It may come before you even write a word, or it may come well into your draft, but when it does, your progress completely stalls. Many aspiring authors have felt stuck at one point or another. And this feeling can prevent even the most motivated writer from completing their work-in-progress. The good news is there are ways around this terrible feeling.

If you've been writing happily and productively on your book, and suddenly found yourself unable to move forward, consider the following three reasons aspiring business and self-help authors often find themselves stuck.

1. Not Clear on the Audience
This is one of the most common mistakes I see my clients make-they think they're book audience is "everyone." In reality, no book is for everyone, including yours. And trying to write for everyone only dilutes your message. The better approach is to have an ideal reader-someone with a particular issue that you can help them solve.

For example, let's say you're a busy, working mom struggling with your weight and you're looking for a book to help you fit back into your skinny jeans. As you browse the aisles of the bookstore, you narrow your search to two different books: How Anyone Can Lose Twenty Pounds and The Busy Mom's Guide to Losing Twenty Pounds. Which one are you going to choose? Probably the second one. Having a clear, defined audience of readers with a common need or problem will make your book more appealing to those who do fit your ideal reader profile.

So if you're stuck on some aspect of writing your book, revisit the question: Who is your audience? If you're not crystal clear on this, then writing your book in a compelling way will be more difficult.

2. Not Clear on Your Book's Purpose
Another issue many aspiring authors face is lack of clarity on the book's purpose. They've got plenty of material and ideas, but they aren't sure what it all means. This problem may make the book feel unfocused, it may raise questions about whether or not to include a particular piece of information, and it may make you confused about what to write next. A good test for this problem is the ability to state what your book is about in one sentence.

For example, "My book is about how twenty-somethings can start investing now, without sacrificing the lifestyle they enjoy." Or, "My book is about how recently unemployed middle-aged women can find hope and a career path they love."

If you can't seem to nail your book down to one sentence, the purpose is probably not clear. So think about your audience and the biggest issue they face. What problem can you help them solve? What is the greatest benefit they'll gain from reading your book? Answering these questions will help you get clear on your book's purpose, and help you get unstuck when it comes to writing.

3. Over-Thinking the Problem
I've realized over the past week or so that I'm definitely an over-thinker. And although humans seem to be wired to want to figure everything out, that's not always the best way. Sometimes, to find the answers we seek, we need to stop thinking about the problem, let go of the need to figure everything out, and allow the answers to appear.

If you're stuck on some problem relating to your book, whether big or small, try setting it aside altogether and taking a walk, meditating, soaking in the bathtub, or some other activity that allows you to completely let go. Use this time to clear your mind and you'll be surprised at how easily things fall into place.

Getting Unstuck
Although many aspiring self-help and business authors find themselves unable to move forward for one reason or another, oftentimes, the problem lies in one of these three common issues: they aren't clear on the audience, they aren't clear on the purpose, or they are over-thinking the problem.

Getting clear on the specific audience makes it easier to write in a compelling way for the people most likely to need the information you provide. Getting clear on the purpose of your book makes decisions about what to include, how to structure the book, and how to tie everything together obvious. And when all else fails, sometimes it's best to let the problem go and allow the answers to appear. When you do, everything will come together and you'll be able to write freely and without hesitation.

Author's Bio: 

Melinda Copp helps aspiring self-help, business, and nonfiction authors write and publish books that establish expertise, achieve their goals, and share their message in a compelling way. Visit for a free copy of her Write Your Book Quick-Start Mini E-course.