You brew a pot of coffee, pick out the most appropriate music for the mood, open up your laptop and put your fingers on the keyboard. And then…nothing.
You wait a minute or two, maybe fiddle around with the wording of a couple of paragraphs from a work-in-progress, but you’re still just not feeling it. So you close the document and decide to check your email.
Suddenly, the two hours you had put aside for writing has instead been spent watching videos of your favorite 90’s hairbands on YouTube or exploring the archives of theCHIVE.
Now if you’re serious about writing, you probably don’t want that to happen. Obviously, writer’s block sucks, and while sometimes you can overcome it, other times you just have to temporarily accept it and find other things to work on during your scheduled writing time.
One way to do that is to spend the time working on building your author platform. So with that in mind, here are…
10 “Platform Building” Things You Can Do When You’ve Caught Writers Block
Yes, I know. It’s the ultimate time sinker and if you’re not careful, you’re time there will be less than productive. But if you’re serious about building an author platform, you’ve got a Facebook page, so you best keep it up to date. Use this time to share another author’s links, interact with your fans, or do a mini blog post. And keep it professional. No bragging and no bitching. Also, stay on your author page; don’t go poking around on your regular Facebook site, or you’re lost.
Just like Facebook, you run the risk of getting lost in Twitterville, so keep it short. Remember, you’re here right now only for platform building. Find a few more interesting authors to follow, re-tweet a couple of nice writing-related things, reply to a couple of people you follow. Also make sure you don’t misuse Twitter. It’s not to be used simply to post advertisements about your books. That will just get you ignored or unfollowed by the people who matter. And for the love of God, no politics.
I won’t lie to you. I still don’t quite get Pinterest. The first time I looked at a Pinterest board, all I could see was an unorganized mess of random pictures. But if you’re trying to build a platform, it’s almost a must. Take your book covers and blog post images and make them more optimized for Pinterest. This includes adjusting the image dimensions and smart use of the Alt tags. Pin your posts and drive some traffic.
Write a blog post
Yes, this might be rather difficult if you’re experiencing writer’s block, but sometimes you can overcome writer’s block by simply changing the scenery. Try writing a post about a current WIP. Maybe that will be enough to get those creative juices flowing again.
Comment on other blogs
If you don’t know what to write about, go see what other people are writing. This includes fiction and non-fiction. Leave some comments and make sure your profile links to your own site as well.
Hit some forums
A great way to build your author platform is to make lots of friends online. Pick out a few of the more respected writing forums and go interact with people. The more reputation you build on the forum, the more other members will be willing to check out your work outside of the forum.
Go to a critique site
Not only will critiquing other writers’ work help you grow as a writer, it will also give you the opportunity to have your work critiqued. As for platform-building, critiquing other writer’s fiction will help you in much the same way as forums and blog comments. It’s one more way to get your name seen by other people.
Write some reviews
Write reviews of similar material to yours on Amazon and Goodreads. This will help other readers–and maybe even other writers–of the genre see your name.
Google your name.
Seriously. If we’re talking about platform building, you’ve got to have a decent online presence. Check out your results and see what you can do to improve them. Make sure all any websites you own have proper meta tags so that the description you want to show up does. If you find any embarrassing pictures, do your best to take them down. You want to be a professional writer, so look professional.
Update your author bio.
Make sure it’s current and does a good job advertising your writing. No one looking at your writing credentials cares how many cats you have; they care about how many publications you have and where they were published. If you regularly contribute to any relevant blog, mention it here too. If you’ve got an author website or blog, mention that as well.
We all know just how dangerous and sometimes irritating social media can be. We all know that Facebook can often time seem to be overrun by complainers and narcissists. But as writers, we also understand that social media sites are an incredible tool for building a loyal user base. So try to keep this post in mind next time you’re struggling with your creativity, and then hit the social media sites the right way.
In the end, after all, everything you should do comes down to promoting yourself and the product you provide.
What are some other productive ways to make use of “writing time” when you’re having trouble writing?