or responding to text messages or emails—the things you would normally try to do while multitasking.

2. Recharge Regularly

In our fast-paced economy, we tend to turn to caffeine and sugar to give us energy to keep us going. In reality, our minds and bodies are asking for a break. It is important to take time to recharge your energy regularly.

To recharge your energy daily, take small amounts of time do leisure activities that you enjoy such as exercise, reading, playing a musical instrument, gardening, or cooking. However, these increments of daily time are only one piece of the equation for recharging regularly.

God, in his wisdom, created the Sabbath—one day a week for rest. Our creator knows that we need regular time to rest and recharge. Taking a Sabbath helps clear the debris that is clogging our connection to the Spirit, allowing us to be renewed spiritually—and also energizing us to continue to write God’s message.

Don’t neglect taking a day to rest weekly. You will be better—and more productive—for it.

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We All Need a Little Encouragement

I was having one of those days. You know the type of day I am talking about. A day when you feel discouraged and entertain the idea of throwing in the towel.

Everyone has these days. Days when we feel ineffectual, like what we do does not matter. We feel that no one cares about our writing or efforts; that we are not making a difference.

You are doing an outstanding job.

I was having one of those days, well, maybe a week of those days, when I received the following note:

“By the way, of all of the publishing and writing organizations I belong to, CIPA consistently has the most usable information of any of them. You are doing an outstanding job!”

Wow! That little note made my day. It gave me the boost I needed to keep going.

God knew what I needed. He knows what you need also. If you are discouraged, I want you to know that your writing and publishing does make a difference. The written word has the power to shape our lives by touching our emotions and expanding our knowledge.

The message God has given you to write and publish is needed by someone. People are hungry for truth.

According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in their recent StatShot report:

  1. Sales of religious books have grown year over year for the past five years. Religious presses’ revenue grew 14.7 percent in 2018 with 75.7 percent of that revenue coming from print formats.
  2. Non-fiction books experienced the largest percentage revenue growth for publishers over the past five years. Adult non-fiction unit sales grew 20.9% from 2014 through 2018. Unit sales for Children’s and Young Adult non-fiction grew 17.8% over the same five-year period.

It can get easy to get discouraged as an author. Marketing a book is hard work. It is increasingly difficult to make any book stand out. Each book is competing with millions of other books available for sale, while other media is claiming more and more of people’s time.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) exists to help indie authors and small publishers have access to the information and tools you need for publishing and marketing the Christian books God has called you to produce. Take advantage of our Summer Membership special—$120 dues for membership through December 2020—and join today to receive encouragement, information, and money-saving benefits.

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Stop Waiting and Start Risking

Opportunity knocks but once.

This proverb implies that when an opportunity is presented, you must act quickly or you will not get another chance. The truth is, opportunity rarely knocks. Instead, it comes across your path disguised as a risk.

Risk involves the potential for loss

Most of us are risk avoiders. We crave safety and security. We feel safe in our “comfort zone.” It takes effort to move out of this zone and take a risk.

Risk involves the potential for loss. In risking, we may lose something we value:

  • Our comfort
  • Our money
  • Our reputation
  • Our connections
  • Our social status
  • Our sense of significance

We are hard wired to avoid risk. Scientific studies show that the pain of loss is almost twice as great as the reward of gain.

Most opportunities come when take a step that involves risk. In his new book on risking titled Living a Life of Yes, David Rupert writes:

Living a Life of Yes

 

“We often wait around waiting for God to open doors. While ‘I’m waiting around for Him to show me what to do next’ sound spiritual, it really limits your opportunities to experience what He has in store for you.”

 Are you waiting for opportunity to knock? Are you sitting around waiting for your big break? Maybe you hope that a journalist, radio host, or organization is going to stumble upon your amazing blog article, book, or social media post and ask to interview you or invite you to speak. Maybe you are waiting for that “perfect” opportunity to promote your book.

Here’s the hard truth: The knock is not coming. Instead, you must venture forth and take a risk to find it. What risk do you need to take to find opportunities to promote and market your book? Do you need to:

  • Start blogging, podcasting, or live-streaming videos?
  • Start contacting podcast and radio shows to request a guest interview?
  • Start asking people to endorse or review your book?
  • Start creating a budget for some paid advertising and marketing?
  • Start asking local bookstores to host a book signing for you?
  • Start asking local schools to host you for an author appearance?

After all, book sales don’t just happen. They take work and involve risk. Opportunity rarely knocks.

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Photo courtesy of skeeze.

Author: Do You Believe?

If you want to start a new habit or change an old habit, what is the one ingredient that makes the difference between failure and success?

Are you cultivating this habit?

According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, that key ingredient is belief. Charles reports that all habits follow a similar pattern:

  1. A cue
  2. A routine
  3. A reward

He asserts that no matter what habit you are trying to change—drinking too much, quitting smoking, eating healthier, or exercising more—that you must change the routine. Changing the routine writes a new habit over the old habit. The cue and the reward stay that same, but now a new behavior is accessed for the old cue.

Someone who wants to eat less may note that they eat when they are bored. The cue is boredom. The routine is eating something. The reward is not feeling bored. To change the habit, the person needs a new routine. It might be that they decide to go for a walk when they feel bored instead of eating. If they change the routine to a walk, they have written a new, healthier habit over the old habit.

However, for the new routine to actually stick and work, the person has to believe that they can change. Without belief, we have trouble changing a habit. Instead, we fall back into the old routine when things get tough. So, for someone to kick an addiction, lose weight, or get in shape, she has to believe that she is capable of doing it.

What about you? Do you believe:

  • That your book makes a difference?
  • That some people need what you provide in your book?
  • That your marketing efforts will have some success?
  • That the time you spend marketing is meaningfully spent?

If you want to get into the habit of spending time each day marketing your book, then first and foremost, you must believe that your time will be well spent, that it will introduce people to your book, and that your sales will increase as a result. Belief is required for you to develop a daily marketing habit.

Once you believe that your marketing efforts can actually make a difference for your book sales, then the next thing you must do is develop a cue to help you remember to engage in marketing activities. Maybe you decided you will do one or two marketing activities on your lunch break. Then lunch will be your cue to engage in marketing.

Develop a list of marketing activities that you can do each day. That way, you are prepared. If you need ideas, check out the ideas in “Are You Willing to Commit?” and “10 Daily Book Marketing Activities for 2019”.

Developing a marketing habit is not easy, but it is a habit that can improve your book sales. However, you must believe that marketing will make a difference for the habit to stick.

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Photo courtesy of Alexas_Fotos.