A person's relationship with writing can be testy at times. I mean, sure, this is what we love to do but there are days we wish writing would pack its things and leave.
Here's a secret: It's usually the people who love writing the most that have this love-hate relationship with it. Or maybe that's just my personal feeling.
There are times, though, that no matter what you do, your writing just isn’t working. I’ve come across this as both a news writer and novel writer and usually, it’s for one of these reasons below. Let's jump in, shall we?
3 REASONS YOUR WRITING ISN’T WORKING
YOU HAVEN’T FOUND YOUR WRITING STYLE/VOICE YET
Your writing voice is what makes your stories uniquely you. Pick up any book by Stephen King or John Grisham or Danielle Steele and you'll know it's them without even looking at the name on the cover just by how distinctive each of their writing styles and voices are. If you’re struggling with your writing, not feeling confident about it, or you like your writing style but it doesn't feel consistent, you may not have found your writing voice yet. Like anything else related to writing, it takes practice.
One of the first things my agent told me when I signed with her was that my writing style was very visual. That totally fits my vibe. For those of you who don't know, I wrote for television and radio before I completed my first novel. She also noted that my writing voice was relatable, realistic and engaging.
A good question to ask yourself as you're planning to start your book is 'what's my vibe?' And by that I mean, what do you want your audience to feel when they find your book/presence online? What qualities in your writing will enable your audience to know it's a book written by you and not somebody else?
Let's hop into your brand writing voice for a second. That's simply the style in which you communicate your message. Even better, it's YOUR authentic voice. That's where you get to connect with your audience on another level.
You might like: Timeless: Becoming an Enduring Author Brand
YOU AREN’T SURE WHO YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE IS
Who are you writing to? That’s the most important thing you need to keep in mind before you sit down to write anything. As a television news writer, I had to adapt my voice and writing style to the specific story I was writing and also to the on-air news anchor who read it. Not only did the copy have to inform, it had to sound like a natural flow of conversation coming from the anchor's mouth.
When I started writing romance novels, I first had to figure out which sub-genre worked best for me. I chose adult contemporary romance. That audience is HUGE and knows what they like. Alpha heroes, smart & sassy heroines, an engaging plot, lots of romance and a happily ever after/happy for now. Then, I had to determine who my ideal reader would be.
So, how do you target your ideal reader? First you should figure out who that person is. Here's an example:
Young woman (25-35), who LOVES sexy, emotional, steamy romances with an alpha male hero and strong-willed, smart, bold heroine
Intrigued by inner conflicts, character growth, difficult situations the hero/heroine need to work through to reach their 'happily ever after'
Once you figure out who your ideal reader is, you'll be able to speak directly to that person on social media. Be intentional when sharing about your book. Attract them consistently. Once they find you, the rest happens organically.
YOU’RE STUMPED FOR IDEAS
If your writing just isn’t working and it isn’t for the reasons above, it could be plain old lack of inspiration.
We've talked about some of these methods before but it's a question that I get several times a day. So, my writer friends, if you find yourself stuck, the simplest thing I can say is walk away from the writing for a little while. Sometimes we’re just not in the right mindset. It's okay to take a step back. You've heard me say it before: your creative energy is sacred. Find your favorite ways to recharge and then get back at it!