Andy Weir, author of The Martian and the new bestseller, Artemis, is the ultimate indie author. His bestselling first book began as a blog, which he published as a book when enough readers clamored for it. He's always happy to help out anyone beginning in the industry. Weir feels that most cases of writer's block are actually times when authors are simply procrastinating instead of getting their work done. Here are four big reasons he says authors procrastinate, and what they can do about them.
Just Too Many Ideas
Instead of settling on one idea and working through it, you're paralyzed at the wealth of options you have. After all, what if the time traveling dog story is better than the vampire mermaid tale you're currently working on? You want to spend your time on the best book possible, right? The problem with this attitude is that you end up stuck without writing about anything at all. The best way to fix this is to write the first chapter of every one of the ideas you have in your head. Sit down and read them all in order, and see which one you're eager to find out more about. That's the one you should be working on.
Your Words Don't Match Your Imagination
When you picture the tale you're trying to write, it's full of beautiful images, tense drama, and perfect endings. But when you put it all down on the screen, it seems dull and flat by comparison. Do this a few times and you won't want to write anything, because nothing you do sounds as fantastic as it did in your head. The solution to this is to just go ahead and plow through it. See what happens when you open up your imagination and write what's inside. What's the worst that can happen? If it sucks, you can edit it. And sometimes you find that you're not as bad as you think you are.
You've Already Told Your Story
You've got your book inside your head, and you've decided to try out the concept by telling a select few friends and family members all about your plot. They've been amazed at the twists and turns in your story, and they can't wait to hear about the next installment in the series. But what happens when you've already told your story to everyone you know? All you've got left is a blank page, and that's hard. Blank pages don't laugh and gasp, they just look back at you without reaction. The solution to this problem is easy: don't tell your plot to anyone before it's published. You'll get better feedback from real readers once your book is available, and you can write without comparing your text to the story your friends have heard.
You Don't Know the Ending
You're going merrily along, and suddenly you just feel stuck. You have no idea what's going to happen at the end of the story, so you can't figure out how to get from here to there. You don't want to do any more work on your book until you figure out exactly how it ends.
Get over it. Seriously. A lot of authors write their books and surprise themselves with the way their stories end. Sometimes their characters pop up and change everything mid-story, just to give them a twist. If you absolutely feel like you have to have an ending before you go any further, write an ending. Any ending. There, you've got something to work toward. If you don't like it, you'll probably come up with a better solution while you're still working toward the finish, and you can change it all around during editing.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!